Week 8: Society for Learning Analytics Research

Date: March 12 - March 18

Shortly following the Learning Analytics and Knowledge 2011 conference, a small group of attendees initiated a discussion on the needs around analytics in education. It was obvious, based on the number of startups, re-positioning existing vendors, increased consultant offerings, and growing attention to analytics in conference and publications, that LA was gaining traction.

Many of these developments, however, were disconcerting. The solutions seemed simplistic and focused on the short term. Learning is a complex social process. Analytics will always fail to capture the breadth of education. LA can provide insight into learner performance, needed support, pedagogical intervention, and learning design needs. However, LA are not a cure-all for what ails education. Too many of the conversations around analytics overstate the potential impact of LA and suggest unrealistic improvements to learner success.

With this backdrop, a group of researchers and academics formed the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) to promote a research-oriented approach to LA adoption and use.

SoLAR has the following priorities to advance the field of learning analytics globally:

  • Foster the highest standards of academic research into learning analytics
  • Promote the development of open educational resources in learning analytics
  • Raise awareness of learning analytics amongst policy and decision-makers in educational institutions and governments
  • Create opportunities for the diverse stakeholders in learning analytics to communicate, collaborate and debate, e.g. academic researchers, product developers, educators, students, institutional administrators, government policy analysts

More information is available here:


We are still working on SoLAR’s structure and the role it plays in the broader transition to data and analytics-focused education systems. We invite comments and suggestions on SoLAR from interested persons.

What we want to achieve over the next year:

1. Create governance structure for SoLAR

2. Detail benefits of joining SoLAR

3. Transition conference to partner model (i.e. SoLAR co-hosting conferences with local organizing committee).

4. Online and ongoing professional opportunities

5. Collaborative research projects (Open Learning Analytics)

6. Micro/regional conferences (SoLARx ?)

Getting involved:

1. Founding universities

2. Join in discussions: http://www.solaresearch.org/stay-in-touch/ and the Google Group: join this Google Group

3. Attend online events

4. Research discussions/forums (more soon)

Live Session:

A final course wrap up and discussion around SoLAR, opportunities to join, and what we envision it will achieve, will held Tues, Mar 13 at 9 am Mountain time (NOTE the changed time from other course live sessions) (http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20120221T13&p1=80 to different timezones). The session will be held here in Blackboard Collaborate: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2008104&password=M.13942243B0B58B854EE5D590716D09