“Sustainable learning analytics adoption consists of a number of mutually influencing resources and assets located in a complex system.”
Two key capabilities were identified:
- A strategic capability that orchestrates the setting for learning analytics, and
- An implementation capability that integrates actionable data and tools with educator practices.
These capabilities are the essential drivers of the flow rate that pushes and pulls educators along the educator uptake pipeline from ‘interested’ to ‘implementing’.
As LA increasingly meet the real needs of learners and educators, organisational uptake is accelerated: elements in the system have the potential to act in concert forming a reinforcing feedback loop.
The strategic capability can also directly affect the flow rates into the implementation capability (for example by funding the recruitment of specialists) and facilitate the flow to implementing (for example through organisational rewards). The model above shows the key stocks and flows in this system, their influence on each other, and the major reinforcing feedback effect.
At present there is a slow uptake of LA despite its well-acknowledged promise to help universities address their contemporary, and potentially conflicting, demands to improve quality, widen student intake, and demonstrate improved efficiencies. Our investigation suggests two related factors are involved, complexity and feedback. To implement LA is, as we have emphasised, complex. There are many moving parts and coordination among them is important. The whole-of-institution LA capabilities envisaged in our concept mapping process relies on cross-institutional communication of the highest order, and a jointly held commitment to an evidence based culture.