Important difference: Analytics vs Analysis

December 15, 2017



Cecilie Hansen, a SLATE associated researcher from Uni Research Health, has recently been an invited speaker at a number of gatherings to talk about Learning Analytics.


In particular, Hansen has been explaining the critical difference between learning analytics and learning analysis. According to Hansen, it is particularly important to underline this difference in a Norwegian context, because the 2 different terms are generally translated as one: “læringsanalyse”.



Learning Analytics

“Learning Analytics” emerged as a research discipline in 2010 (Ferguson, 2012) and the first  international conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge 2011 (LAK11) was held in 2011. An annual conference organised by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SOLAR).


The most commonly used definition of Learning Analytics emerged from LAK11:


“Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.”


Semantics: analytics vs analysis

While English speakers generally understand the difference in meaning between analytics and analysis, and thus how learning analytics would be different from learning analysis, this distinction is lost when “learning analytics” is translated to Norwegian as “læringsanalyse”, where the Norwegian term has somehow come to embody both ideas.


The difference is important

The English concept of “analysis” implies separating something into its component parts to better understand it, and the English concept of “analytics” implies a systematic, computational assessment of data or statistics (of many analyses). One considers the components, the other the whole system.


Analytics and Learning

The question that research is beginning to address is whether Learning Analytics (LA) be used to support better learning and better teaching?


Hansen has been talking about “active learning” and LA. Active Learning is defined as being an instructional method that involves students being actively engaged in the learning process. Hansen gives several examples where LA can be used to assess active learning situations in her presentations.


Hands on LA activity

Feedback from the latest presentations and discussions about LA are asking for hands-on activities for participants. Hansen will use some of the experiences gained in the iComPAss project in her next presentations.


Useful Links


SLATE Guest Lectures

Other resources

SOLAR – Society for Learning Analytics Research 

SOLAR’s LA Handbook



 LASI Nordic 2017: Exploring a Nordic Approach to LA


iComPAss project


Educational Technology Article on Teaching and Learning Analytics that refers to work on Teacher Inquiry by Cecilie Hansen and Barbara Wasson


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