Lockyer, L., Heathcote, E., & Dawson, S. (2013). Informing pedagogical action: Aligning learning analytics with learning designAmerican Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1439-1459.


In this article, Lockyer et al. (2013) started with the definition of two terms learning analytics and learning design. Learning analytics is defined by Lockyer et al. (2013) as the data collection, analysis, and reporting aligned with student learning and behavior. Learning design is the design process of teaching sequencing in order to improve understanding and evaluation of learner activity and teaching intent. Next, the authors addressed the importance of both learning analytics and learning design in the educational practice via the illustration of case-based learning example. The authors found that learning analytics provides opportunities to evaluate learning design in terms of pedagogical intent based on real-time, behavior-based data on learning interaction in the learning context.

A summary of Key Points 

  • Overview of Learning Analytics
  1. History of the concept of learning analytics
  2. Definition of learning analytics (by the first Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference in 2011)
  3. Benefits of learning analytics
  • Overview of Learning Design
  1. History of learning design. Previous names, pedagogical patterns, learning patterns, and pattern language.
  2. Learning design in higher education
  3. Document learning design. Essential elements to document learning designs includes learning/teaching task, educational resources, and support mechanisms.
  • Using Learning Analytics
  1. Types of learning analytics tools: social networks, reports, student dashboards, monitoring, learning content interaction, and discourse analysis as shown in Table 1 (p. 1445)
  2. Using learning analytics to evaluate learning design
  3. Aligning learning analytics with learning design
  • Case-based Learning Design

Stage 1. Case analysis – Checkpoint analytics.

Stage 2. Case analysis discussion task – Process Analytics.

Stage 3. Whole-class discussion task – process analytics

Stage 4. Project Proposal Task – process Analytics

Stage 5: Project Development Task—Checkpoint or Process Analytics.

Stage 6: Reflection Task—Checkpoint or Process.

Design principles

The authors listed a couple of design principles in the article, such as theoretical-based learning design, practice-based learning design, evidence-based learning design, and case-based learning design. Case-based learning design is grounded in a case-based reasoning approach that links theory to practice through a series of case analyses and project tasks (p. 1450). Lockyer et al. (2013) provided a step-by-step demo of how to do learning analytics in this case-based learning design project.

Example workCase-Based Learning Design

  • Learning Objectives.
  1. To develop specific knowledge and skills related to the project
  2. To develop an understanding of how theory relates to practice
  3. To develop skills in case analysis and reflection
  4. To develop teamwork and project skills

Discussion Questions

  1. What’s the definition of learning design and learning analytics according to the authors in the article?
  2. How does learning analytics help to evaluate learning design?
  3. What are the main methods/tools to do learning analytics?

Additional Resource

Aldowah, Al-Samarraie, & Fauzy. (2019). Educational data mining and learning analytics for 21st century higher education: A review and synthesisTelematics and Informatics, 37, 13-49.


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