Learning Analytics Support

Learning analytics is a broad term spanning range of activities. The Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) defines it as “the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, with the goal of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which learning occurs”. At UBC, learning analytics is aimed at supporting teaching, learning, and the student experience.


Defining Learning Analytics

Learning analytics is a relatively new but growing field. What can and should be learned from learning analytics data for courses and programs—as well as the most effective ways of conveying that data—are areas of ongoing exploration.

Learning analytics data can empower students, instructors, advisors, and faculties in variety of ways, including the following:

  • Continuous improvement of the learning environment.
  • Earlier identification of students at risk of failure, by supporting targeted and timely interventions.
  • Effective measurement of the value when investing in transformations to teaching and learning.
  • Evidence to inform the planning of programs, courses, and academic infrastructure.
  • Data to help evaluate instructional materials, courses, and programs.
  • Efficient and timely data-informed decision-making.

Types of Support Available

At UBC, our learning analytics team can help you with innovating new technology, accessing and using data, and conducting research.

Innovation with data tools and visualizations

Developing, evaluating, and supporting data-informed learning technology is the main innovation focus for the learning analytics team. The projects and pilots are aimed at identifying faculty members’ questions, exploring actionable sources of data, and testing tools that empower students, instructors, and departments with the analytics to answer these questions.

Examples of tools that have been piloted and adopted centrally at UBC include OnTask, Student Time Zones, and Threadz. Any tools that are actively being piloted will be listed on the Technology Pilots & Integrations page.

If you have an idea or a need for a learning analytics tool, please refer to the process for requesting a technology. If you’re unclear about whether you need a new tool or if something similar exists, contact us at the LT Hub.

Access to data and consultations

The learning analytics team provides access to learning data, and we can help turn this data into actionable insights for you. Specifically, we can assist with the following:

  • Clarifying your needs and tracking down required data. Where data is not currently available, we can use your request to improve our data collection processes.
  • Fulfilling your request for raw data from the appropriate source, or guiding you to the appropriate access point (if self-service is available).
  • Explaining the governance process for data requests.
  • Providing guidance and assistance with analyzing the data.
  • Referring you to relevant support units who can help surface further insights or research with the data. These referrals may include putting you in touch with possible funding points (e.g., the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund) or faculties and departments already active in the area of interest.

Contact us at the LT Hub for more information.

Support for learning analytics research

UBC was an early leader in the scholarship of learning analytics and a founding member of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR). It has also been the home of two leading researchers in the field: Dr. Shane Dawson (now at University of South Australia) and Dr. Leah Macfadyen.

UBC continues to be involved in SoLAR. In 2019 and 2021, UBC helped to host SoLAR’s Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI). These events brought together internationally-recognized experts in learning analytics to provide workshops and tutorials.

There is an active community of learning analytics practitioners and researchers at UBC. The Learning Analytics, Visual Analytics (LAVA) group meets regularly to share their work and host guest speakers.

Our research support also includes the following:

  • Ensuring institutional data at UBC can be leveraged for relevant research and that learning technologies may be deployed to support a particular line of research.
  • Helping researchers navigate data requests for scholarly research and procedures for piloting new learning technologies.
  • Making data available to support timely educational research, along with technical and pedagogical support to use new learning technologies.
  • Engaging young, emerging scholars in the field through short-term opportunities such as student hackathons, as well as more in-depth partnerships such as undergraduate and graduate capstone projects.

For further assistance with learning analytics research, contact us at the LT Hub.