Untangling connections between challenges in the adoption of learning analytics in higher education

Asma Shannan Alzahrani*, Yi-Shan Tsai, Sehrish Iqbal, Pedro Manuel Moreno Marcos, Maren Scheffel, Hendrik Drachsler, Carlos Delgado Kloos, Naif Aljohani, Dragan Gasevic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Potential benefits of learning analytics (LA) for improving students' performance, predicting students' success, and enhancing teaching and learning practice have increasingly been recognized in higher education. However, the adoption of LA in higher education institutions (HEIs) to date remains sporadic and predominantly small in scale due to several socio-technical challenges. To better understand why HEIs struggle to scale LA adoption, it is needed to untangle adoption challenges and their related factors. This paper presents the findings of a study that sought to investigate the associations of adoption factors with challenges HEIs face in the adoption of LA and how these associations are compared among HEIs at different scopes of adoption. The study was based on a series of semi-structured interviews with senior managers in HEIs. The interview data were thematically analysed to identify the main challenges in LA adoption. The connections between challenges and other factors related to LA adoption were analysed using epistemic network analysis (ENA). From senior managers' viewpoints, ethical issues of informed consent and resistance culture had the strongest links with challenges of learning analytic adoption in HEI; this was especially true for those institutions that had not adopted LA or who were in the initial phase of adoption (i.e., preparing for or partially implementing LA). By contrast, among HEIs that had fully adopted LA, the main challenges were found to be associated with centralized leadership, gaps in the analytic capabilities, external stakeholders, and evaluations of technology. Based on the results, we discuss implications for LA strategy that can be useful for institutions at various stages of LA adoption, from early stages of interest to the full adoption phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2022


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