I've always wanted to write a headline like that.
If you are like me, any link suggesting that learning analytics can be easy is worth a quick look. Even if only to sneer at the temerity of whoever would say that. So, thank you for being curious enough to click. Now that I have your attention...
Getting started with a learning analytics initiatve doesn't need to be hard. What's hard is sustaining a learning analytics initiative IF one is only doing something, anything, as a pet project, an exploration, or a trial run because someone gave you free software.
To paraphrase the incomparable Tina Turner, we're gonna start this learning anaytics conversation nice and easy (don't worry, no dancing required). Here we go. Five quick easy steps to get started:
(1) Start with a real problem to solve. Scope your problem statement so that you maximize your probabiities of success. Do you have market conditions to address, sneaking suspicions that there might be trouble in River City that you'd better find out about before someone else does? Maybe places where you are pretty sure you can do a better job? You might want to think of something that will help you test the waters of change without putting yourself at risk of total humiliation if it doesn't work.
(2) Figure out who needs to be involved in creating the business case to get this problem solved. How much of a priority is solving the problem you identified going to be for others in your organization? Who need to be engaged and on-board to get this done?
(3) Determine what you need to answer questions related to solving this problem. What information do you need? Who owns it? Where does it live? How are you going to secure it? How will it be analyzed? Who can see it, work with it, publish it? How will results be used? How long will the results live, and who will have access?
(4) Determine the necessary project talent to make sure you can get the work done. It's not just about having access to people who understand how to work with data. It's about having the right team in place across the board who can execute to plan and deliver results, and making sure that you have planned for enough of their time to be effective. How will you find them? What will you need to attract their attention and keep them engaged?
(5) Develop a bottom-up budget to see if you can afford to do what you want to do. Odds are, you will need more money than you have on hand. (Well... odds are that you will end up needing more money than you think you do, too, but that's a conversation for a later time). So, where might you find the funding to do what you want to do? Who else might be interested in getting involved in your great adventure?
Obviously each one of these steps can take on a life of its own once you get going, but as a place to begin these are a great way to get your arms around your big idea and see if its possible to move ahead.