Piecing the learning analytics puzzle: a consolidated model of a field of research and practice

Dragan Gašević, Vitomir Kovanović, Srećko Joksimović

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The field of learning analytics was founded with the goal to harness vast amounts of data about learning collected by the extensive use of technology. After the early formation, the field has now entered the next phase of maturation with a growing community who has an evident impact on research, practice, policy, and decision-making. Although learning analytics is a bricolage field borrowing from many related other disciplines, there is still no systematised model that shows how these different disciplines are pieced together. Existing models and frameworks of learning analytics are valuable in identifying elements and processes of learning analytics, but they insufficiently elaborate on the links with foundational disciplines. With this in mind, this paper proposes a consolidated model of the field of research and practice that is composed of three mutually connected dimensions – theory, design, and data science. The paper defines why and how each of the three dimensions along with their mutual relations is critical for research and practice of learning analytics. Finally, the paper stresses the importance of multi-perspective approaches to learning analytics based on its three core dimensions for a healthy development of the field and a sustainable impact on research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-78
Number of pages16
JournalLearning: Research and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • learning analytics
  • educational research
  • learning design
  • data science
  • interaction design

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