Business Intelligence and Learning Analytics – The Challenges, Impact and Benefits to L&D

Organisations can’t escape the hype surrounding Business Intelligence (BI) – it’s everywhere! BI refers to a broad category of applications and technologies for capturing, storing, analysing and transforming data into meaningful and useful information which enables organisations to make informed decisions and maintain competitive advantage.

Increasingly learning analytics is coming under the umbrella of BI as organisations need to know the value and impact of their training programmes. Learning analytics is the capture, analysis and reporting of data about learners, the learning content assigned to them and their learning contexts.

The Challenges
There are several challenges associated with the existing learning analytics solutions. Some require users such as L&D managers to leave the learning environment and go to a specific reporting platform where they can generate preconfigured reports designed by experts. Such solutions provide limited capabilities for the L&D manager to configure their own reports to query the system for information that is meaningful to them. The very nature of the reports generated by existing solutions is also a problem; they do not facilitate the surfacing of relevant information to different stakeholders as and when needed. Visualisation functionality would enable L&D managers to quickly make sense of complex data from the Learning Management System (LMS). Visualisations would highlight commonalities and anomalies, enabling L&D managers to quickly make sense of data without having to first generate a series of reports and then infer meaning from them.

The Impact
While there is a clear business need for learning analytics to play an integral role in the LMS, integrating analytics functionality such as data capture can disrupt the performance and responsiveness of the LMS.

The Research
EVADE, one of the Centre’s current research projects is addressing the challenges associated with learning analytics. The technology demonstrator is designed to capture data in a manner that minimises the impact on the underlying LMS, to manage and analyse the data in a manner that is adaptable to the evolving needs of an organisation and to present end users with visual outputs that are intuitive and easy to interpret.


There are obvious L&D benefits accruing to such improvements in learning analytics. L&D managers can quickly identify whether problems are learner or content related. If problems are learner related, L&D managers can provide timely, targeted learning interventions. If problems are content related, L&D managers can identify underperforming content.

To find out more about the EVADE project and the technologies deployed or any of our other research projects please contact us.

Lynda_BlogAbout the Author: Lynda Donovan is the Pedagogical Lead at the Learnovate Centre. Lynda ensures that the Centre’s technologies are deployed as part of innovative learning environments designed to enhance learning, address industry challenges and provide competitive advantage to the Centre’s industry partners.

High Potential Start-Up Showcase – Take a Bow Class of 2012!

Enterprise Ireland held its annual showcase of High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) on Wednesday last at the Mansion House in Dublin. This exciting showcase event puts the spotlight on the 97 HPSUs and 60 early stage entrepreneurs that were supported by the Irish government through Enterprise Ireland in 2012.

The companies come from a variety of sectors that the government has targeted for growth over the coming years including ICT, cleantech, food products, pharmaceutical and medical devices.

What is particularly exciting for us at the Learnovate Centre is the crop of start-ups drawn from the learning technologies sector. These include the TCD spin-out EmpowerTheUser, which produces simulation software for soft skills training; Qstream, who provides a real-time learning analytics platform designed to improve skills and knowledge retention levels; and Lingle, a provider of web-based resources for English language teachers and schools.

The sector was further represented by a number of companies that received funding through Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund. Among those were FlipIQ, providers of a platform for online private tutoring; LearnUpon, which offers a cloud-based learning management system designed specifically for training companies and SMEs; and SlateState, which provides a cloud-based system for monitoring educational app usage in the classroom.

Digital game-based learning was represented by Sneaky Vegetables, who launched their ‘Round The Block 3-D drawing game aimed at 6-12 year olds in the last few weeks, and Nevermind Games, whose TroubleSum game includes an educational twist.

We look forward to working with you in the Learnovate Centre – providing breakthrough research and innovation support to companies in learning technologies.