The pragmatic maxim as learning analytics research method

ACM Press
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge - LAK '18, 2018, pp. 461 - 465
Issue Date:
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It is arguable that the chief aim of Learning Analytics is to use analytics for meaningful purposes in learning and teaching contexts, and that research in the field should advance this cause. However the field does not present a single clear understanding of what constitutes quality in Learning Analytics research. In this paper we present the Pragmatic Inquiry for Learning Analytics Research (PILAR) method as one approach to conducting Learning Analytics research. Rather than creating a new method, we reintroduce an old method to a new field, drawing on the Pragmatic Maxim, proposed by Charles Sanders Peirce as a principle for making ideas clear. Our instantiation of the Pragmatic Maxim requires the researcher to situate Learning Analytics research within a clearly defined learning context and to consider the analytics in terms of the practical effects on learning. We propose three essential elements and a five step process for addressing them in research. After presenting PILAR we address two potential limitations of the approach, and conclude with some implications for its future use in Learning Analytics research.
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