Blurring the boundaries: Developing leadership in learning analytics

Deborah West, Henk Huijser, David Heath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter draws on data collected as part of an Australian Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) funded project, which explored the use of learning analytics for student retention and success (West et al., 2015). The focus in this chapter is on the critical role of leadership in learning analytics development and the challenges of implementation, especially when it comes to connecting learning analytics to the classroom. The challenges associated with learning analytics implementation are summarised as:

1) complexity of the learning experience;

2) coherence around accountability and role;

3) communication;

4) potential exclusion of teaching staff, and;

5) potential exclusion of the student voice.

Strong and effective leadership has the potential to address these challenges to varying degrees. We argue in this chapter that successful development of learning analytics capability and capacity, as well as successful leveraging of such capacity, requires a combination of positional and distributive leadership, and it requires, above all, a coherent and consistent whole-of-institution approach. Most importantly however, applying learning analytics in a meaningful way that is applicable in the classroom requires people with different types of expertise and knowledge to work together, which in turn is significantly aided by strong and effective leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearning Analytics in the Classroom
Subtitle of host publicationTranslating Learning Analytics Research for Teachers
EditorsJason M. Lodge, Jared Cooney Horvath, Linda Corrin
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351113038
ISBN (Print)9780815362128, 9780815362111
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • learning analytics
  • higher education
  • leadership


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