The burgeoning field of learning analytics (LA) is gaining significant traction in education, bolstered by the increasing amounts of student data generated through educational software. However, critical discussions of LA are in short supply. Drawing on work in the cultural studies of data and critical algorithm studies, this paper begins by examining three central issues: the distancing and ‘black boxing’ of LA disciplinary practices, the mythologizing of objective data, and the concern for future prediction. The second section describes the design and implementation of the ‘Learning Analytics Report Card’ (LARC), a pilot project that sought to develop experimental approaches to LA. As such, rather than seeking to simply produce analytics, the LARC attempted to foster critical awareness of computational data analysis amongst teachers and learners.
- learning analytics, critical data studies, digital education research