Learning Analytics for 21st Century Competencies





learning analytics, 21st century competencies, learning to learn, lifelong learning, transferable skills, complex systems


Many educational institutions are shifting their teaching and learning towards equipping students with knowledge, skills and dispositions that prepare them for lifelong learning, in a complex and uncertain world. These have been termed “21st century competencies”. Learning Analytics approaches in general offer different kinds of computational support for tracking learners’ behaviour, managing educational data, visualizing patterns and providing rapid feedback, both to educators and learners. This special issue brings together a diverse range of learning analytics tools and techniques can be deployed in the service of building 21st century competencies. We introduce the research and development challenges, and introduce the research and practitioner papers accepted to this issue before concluding with some brief reflections on the collection and the relevance of a complex systems perspective for framing this topic.

Author Biographies

Simon Buckingham Shum, University of Technology Sydney

Professor of Learning Informatics, and Director of the Connected Intelligence Centre

Ruth Deakin Crick, University of Technology Sydney

Professor of Learning Analytics and Educational Leadership, School of Education & Institute for Sustainable Futures


ATC21S (2012). Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills. University of Melbourne/Cisco/Intel/ Microsoft. Website accessed 15 July, 2016: http://www.atc21s.org

Blockley, D. (2010). The importance of being process. Civil engineering and environmental systems, 27(3), pp. 189-199.

Bowker, G. C. and L. S. Star (1999). Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Buckingham Shum, S. (2016). Algorithmic Accountability for Learning Analytics. Seminar, Institute of Education, University College London. Replay accessed 15 July, 2016: http://simon.buckinghamshum.net/2016/03/algorithmic-accountability-for-learning-analytics

Buckingham Shum, S. and R. Deakin Crick (2012). Learning Dispositions and Transferable Competencies: Pedagogy, Modelling and Learning Analytics. Proc. 2nd International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge. Vancouver, 29 Apr-2 May. ACM: New York. pp. 92-101. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2330601.2330629

CBDES (2016). Council on Big Data, Ethics and Society. Website accessed 15 July 2016: http://bdes.datasociety.net

CLARA (2016). The Crick Learning for Resilient Agency (CLARA) Survey. Learning Emergence LLC, UK. Website accessed 15 July 2016: http://clara.learningemergence.com

Colvin, C., Rogers, T., Wade, A., Dawson, S., Gasevic, D., Buckingham Shum, S., Nelson, K., Alexander, S., Lockyer, L., Kennedy, G., Corrin, L., & Fisher, J. (2016). Student retention and learning analytics: a snapshot of Australian practices and a framework for advancement. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. Website accessed 15 July 2016: http://he-analytics.com

EU (2007). Key Competences for Lifelong Learning – A European Framework. European Commission. Website accessed 15 July 2016: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32006H0962

Deakin Crick, R. and Goldspink, C. (2014). Learner Dispositions, Self-Theories and Student Engagement. British Journal of Educational Studies, 62(1): p. 19-35.

Deakin Crick, R., Deep Engagement as a Complex System: Identity, Learning Power and Authentic Enquiry, in Handbook of Research on Student Engagement, S.L. Christenson, A.L. Reschly, and C. Wylie, Editors. 2012, Springer New York. p. 675–694.

Deakin Crick, R., S. Huang, A. Ahmed-Shafi and C. Goldspink (2015). Developing Resilient Agency in Learning: The Internal Structure of Learning Power. British Journal of Educational Studies 63(2): 121- 160. Open Access Eprint: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2015.1006574

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

Echeverría, V., Allan Avendaño, Katherine Chiluiza, Aníbal Vásquez, and Xavier Ochoa. 2014. Presentation Skills Estimation Based on Video and Kinect Data Analysis. In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM workshop on Multimodal Learning Analytics Workshop and Grand Challenge (MLA '14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 53-60. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2666633.2666641

Edwards, P., Jackson, S., Chalmers, M.K., Bowker, G., Borgman, C., Ribes, D., Burton, M. and Calvert, S. (2013). Knowledge Infrastructures: Intellectual Frameworks and Research Challenges. NSF & Sloan Foundation Workshop Report, University of Michigan, 25-28 May 2012. Report accessed 15 July 2016: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/97552

Eynon, R. (2015). The quantified self for learning: critical questions for education. Learning, Media and Technology, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp. 407-411. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2015.1100797

FYA (2016). The New Work Order. Foundation for Young Australians. Report accessed 5 July 2016: http://www.fya.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/fya-future-of-work-report-final-lr.pdf

Griffin, P. E., B. McGaw and E. Care, Eds. (2012). Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills. Berlin, Springer. http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-94-007-2324-5

Haste, H. (2001). Ambiguity, Autonomy and Agency. In Definition and Selection of Competencies; Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations, D. Rychen and L. Salganik, Editors. OECD, Hogreffe and Huber: Seattle.

Joldersma, C. and Deakin Crick, R. (2010). Citizenship, discourse ethics and an emancipatory model of lifelong learning. In M. Murphy & T. Fleming (Eds.), Habermas, Critical Theory and Education. London: Routledge. 137-152.

Koenig, J.A. (2011). Assessing 21st Century Skills. Committee on the Assessment of 21st Century Skills, Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education: National Academies Press.

Krumm, A. and B. Cheng. (2013). Developing Community & Capacity to Measure Noncognitive Factors in Digital Learning Environments. National Science Foundation Award No. 1338487, SRI International. Report accessed 15 July 2016: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1338487

Lai, E.R. and M. Viering (2012). Assessing 21st Century Skills: Integrating Research Findings. National Council on Measurement in Education, Vancouver, B.C. Report accessed 15 July 2016: http://researchnetwork.pearson.com/wp-content/uploads/Assessing_21st_Century_Skills_NCME.pdf

LAK-WA (2016). Workshop on Critical Perspectives on Writing Analytics, LAK16: 6th Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference, Edinburgh, UK. Website accessed 15 July 2016: http://wa.utscic.edu.au/events/lak16wa

Macfadyen, L. P., Dawson, S., Pardo, A., & Gasevic, D. (2014). Embracing big data in complex educational systems: The learning analytics imperative and the policy challenge. Research and Practice in Assessment, Vol. 9 (Winter), 17–28. http://www.rpajournal.com/embracing-big-data-in-complex-educational-systems-the-learning-analytics-imperative-and-the-policy-challenge

Martinez-Maldonado, R., Schneider, B., Charleer, S., Buckingham Shum, S., Klerkx, J. and Duval, E. (2016). Interactive Surfaces and Learning Analytics: Data, Orchestration Aspects, Pedagogical Uses and Challenges. Proc. 6th International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference (LAK16). Edinburgh, UK. ACM: NY. pp. 124-133. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2883851.2883873

NLP-BEA (2016). The 11th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications. Website accessed 15 July 2016: http://www.cs.rochester.edu/~tetreaul/naacl-bea11.html

OECD (2012). Connected Minds: Technology and Today’s Learners. Technical Report, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD.

Roll, I. and Winne, P. (2015). Understanding, evaluating, and supporting self‐regulated learning using learning analytics. (Special Section Editorial), Journal of Learning Analytics, 2(1), 7–12.

Rosé, C.P. and A. Tovares (2015). What Sociolinguistics and Machine Learning Have to Say to One Another about Interaction Analysis. In Socializing Intelligence Through Academic Talk and Dialogue, L. Resnick, C.S.C. Asterhan, and S. Clarke, Editors., Routledge, AERA Books: New York, NY.

Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1991). Higher levels of agency for children in knowledge building: A challenge for the design of new knowledge media. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 1(1), 37–68. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15327809jls0101_3

Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2014). Knowledge building and knowledge creation: Theory, pedagogy, and technology. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. New York, New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Shaffer, D.W., Hatfield, D., Svarovsky, G., Nash, P, Nulty, A., Bagley, E., Frank, K., Rupp, A., & Mislevy, R. (2009). Epistemic Network Analysis: A prototype for 21st Century assessment of learning. International Journal of Learning and Media, 1, (2), pp. 33-53.

Shute, V. J. and M. Ventura (2013). Stealth Assessment: Measuring and supporting learning in video games. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press

Tan, J.P., Yang, S., Koh, E., Jonathan, C. (2016). Fostering 21st century literacies through a collaborative critical reading and learning analytics environment: user-perceived benefits and problematics. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, Edinburgh. pp. 430-434. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2883851.2883965

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press. Revised Edition.

WEF (2016). The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Executive Summary). World Economic Forum. Report accessed 15 July 2016: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_FOJ_Executive_Summary_Jobs.pdf




How to Cite

Buckingham Shum, S., & Deakin Crick, R. (2016). Learning Analytics for 21st Century Competencies. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(2), 6-21. https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2016.32.2



Special section: Learning Analytics for 21st Century Competencies

Most read articles by the same author(s)