Kirsty Kitto, Simon Buckingham Shum, and Andrew Gibson. (2018). Embracing Imperfection in Learning Analytics. In Proceedings of LAK18: International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, March 5–9, 2018, Sydney, NSW, Australia, pp.451-460. (ACM, New York, NY, USA). https://doi.org/10.1145/3170358.3170413
Open Access: http://simon.buckinghamshum.net/2018/01/embracing-imperfection-in-learning-analytics
Abstract: Learning Analytics (LA) sits at the confluence of many contributing disciplines, which brings the risk of hidden assumptions inherited from those fields. Here, we consider a hidden assumption derived from computer science, namely, that improving computational accuracy in classification is always a worthy goal. We demonstrate that this assumption is unlikely to hold in some important educational contexts, and argue that embracing computational “imperfection” can improve outcomes for those scenarios. Specifically, we show that learner-facing approaches aimed at “learning how to learn” require more holistic validation strategies. We consider what information must be provided in order to reasonably evaluate algorithmic tools in LA, to facilitate transparency and realistic performance comparisons.