The Adoption of Learning Analytics in Higher Education


Bertha (Abby) Adeniji
Palmer School of Library and Information Science – Long Island University Post, Doctoral Student


The growth of Learning Analytics has spurred investments in Higher Education from around the globe. In the last few years, scholarly work in Learning Analytics is driven by the need to understand the cognitive aspects of users in virtual architectural spaces or online environments. A recent search of The Scopus database provides evidence of an active body of work in the U.S. and Australian Higher Education institutions. The data shows, nearly 4400 research documents under the topic Learning Analytics. Nearly 97% of the documents were created during the period 2010-2017. The search for empirical reports using a Boolean search for “Learning Analytics” AND “Higher Education” rendered 244 documents. However, there are only a limited number of documents (8) documents that addressed the uptake or adoption of Learning Analytics in Higher Education.

The overarching goal of Higher Education is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold post-secondary degrees. Learning Analytics data has a key role in the delivery of Attainment and Retention in Higher Education. In the U.S. 4,627, Title IV degree granting Higher Education institutions conferred nearly 4.6 million degrees. (Digest of Education Statistics 2015, 2017) The 2015 enrollment is recorded at 5.5B students, while enrollment is expected to increase 15% in 2025. (Digest of Education Statistics 2015, 2017). Higher Education institutions face two critical challenges retention and completion. In 2013, the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment (The NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition, 2017), issued a bold call to action to leading college and university presidents to make retention and completion a critical campus priority to stem the unacceptable loss of human potential represented by the number of students who never make it to graduation. (Higher Education Leaders Call for Bold Action on Attainment, 2017) Due to the success of Business Analytics Educators are looking to Learning Analytics as one of the many solutions.

Educators and researchers involved in learning analytics in Higher Education envision being able to tailor learning to students’ personal needs and interests relying on data to identify indicators for intervention and optimization. The body of empirical research literature in Higher Education is limited but offers a solid base of theory, process, and research. In Higher education, there is a variety of learning systems and tools available and used in an educational context or for learning purposes (ITS, LMS, concept mapping, social networks), and all of them provide different kinds of data (Steiner, 2014). These solutions are currently available in the empirical research to include new techniques and algorithms in educational data mining to identify synergies and patterns in the data collected (Bienkowski, Feng & Means, 2012).


Former IT and customer service senior level management with specialized experience in IT policy, process business analytics, governance development and implementation of Service Management projects. Principal consultant, expert knowledge in call center technology, ITIL, Business Process Improvement, IT Service Management, Project Management and Change Management.