The International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference, now in its third year, is a venue for reporting and advancing research at the nexus of two emerging societal phenomena. First we are witnessing the rapid expansion of the use of technologies in supporting learning, not only in established institutional contexts and platforms, but also in the emerging landscape of free, open, social learning online. Second, the unprecedented availability of data that learners generate in the process of accessing learning materials, interacting with educators and peers, and creating new content in these technological settings, coupled with advances in analytics and data mining, knowledge modeling and representation and open data offer great potential for research into how learning takes place in socio-technical settings and the development of new forms of analytics that can inform learners and educators. Learning Analytics research brings these technical, pedagogical, and social domains into dialogue with each other to ensure that interventions and organizational systems serve the needs of all stakeholders.

Theme: Dialectics in Learning Analytics

The first two conferences have established the range of issues and approaches of concern in leveraging the availability of data about learning with powerful computational, representational and visualization techniques. This third conference will be designed to consolidate the field by bringing these many voices into dialogue in a “middle space” under the overarching theme of “Dialectics in Learning Analytics,” which has these facets:

The Middle Space: The conference will explore the “middle space” within which Learning and Analytics intersect, and seeks proposals for papers and events that explicitly connect analytic tools to theoretical and practical aspects of understanding and managing learning.

Productive Multivocality: Learning analytics is multidisciplinary, drawing on theories and methods from diverse research traditions. Our community includes educators, learning scientists, computer scientists, administrators, and policy makers, among others. The middle space serves as a topical “boundary object”, enabling productive discourse between these many voices.

The Old and the New: We are facing a centuries old problem: to improve learning, but we are trying to solve it using a new set of tools, not available before. We address these problems in the city of Leuven: centuries old, lively new.