Ten caveats of learning analytics in health professions education: A consumer’s perspective

Olle ten Cate*, Suzan Dahdal, Thomas Lambert, Florian Neubauer, Anina Pless, Philippe Fabian Pohlmann, Harold van Rijen, Corinne Gurtner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A group of 22 medical educators from different European countries, gathered in a meeting in Utrecht in July 2019, discussed the topic of learning analytics (LA) in an open conversation and addressed its definition, its purposes and potential risks for learners and teachers. LA was seen as a significant advance with important potential to improve education, but the group felt that potential drawbacks of using LA may yet be under-exposed in the literature. After transcription and interpretation of the discussion’s conclusions, a document was drafted and fed back to the group in two rounds to arrive at a series of 10 caveats educators should be aware of when developing and using LA, including too much standardized learning, with undue consequences of over-efficiency and pressure on learners and teachers, and a decrease of the variety of ‘valid’ learning resources. Learning analytics may misalign with eventual clinical performance and can run the risk of privacy breaches and inescapability of documented failures. These consequences may not happen, but the authors, on behalf of the full group of educators, felt it worth to signal these caveats from a consumers’ perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-678
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


  • computer-based
  • information handling
  • Portfolio
  • trends


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