Could learning analytics lead to the ‘Wal-Martification’ of Higher Education?

As a self-professed skeptic of learning analytics (I’m still not totally convinced they are great for the learner…even if they might be a great tool for education institutions), I was reassured to hear Gardner Campbell (director of professional development and innovative initiatives at Virginia Tech) speak so well. Campbell speaks of the possibility that learning analytics might ‘dumb down’ higher education. He also suggests that the learning analytics as a concept should support our notion of education should be, as well as reflecting positive learning experiences rather than focussing on information…especially that related to ‘failure’.

For a full overview (and access to the interesting comments that follow, click here. I would highly recommend checking out the podcast, which is part of the Chronicle’s Tech Therapy offering, hosted by Jeff Young and Warren Arbogast.

Download this recording as an MP3 file, or subscribe to Tech Therapy on iTunes.

Image: ‘business chart showing success‘ Found on


About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ ( I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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