Dispositional, Complex Systems Analytics @ LASI


SkypeScreenSnapz010We’ve just got back from an intensely busy, creative and enjoyable week at LASI13, Stanford University, where Ruth Deakin Crick, Chris Goldspink, Rebecca Ferguson, Nelson Gonzalez and I (online!) contributed to the programme. Ruth and Rebecca were both blogging, so you can get their in-situ reflections, and I’m sure there’ll be more to follow as we unpack the many ideas.

SkypeScreenSnapz007Following a successful Dispositional Learning Analytics workshop, on which we’ve had very positive feedback, awareness should grow of Learner Dispositions (or Mindset as Dweck calls it), Teacher Dispositions, the potential of a multi-level Complex Systems approach to educational system design, and from Nelson’s work at Declara, the emerging potential of applying machine learning techniques to such datasets.


Ruth and Rebecca also participated in a panel on analytics for “21st century skills”, in which they introduced the wider audience to the learning power framework, a systems approach, and a particular implementation of these ideas as visual analytics within EnquiryBlogger. (Just in: we have a fresh set of data from a very exciting deployment of these ideas in a primary school over the last month, which we look forward to reporting on!)

Microsoft WordScreenSnapz083All the morning sessions from Stanford are, or will soon be replayable, and Simon coordinated a global network of LASI-Local institutes, and the online participants, whose blogs are automatically gathered in the LASI-Aggregator, and provide a rich account of a momentous week.

lasi-groupImmediate thoughts on next steps were pooled from Stanford and global online participants in a Google Doc, to give you a feel for where people felt they’d got to by the end of Friday. Ruth documented and reported back on her breakout group’s discussion.

Watch the Society for Learning Analytics Research for news of where next, and get your head going for how you might contribute to LAK14 conference next Spring…


PhD studentship at OU to study EnquiryBlogger

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PhD Studentship, Open University UK (2013-16): This PhD project builds on validated pedagogical models for learner-driven enquiry, scaffolded by blogging software and associated learning analytics, to create a reflective, social, learning journal. The research will start by analysing the data already gathered from prior research in schools, design new contexts for studying this phenomenon, and refine the analytics. Experience in qualitative and quantitative data analysis required, programming not required but an advantage.

Funding consists of stipend £40,770 (£13,590/year) plus fee bursary

Please contact Simon Buckingham Shum and Rebecca Ferguson at the OU to discuss this informally before applying.

Learn more about EnquiryBlogger

Opening: Dispositional Learning Analytics

In a great example of the LearningEmergence convergence of ideas, we are developing an approach to modelling learning dispositions, based on the educational research underpinning the ELLI instrument for Learning Power:

Buckingham Shum, S. and Deakin Crick, R., Learning Dispositions and Transferable Competencies: Pedagogy, Modelling and Learning Analytics. Proc. 2nd International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (Vancouver, 29 Apr-2 May, 2012). ACM: New York. pp.92-101. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2330601.2330629 Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/32823.

See also our earlier blog post and the LAK12 replay

The most recent work on this, which picks up the challenge identified at the end of the above paper, is the question of whether it is possible to generate an ELLI profile automatically from learners’ incidental data traces. Shaofu Huang summarised the concept and work-in-progress on this at a recent SocialLearn symposium.

We now have modest funds available to appoint either a visiting researcher or consultant to work with us at the Open University on a short, focused project, to design and run the database queries on the SocialLearn platform, which will enable us to begin testing the modelling that we have been doing.

Once you’ve digested the above materials, please contact me if you have the curiosity – and SQL expertise – to work collaboratively with us to take this research forward. s.buckingham.shum at gmail.com

Our Learning Analytics are our Pedagogy

In this keynote to  Macquarie University’s Expanding Horizons 2012 conference , I gave an overview of how the field is developing at macro, meso and micro scales, and then later on make a connection to the seminal work of the Assessment Reform Group on Assessment for Learning, in which University of Bristol played an active role through Patricia Broadfoot, and also to Paul Collard, who presents what is for me a provocative metaphor for the challenge we now face in education: musical reproduction ≠ musicality

Abstract: “Learning Analytics”: unprecedented data sets and live data streams about learners, with computational power to help make sense of it all, and new breeds of staff who can talk predictive models, pedagogy and ethics. This means rather different things to different people: unprecedented opportunity to study, benchmark and improve educational practice, at scales from countries and institutions, to departments, individual teachers and learners. “Benchmarking” may trigger dystopic visions of dumbed down proxies for ‘real teaching and learning’, but an emu response is no good. For educational institutions, our calling is to raise the quality of debate, shape external and internal policy, and engage with the companies and open communities developing the future infrastructure. How we deploy these new tools rests critically on assessment regimes, what can be logged and measured with integrity, and what we think it means to deliver education that equips citizens for a complex, uncertain world.

EnquiryBlogger: blogging for Learning Power & Authentic Enquiry

We just gave this talk on EnquiryBlogger at the annual Open U.’s CALRG 2012 conference.

Further reading:

Ferguson, R., Buckingham Shum, S. and Deakin Crick, R. (2011). EnquiryBlogger: using widgets to support awareness and reflection in a PLE Setting. 1st Workshop on Awareness and Reflection in Personal Learning Environments. PLE Conference 2011, 11-13 July, Southampton, UK. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/30598

Ferguson, R. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2012). Social Learning Analytics: Five Approaches. Proc. 2nd Int. Conf. Learning Analytics & Knowledge, (29 Apr-2 May, Vancouver, BC). ACM Press: New York. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/32910

Buckingham Shum, S. and Deakin Crick, R. (2012). Learning Dispositions and Transferable Competencies: Pedagogy, Modelling and Learning Analytics. Proc. 2nd Int. Conf. Learning Analytics & Knowledge. (29 Apr-2 May, 2012, Vancouver, BC). ACM Press: New York. Eprint: http://oro.open.ac.uk/32823