Learning analytics

Education is increasingly taking place online, which means we can also collect more study data. Study data generated by a student during online learning can be converted into valuable information by using learning analytics. SURF allows educational institutions to experiment with learning analytics and gain experience in this field.

Customised student support

SURF wants to help institutions gain an insight into how learning analytics can contribute to more effective and efficient student support: tailor-made support that matches students' learning requirements. Analysing study data can provide information on real-time performance on a course, as well as long-term performance, offering an insight into study success, delays and dropping out. This means students can receive better support from lecturers, and take greater control of their own learning progress.

Infrastructure for learning analytics

SURF has developed an infrastructure with a number of institutions that makes it possible to easily combine data from different sources, and use analysis to give an insight into students' progress for both students and lecturers. Lecturers can use the infrastructure to provide students with real-time feedback. VU University Amsterdam and Utrecht University of Applied Sciences were the first to explore learning analytics using the infrastructure.

Institutions experimenting with learning analytics

Also in 2017, we are working with institutions to explore how learning analytics can offer an insight into students' progress. Lecturers from selected institutions are able to experiment with the learning analytics infrastructure. We continue to develop the infrastructure based on their experiences and requests. We then share the insights we gain regarding the opportunities for learning analytics in education, and potential stumbling blocks.

  • More about the experiments: lecturers talk about their experiences (in Dutch).

Privacy issues for storing and processing student data

Privacy issues are an important topic within the sphere of learning analytics. What data are you actually allowed to use? We follow privacy developments closely and help institutions to implement a step-by-step learning analytics plan in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act.  For example, before the experiments we conduct, students explicitly consent to data regarding their study behaviour being collected and analysed as part of the study.

Investigating study data

What questions can actually be answered with the help of readily accessible study data? Furthermore, what impact will those answers have on student progress and the quality of education? SURF is working in partnership with the Netherlands Initiative for Educational Research to bring together educational practice, educational research and technical infrastructure. This will give us a better understanding of the effects of study data use.

Start date
01 Jan 2015