Untangling connections between challenges in the adoption of learning analytics in higher education Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2022

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1360-2357

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-7608


  • Potential benefits of learning analytics (LA) for improving students performance, predicting students success, and enhancing teaching and learning practice have increasingly been recognized in higher education. However, the adoption of LA in higher education institutions (HEIs) to date remains sporadic and predominantly small in scale due to several socio-technical challenges. To better understand why HEIs struggle to scale LA adoption, it is needed to untangle adoption challenges and their related factors. This paper presents the findings of a study that sought to investigate the associations of adoption factors with challenges HEIs face in the adoption of LA and how these associations are compared among HEIs at different scopes of adoption. The study was based on a series of semi-structured interviews with senior managers in HEIs. The interview data were thematically analysed to identify the main challenges in LA adoption. The connections between challenges and other factors related to LA adoption were analysed using epistemic network analysis (ENA). From senior managers viewpoints, ethical issues of informed consent and resistance culture had the strongest links with challenges of learning analytic adoption in HEI; this was especially true for those institutions that had not adopted LA or who were in the initial phase of adoption (i.e., preparing for or partially implementing LA). By contrast, among HEIs that had fully adopted LA, the main challenges were found to be associated with centralized leadership, gaps in the analytic capabilities, external stakeholders, and evaluations of technology. Based on the results, we discuss implications for LA strategy that can be useful for institutions at various stages of LA adoption, from early stages of interest to the full adoption phase.


  • higher education; learning analytics; adoption challenges