On May 12, 2023, the Highly Informative Learning Analytics (HILA) research program of the EduTec@DIPF, studiumdigitale@Goethe University Frankfurt and the Open Learning and Instruction group@Open Universiteit was presented by Hendrik Drachsler at the main campus of the Open University of the Netherlands.

The release of the HILA research program marks a significant milestone for the collaboration in the field of learning analytics between of the Dutch-German research collective.  The HILA research program is focused on developing new tools and methods to collect, analyze, and interpret data that can help educational institutions to understand the learning process better.

As part of the program’s launch, a keynote by Ioana Jivet on student-facing learning analytics was provided. Ioana reported on two empirical studies investigating the effect of data-driven feedback on students.

2023_05 Keynote Symposium Hendrik
Thereafter we had two interactive workshops led by researchers from the HILA program were also conducted. The first workshop was led by Marcel Schmitz from Hogeschool Zuyd and Kazem Banihashem from Open Universiteit Heerlen, who introduced the FoLA2 method. This method aims to facilitate the practical application of learning analytics in existing instructional designs, making it easier for educators to understand how their programs are working and make informed changes accordingly. In the second workshop, Daniel Biedermann from Leibniz Institut DIPF Frankfurt focused on the development of data-enriched learning activities. This method enables educators to collect relevant learning data during the course of their instructional programs, which can be used to inform future programs more accurately.

At the end of the event, Hendrik delivered an inaugural address at the launch event, emphasizing the importance of relationships and insights garnered from related research areas.


Psychometrics, feedback theory, and learning design were identified as key fields for achieving highly informative feedback for both students and teachers. A range of Data-enriched Learning Analytics (DeLA) technologies were showcased as the source to collect relevant data and provide HILA feedback, including reading, written text, collaboration, and concept modeling, among others. During the speech, Hendrik also outlined the main research questions and potential study designs that will be used to investigate the effects of HILA in educational settings. He highlighted the technical and educational challenges associated with the implementation of HILA, including the extraction of learner attributes, the annotation of textual data, the delivery of automated feedback, and the development of an organizational culture for HILA. Ensuring the quality of feedback and student literacy skills, tackling ethics and biases, and testing HILA in ecologically valid settings were also identified as crucial considerations.

In conclusion, the launch of the HILA research program represents a significant milestone in the field of learning analytics, providing a new approach to improve instructional design, and support the diverse learning needs of students. The continued investment and improvement in learning analytics research will help advance our understanding of this crucial field and its impact on the future of education.

For those who want to dive deeper into the ideas from the HILA research program, the accompanying book can be downloaded here:

Drachsler, H. (2023). Towards Highly Informative Learning Analytics. Open Universiteit, Netherlands, Heerlen.