Learning with insights

Researchers in quest for better education tools

Research Vision

Learning Analytics and Big Data Regulation

E-learning offers huge possibilities for the delivery of affordable high-quality education irrespective of temporal and geographical constraints. However, many students suffer from the high demand such learning makes on the students’ ability to self-regulate, leaving them on their own and denying remedial interventions to instructors. The frustrations and low achievement of these students currently leads to high dropout rates. To counter that setback, this research proposes an AI-powered anthropomorphic pedagogical agent to assist learners and teachers in their tasks. Such APAs will meet the cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, emotional, and social needs of e-learning students, while complementing or supplementing teachers’ pedagogical responsibility.

Research News

T4E 2019 Workshop

Prof Kumar will present a workshop on the Calculus of Causation, the general case of the traditional randomized controlled trial (RCT) which allows to infer causality from observational data. Workshop:[…]

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Assessing Learning Analytics Impact on Coding Competence Growth – ICALT 2019

On July 17, 2019, Prof Kumar presented a paper at the international conference on Advanced Learning Technologies and Technology-enhanced Learning organized by the IEEE Computer Society and the IEEE Technical[…]

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Shedding Light on the Automated Essay Scoring Process – EDM 2019

David Boulanger presented a poster at the Educational Data Mining Conference 2019 aiming at Shedding Light on the Automated Essay Scoring Process, a subject of high interest by researchers in[…]

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Research Areas


· Big data learning analytics
· Intelligent tutors and smart objects
· User modelling and model tracing


· Computational models of self- and co-regulation
· Computer-supported collaborative learning
· Computational models of grit


· Immersive technology – augmented / virtual reality
· Interactive visualizations
· Evaluation of user experiences
· Anthropomorphic agents


· Knowledge engineering, representation, and reasoning
· Game-based causality
· Longitudinal and observational causal models
· Discovery of causal models


· Entitative learning experiences
· Inclusive and universal design for learning environments
· Open data, open science, open research
· Distributed privacy and data governance
· Reenacted companions and representations

Research Projects

Big Data Analytics – Technologies, Standards

Scaling learning analytics systems at the big data level requires the ingestion of multimodal data, standardization of data of interests, and the integration of large-scale storage and data processing technologies.

Anthropomorphic Pedagogical Agents (APA)

APAs embody human traits such as the analysis process and insightfulness of humans. They are able to interact with humans by detecting and exhibiting emotion, communicating through natural language, and enacting a pedagogical role.

Industry Training

Industry training analytics assesses operators’ skill development during learning-by-doing processes done within immersive environments (virtual and augmented reality) in both standard and emergency settings.


Coding analytics captures, assesses, and provides timely feedback to learners on their coding processes, testing, and debugging habits with the goal of fostering high-quality, professional programming skills demanded in the industry.


Assisting a student during the writing process is a colossal task that requires combining the forces of state-of-the-art natural language processing and deep learning techniques. Predicting essay final scores and rubric scores is just one of many ways of providing formative feedback to students to help them reinforce their writing skills.

Observational Study

The Internet of Things improves the precision with which learners can be non-intrusively observed, increasing the potential of observational studies to approximate randomized block designs and estimate causal effects without the ethical concerns and recruitment limitations of randomized experiments.


Self-regulated learning analytics implies assessing the student’s ability to set goals, craft a plan to reach those goals, stick by the plan when working toward that goal, and monitor one’s progress to adapt the goal and its learning path as needed. It also provides students with feedback to guide them toward desirable self-regulatory traits.


Competence analytics measures the knowledge and skills of learners independently of the instructional materials at their disposal during the learning processes. It also estimates the retention level of acquired knowledge and the transfer effect of learning one concept over another, which allows to fill in knowledge gaps in a new domain.


Assessing music skills, whether it is singing, playing instruments, or understanding the theoretical concepts of music, is a challenging but exciting task. Nowadays, technologies such as computer vision and audio digital processing allow to capture valuable data during the learning process, measure the level of engagement and music skills of learners, and  provide timely feedback to musicians in training and  teachers.


Research analytics aims at promoting and facilitating the sharing and integration of scientific study results with the purpose to discover new and finer-grained insights in education to optimize the learning and teaching processes and the environments in which they occur. The ultimate goal is to avoid actionable insights to sleep over decades, and rather optimize the research benefits to the education community.


Sport analytics consists of designing sportswear that tracks players’ movements as well as developing sensors in sports equipment that assess players’ dexterity and velocity. The data analyzed allow to provide real-time and concise feedback that help teams optimize their performance and assist referees/umpires in the decision-making process, with careful attention to not interfere with the sport itself.


The Knowledge Space Theory allows to capture the dependencies between a set of related math concepts to form a knowledge space within which the student’s learning state is constantly recorded and his/her overall learning path tracked. Through continuous adaptive formative assessments, gaps in the student’s comprehension are easily detected and remedied. This is crucial to help students build their confidence.

Instructional Designs Analytics

Evaluates the quality and effectiveness of learning resources and course designs on student performance and provides recommendations on how to improve the learning experience.


Healthcare analytics automates through education data the detection of mental health disorders such as ADHD and remedies to these disorders through educational rehabilitation.


Sentiment analytics is the detection of the learner’s emotion during the learning process and the identification of the cause identified through computer vision, audio, neurological, physical, and text data.


Traffic analytics leverages techniques developed in educational data mining and learning analytics to innovatively apply them to better determine and improve traffic conditions thanks to smart technologies.

Lean & Agile in Collaborations

Adapting the Lean & Agile methods of project management to software development projects in the context of academia-academia or industry-academia collaborations.


Identifying and minimizing barriers to learning analytics adoption to analyze the effectiveness of analytics-generated feedback and optimize the educational benefits.


Analyzes reading behaviors and recommends concepts ready to be learned based on learner’s profile and when to transition from practice to reading (vice versa) to optimize learning.

Communication Skills Analytics

Assesses and nurtures skills for effective verbal and non-verbal communication including listening/understanding complex language, and articulating and pronouncing ideas thoroughly.

Research Experiments

Our learning analytics research group, under the umbrella of Athabasca University, is conducting different experiments of our learning analytics tools and solutions in collaboration with various institutions and industries around the world.


Research Team


Prof Vive Kumar

PhD in Computer Science

Lead Researcher –
Learning Analytics in AI

Prof Shawn Fraser

PhD in PE and Recreation

Researcher –
Data Analysis, Experimental Design, Technology UX

David Boulanger

UGRD in Computer Science

Research Assistant –
Data Scientist

Jeremie Seanosky

UGRD in Computer Science

Research Assistant –
Information Systems Engineer

Chris Maton

B.S. in Computer Sc.

Information Architect

Isabelle Guillot

UGRD in Management

Research Assistant –
Agile Project Manager & Communication Coordinator

Rebecca Guillot

UGRD in Computer Science

Research Assistant –
Systems Architect & Software Developer

Claudia Guillot

UGRD in Design

Research Assistant –
3D Modeling Graphic Designer

Geof Glass

PhD in Communication

Researcher –
Sport Analytics

Diane Mitchnick

Grad in Computer Science

Researcher –
Health Analytics

Colin B. Pinnell

UGRD in Computer Science

Research Assistant –
Software Developer

Research Publications


International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT 2019), July 15-18, Maceió-AL, Brazil

Assessing Learning Analytics Impact on Coding Competence Growth

Boulanger, D., Seanosky, J., Guillot, R., Guillot, I., Guillot, C., Fraser, S., Kumar, V., & Kinshuk (2019)

In D. Sampson, D. Ifenthaler, J.M. Spector, P. I Isaías, S. Sergis (Eds.) Learning Technologies for Transforming Large-Scale Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (pp. 123-151). Springer, Cham

Performance analysis of a serial NLP pipeline for scaling analytics of academic writing process

Boulanger, D., Clemens, C., Seanosky, J., Fraser, S., Kumar, V.S. (2019)

Educational Data Mining (EDM 2019), Poster, July 2-5, Montreal, Canada

Shedding Light on the Automated Essay Scoring Process

Boulanger, D., & Kumar V. (2019)

Others’ Research Publications

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the Learning Analytics please feel free to email us.