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Effective learning analytics pilots –Jisc (LAEP Inventory)

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Ferguson
11 February 2016


Jisc, a UK charity with a mission to develop the exploitation of digital technologies for education and research in universities and colleges, is in the early stages of a national initiative to accelerate those institutions towards effective use of learning analytics through: the development of advice and guidance); the establishment of a technical platform with free and charged services, integration with institutional systems; and the support of a series of pilots using the platform.

The envisaged use includes both:

  • access by students to measures of their own levels of participation and indicators of disengagement or falling-behind, as an aid to self-regulation;
  • use by staff to trigger interventions as part of a student support process.

As of November 2015, the first tranche of pilots are just starting their Discovery Phase, in which the institutions assess their readiness as a baseline for implementation planning.


Inventory type:



Predictive analytics, self-regulation, student support

Context of Practice




national: UK


The approach taken has not been explicit with regard to pedagogy. The emphasis of the technical system and tools is on student support rather than on teaching and learning. In this respect, the implicit approach is mainstream in that the emphasis is on monitoring engagement and performance and using predictive analytics to prompt appropriate staff to the possible need for an intervention. Use by students for self-regulation is in scope but is of secondary importance. In essence: the envisaged use of learning analytics is as an enhancement of prevalent practice.

Practical Matters

Tools used:

Tribal Student Insight – learning analytics processor and staff dashboard

Unicon Learning Analytics processor and open dashboard

Learning Locker (HT2) – storage of activity records using xAPI

Student Success Plan – for managing alerts and interventions

A bespoke student app and a student consent service are also being developed.

Design and implementation:

Initial sense making of what is needed to support the adoption of learning analytics by UK universities and colleges involved a participative workshop in September 2014, as part of the co-design process. This workshop identified and prioritised three actions for Jisc to carry forward: the development of a ‘freemium solution’; a code of practice covering ethical, privacy, and legal matters; and support for a peer network.

During a two-year pilot phase, Jisc anticipates that between 20 and 40 institutions will complete the Discovery Phase.

Maturity and Evidence of Utility

Findings from the first tranche of pilots are not yet available. The overall approach taken by Jisc is illustrative of a co-design approach involving stakeholders from across UK universities and colleges. This employs  technical architecture which offers choice to institutions, and a multi-stranded approach to accelerating institutions to adoption of learning analytics

Further Information

Informal account of Jisc Effective Learning Analytics challenge:

Discovery Phase of the pilots:

Overview of tools available:

Background on the technical system architecture, ‘Developing an open architecture for learning analytics’ paper, slides (EUNIS Congress 2015)

See also LAEP Inventory records:

  • Code of practice for learning analytics
  • Student success plan

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