Ed Tech is a big business and learning analytics initiatives are attracting millions of dollars, but scholars are suspicious.
Professor Lorena A. Barba gave a courageous conference talk in PyData Seattle 2015 where she reviewed the newer trend of learning analytics.
Among other conclusions, Professor Barba said that “adaptive learning has still a long way to go” and “most analytics based on log data in the Learning Management System (LMS) are inadequate”.
“The poster child of “adaptive learning” is a company called Knewton. (…) There is little evidence that this technology actually improves learning”.
Regarding edX’s Insights analytics technology used on edx.org (but not on independent Open edX platforms), Professor Barba said that “edX is putting analytics into the service of user experience rather than education, perhaps influenced by web developers, who maybe didn’t interact with learning scientists and educators to find what information might be useful”.