Siemens, G. & Baker, R. S. J. d. (2012). Learning analytics and educational data mining: towards communication and collaboration. In Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on learning and analytics and knowledge (pp. 252-254). New York, NY:  ACM.


With an increasing research interest in data analytics in the field of education, Siemens and Baker (2012) compared the two distinct research communities in the area and called for communication and collaboration between these two research communities. To be more specific, one research community is Education Data Mining (EDM), and the other is Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK).

A summary of Key Points

  • Similarities between EDM community and LAK community
  1. Both reflect the upcoming trends of data-centered approaches to education.
  2. Both aim at improving education via improving assessment
  3. Both share the goal of enhancing the quality of data analysis to support research and practice in educational field.
  • Distinctions between EDM community and LAK community

The authors compared the differences of two research communities mainly from five aspects, which are cited as shown in Table 1.

  • Call for communication and collaboration between EDM community and LAK community

Siemens and Baker (2012) believed in the positive value of the co-existence of two communities with different standards. They also think that friendly competition between the two communities would keep research vigorous. Finally, they called for two communities to communicate and collaborate to bring more benefits to educational practice and learning.


Different from most research papers in the field of learning analytics, which starts by defining the terms of learning analytics, and describing how to do learning analytics step by step, this article provided two research communities (EDM and LAK) as resources for readers in the field. It’s beneficial for researchers in the field in terms of identifying the necessary literature review articles. However, for readers who have little previous research experiences in the field, a step-by-step demo of how to access the resources may be necessary for illustration and demonstration.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the definition of Educational Data Mining?
  2. What is the definition of Learning Analytics and Knowledge?
  3. What are the key distinctions between LAK and EDM?

Additional Resource 

Romero, C. (2011). Handbook of educational data mining edited by Cristóbal Romero … [et al.]. (Chapman & Hall/CRC data mining and knowledge discovery series). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.



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