Posted by: Michael Atkisson | May 15, 2012

Learning Relationship Management: Linda Baer and John Campbell’s Vision for the Human Side of Analytics Infrastructure in Higher Education

“WHAT WILL THE GAME-CHANGING TOOL KIT LOOK LIKE for next-generation learning? How can institutions prepare to meet the increasing demands?” (Baer & Campbell, 2012, p. 53). Those are the questions that begin the chapter, From Metrics to Analytics, Reporting to Action: Analytics’ Role in Changing the Learning Environment, by Linda Baer, formerly of the Gate’s Foundation, and John Campbell, father of Purdue’s Signals. I was thinking that the chapter was going to focus on tool kit design for academic analytics. Instead, the focus was on the human side of the socio-technical infrastructure required in order to have effective learning analytics at your institution. Here are some highlights:

Academic Analytics Social Technical Infrastructure

Learning Relationship Management: An Academic Analytics Socio-Technical Infrastructure

Actionable: “The goal for analytics must remain “actionable intelligence,” and as such, the capacity for analytics must go beyond data and statistics and focus on how the information must be utilized” (2012, p. 61).

Aligned: “In order to dramatically improve student outcomes, technology must be fully aligned with educational objectives, standards, curricula, assessments, interventions, and professional development” (2012, p. 55)

Embedded Culture: “Leaders need to create an institutional culture to use analytics tools to maximize the potential for improved student access, student learning, progression, and success” (2012, p. 59).

Shared Vision: “The role that analytics can play within the learning environment will largely depend on the institution’s vision of the next-generation learning environment. (2012, p. 59).

Championed: “…the decision to move forward with analytics depends on knowledgeable champions among senior administrators” (2012, p. 58).

Coalitional: “Building the appropriate models requires staff with statistics and educational research backgrounds. Creating interventions requires domain knowledge (e.g., advising, retention) and advising/counseling skills. For institutions to be successful in academic analytics projects, IT leaders [and other leaders involved] must build a coalition of people” (2012, p. 58).


The authors close by making a comparison to CRMs and proposed a Learning Relationship Management tool and infrastructure. Anyway about it, most institutions have a lot of work to do before academic analytics offices inside academic institutions reach this level of sophistication. Hopefully institutions’ notions of academic analytics will move away from a new way of saying “reporting results” and instead move towards a systemic detection and intervention management system that is easily understood by those participating in learning and in its facilitation.


Baer, L., & Campbell, J. (2012). Chapter 4: From Metrics to Analytics, Reporting to Action: Analytics’ Role in Changing the Learning Environment. Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies (pp. 53–65). EDUCAUSE.


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