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Code of practice for learning analytics (LAEP Inventory)

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Ferguson
11 February 2016


This code of practice was developed to help universities and colleges to develop effective approaches to a variety of issues relating to the practice of learning analytics. It is a concise document that would be suitable for development of local strategies and policies. Rather than providing a prescriptive code of practice, the approach taken is to clarify a set of principles that can be operationalised according to the policies and practices already in place in universities and colleges.

The topics covered are, as described by the authors:

  1. Responsibility – allocating responsibility for the data and processes of learning analytics within an institution
  2. Transparency and Consent – being open about all aspects of the use of learning analytics, and ensuring students provide meaningful consent
  3. Privacy – ensuring individual rights are protected and compliance with data protection legislation
  4. Validity – making sure algorithms, metrics and processes are valid
  5. Access – giving students access to their data and analytics
  6. Enabling positive interventions – handling interventions based on analytics appropriately
  7. Minimising adverse impacts – avoiding the various pitfalls that can arise
  8. Stewardship of data – handling data appropriately

The Code was developed for use in the United Kingdom, and refers to some national law, but most aspects are generally applicable, drawing particularly on thinking from North America, Europe, and Australia. It is published under a Creative Commons Licence.


Inventory type:

good practice advice

Document source:

Jisc, a UK Charity (non-profit)


responsibility, transparency, consent, privacy, validity, ethics

Policy Context




national: UK


The Code of Practice is not formally linked to other policy initiatives but forms part of a systematic programme of initiatives being undertaken by Jisc to assist universities and colleges in the UK in the implementation of learning analytics.


The Code relates to existing policies on privacy and recent work by The Open University to develop its policy on the Ethical use of Student Data for Learning Analytics.

Maturity and Evidence of Utility

Representatives, with diverse roles, from the UK higher and further education sectors were consulted, and they identified the need for a code of practice as a prerequisite for effective implementations of learning analytics.


Following a series of open publications and expert workshops, including a literature review of recent work on ethics and legal matters and a workshop meeting, a draft code of practice was developed and made openly available for comment. A steering group with members drawn from the National Union of Students, and UK universities and colleges had oversight of the development process.

Further Information

Location of policy document:

Ethics and legal issues literature review:

Taxonomy of ethical, legal and logistical issues (draft issues and workshop report):


See also LAEP Inventory records:

Ethical use of student data policy – The Open University

Effective learning analytics pilots – Jisc

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