Learning Analytics Research Symposium

The symposium will be held on the 21st-22nd of November 2018 at the Department of Science Education in Copenhagen. With this symposium we invite researchers to discuss learning analytics as relevant in a Danish and a Nordic context. We hope to inspire theoretical discussions and joint research projects and funding applications. Our idea of a symposium is somewhere between the formal and the informal gathering to exchange ideas.

Learning Analytics is a growing research area within educational research, which deals the analysis of large and/or multifaceted data sets to understand learning. The promise of Learning Analytics is to use the growing amount of data that either is or can be collected and stored about how people act in educational systems to produce fundamentally new knowledge about teaching and learning. Large and multifaceted data sets have in - for example, medical research - helped researchers find patterns and produce knowledge that has ultimately saved lives. In education, analysis of these kinds of data sets may help design, implement, and evaluate different strategies for teaching and learning, which can help make educational systems better. However, as researchers, we need to couple the analyses with sound learning theoretical bases and existing educational knowledge to provide focus in the emerging jungle of data.

The idea with this symposium is that participants discuss ideas and projects in a semi-structured and semi-free way. Hopefully, this will initiate contacts between researchers to enable constructive feedback on work in progress and joint research projects.

Definitions of symposium

Sym•po•sium noun \ sim-’pó-zé-em plural sym•po•sia or sym•po•siums

1 a: a convivial party (as after banquet in ancient Greece) with music and conversation

b: a social gathering at which there is a free interchange of ideas

2 a: a formal meeting at which several several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics - compare COLLOQUIUM

b: a collection of opinions about a subject; especially: one published by a periodical


This symposium aims at being somewhere in between all these meanings.

Goals for the symposium

The goals for the symposium are:

  1. to establish an annual event for discussing learning analytics in Danish and Nordic contexts.
  2. to discuss the possible relationships between LA and other methodologies in educational research in order to characterise the knowledge that could be produced in research that mixes LA with other research
  3. to discuss which kinds of learning theoretical questions and problems LA could be mobilised to answer and solve in Danish and Nordic contexts.
  4. to find areas of collaboration between researchers in Denmark and other Nordic countries and formulate ideas for specific collaborative project.

Who is this for?

Generally, we expect educational researchers in Denmark and other Nordic countries who already see the potential of learning analytics to find this symposium helpful. Also, we suspect that computer scientists and analysts who use data mining techniques on educational data would find the discussions and possible collaborations worthwhile. The unifying theme for the symposium is learning analytics as applied in Denmark and other Nordic countries. We want to emphasize that the format is somewhere in between a social gathering with free exchange of ideas and a formal meeting.

What we want to do

First and foremost, we expect all participants to engage in the group work, discussions, and social events at the symposium. We will aim for a playful and at the same time serious atmosphere throughout the event. While we do not require specific readings beforehand, we do prefer participants with some knowledge of learning analytics. For example, technical knowledge on collecting data, knowledge about analysing and interpreting data, and knowledge about how learning analytics may fit into a larger research scheme. During group work, we will depend on your experience and concrete examples of how you have engaged with learning analytics. We welcome written contributions from participants on research in learning analytics - specifically in Nordic contexts. With the authors’ permission we will place them on our website. During dinners, group work, and discussion, we hope that participants will benefit from each other in numerous ways. We will work on facilitating:

  • New research initiatives between different institutions
  • Paper proposals using existing data
  • Discussions about conceptualising learning analytics in Nordic contexts.

Program and activities


As preparation all participants and organizers complete the Learning Analytics Research Symposium Survey. We will use the answers to find out what our interests are and try out different ways of matching based on that. Also, we encourage you to upload "your favorite figure from Learning Analytics". We will use this in the exhibition on Tuesday.

Fill in the Learning Analytics Research Symposium Survey

Program Wednesday

9-12 Matching Expectations

  • Introduction
  • Break into groups
  • Group discussion: Important questions
  • Plenary: Presentation of questions
  • Plenary discussion: Important questions
  • Plenary activity: Possible outcomes of the symposium

12-13:30 Lunch (Organizers: 13:00-13:30 Set up groups for later item)

13:30-18 Cross Pollination: Possibilities for future collaborations

  • Introduction to session
  • Group work: Brainstorm on how to for address questions/methodological issues
  • Pairs: Walk and talk
  • Plenary activity: Grouping the brainstorm
  • Individual: Pick and write

20-?? Dinner

Program Thursday

9-12 Finding future initiatives

  • Introduction to session
  • Break into groups
  • Group work: Clustering of written work
  • Plenary: Present clusters
  • Group work: Align clusters with ideas for outcomes
  • Plenary: Present alignments
  • Networking session: Discuss future inititatives

12-13 Lunch

13:30-?? What does it all mean

An exhibition of the learning analytics figures provided by the participants. The idea is to discuss what these figures or results can help us understand.

Possible dinner initiative among participants.