Submission Guidelines

General information

Review Process

To maintain the technical quality of the conference as it continues to grow in size and variety, LAK21 continues to use double-blind review for all categories of submission, with the exception of the Doctoral Consortium (for which supervisor letters of support are required) and Interactive Demonstrations (as video recordings are very hard to blind).

In double-blind review:

  • Reviewers’ identities are not disclosed to authors, which has always been the approach at LAK. Moreover, reviewers will respect the spirit of the double-blind process, treating each submission on its own merits, and not seek to research the authors’ identities.
  • Authors should omit from their submission author names, affiliations, acknowledgements, and omit/disguise other details (such as URLs and project/product names) that may disclose identity. Do not eliminate self-references to your published work that are relevant and essential to a proper review of your submission. Instead, write self-references in the third person (e.g. “Previous work by Smith [27] has shown…”). The goal and spirit of double-blind review is to create uncertainty about authorship, which is sufficient to realize most of its benefits.

On the rationale and evidence for double-blind review, see McKinley (2015) and Snodgrass (2007).

Evidence Hub

In order to develop an overview of research evidence in the field, we are once again aligning the EasyChair submission system with the LACE Evidence Hub.  EasyChair will, therefore, ask whether your paper provides positive/negative/ambivalent evidence about four statements. These focus on whether learning analytics support learning, support teaching, are rolled out at scale and are applied ethically. We recognise that papers may not provide evidence in relation to any of these criteria and so your answers to these questions will have no influence on the review of your paper.

For an overview of the current state of the evidence, based on a review of the LACE Evidence Hub, see Ferguson and Clow (2017).

Research Track Guidelines

Submission Types

Full research papers (10 pages, ACM proceedings template, including references) include a clearly explained substantial conceptual, technical or empirical contribution. The scope of the paper must be placed appropriately with respect to the current state of the field, and the contribution should be clearly described. This includes the conceptual or theoretical aspects at the foundation of the contribution, an explanation of the technical setting (tools used, how are they integrated into the contribution), analysis, and results.

Short research papers (6 pages, ACM proceedings template, including references) can address on-going work, which may include a briefly described theoretical underpinning, an initial proposal or rationale for a technical solution, and preliminary results, with consideration of stakeholder engagement issues. We also invite short papers that explicitly address the theme of this year’s conference by reflecting on past, present, and future research foci in the field of learning analytics, along with reflections on the role which LAK has played in shaping our research agendas.

Preparing Your Submission

  • Preparing manuscript using the appropriate template and paying attention to the page limits for a particular submission type. Authors of full and short research papers should use the ACM proceedings template, either LaTeX or Word template. If you want to use the Microsoft Word template, please also install the required libertine fonts using this [link] (zip file, 3.5mb). Authors of posters should use the  LAK companion proceedings template
  • Remove all identifying information as research track submissions use a double-blind review process, so make sure to remove all identifying information from the submission. This includes author names on the title page, author names in the headers and footers, author names from PDF metadata, and author names from the ACM citation on the title page. Also, make sure to adequately blind references if they are clearly revealing authors, such as references to your related prior work. 
  • Upload your submission via LAK21 EasyChair submission system. The submission must be before the official deadline (1 October 2020, 23:59 GMT-12:00)

Review Process and Criteria

Each research track submission will be reviewed by at least three reviewers who will provide written feedback and evaluations of each submission. The reviews for each submission will be shared among its reviewers, so that in the case of significant discrepancies, reviewers can discuss and possibly adjust their reviews. 

After all reviews are completed, the Senior Program Committee will be tasked to write meta-reviews for each submission alongside the final recommendation for each submission. The provided recommendations by the Senior Program Committee will be reviewed by the Program Chairs and used to make final decisions for all submissions.

In addition to basic requirements around methodological and conceptual rigour of the presented research, authors are encouraged to specifically address the particular theme for this year’s conference: “The impact we make: contributions of learning analytics to learning”. In their contributions, we encourage authors to address some of the following questions:

  1. What are the practical and scholarly implications of the presented work for the next ten years?
  2. What are the challenges of the presented work we need to address to improve its impact in the next ten years?
  3. How can the presented work be practically implemented and adopted?

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the Learning Analytics research community, to better communicate the significance of their study results, we also encourage authors to pay special attention to the following general set of questions:

  • What is the target audience for your study? 
  • Can you justify why you used one specific methodology instead of an alternative? 
  • What is the value and potential impact of your initiative at scale? 
  • What is the most surprising part of your results? Was this surprise shared by the people involved?
  • What changes in teaching and learning activities do you envision that could be realistically derived from your work? 

NOTE: If you are a newcomer to the LAK conference, it might be good to review the annual selection of the best papers from previous LAK conferences, published in the Journal of Learning Analytics:


Authors of full research papers will have ≤25 minutes at the conference to present their contribution, followed by 5 minutes for questions. Authors of short papers will have ≤15 minutes to present their contribution, followed by 5 minutes for questions.  With author permissions, some conference sessions may be recorded and made available after the event. 


Full and short research papers will be published in the LAK21 Conference Proceedings, published by ACM and indexed in the ACM Digital Library. 

NOTE: At least one of the authors must register for the conference by the Early bird deadline before the paper can be included in the LAK21 Conference and Companion Proceedings.

Research Track Awards

From the full research papers, up to 5, with the highest review rankings, will be nominated for the ‘Best Full Research Paper Award’. Also, from the short research papers with the highest review rankings, up to five will be nominated for ‘Best Short Research Paper Award’. All nominated papers will be identified in the conference program and conference proceedings. A committee formed from current and past LAK program chairs will select the winning paper and the award will be announced during the conference.

Practitioner and Corporate Learning Analytics Track Guidelines

The Practitioner and Corporate Learning Analytics (PaC-LA) track provides a way of sharing thoughts and findings that stem from learning analytics project implementations specifically outside the traditional research context. The intention is that these conversations will contribute to a shared understanding of projects, deployments, or interventions, and the factors that influence their success “in the wild”. The PaC-LA Chairs will be looking for submissions that offer unique or distinct insight into practical applications, intervention designs, analyses, and/or the processes surrounding their implementation. Valuable learning can be gleaned from projects and studies whether or not they achieved their goals and so submissions will not be rejected on the grounds that the project was unsuccessful. 

The intent of the stream is to contribute to our collective understanding of the practices prominent in learning analytics adoption, what appears to be having impact, and why. Specifically, our interest is to explore the growing role of learning analytics in corporate learning, including the skills development needs of employees, alternative credentialing models, reliance on non-traditional education providers, and the impact of using data to guide corporate learning programs. As such, we encourage you, in your findings, to reflect on the stated purpose of your initiative and discuss learnings and outcomes from the initiative in light of these stated goals.

Submission Types

PaC-LA Presentation reports are designed to highlight individual institution or practitioner uses of learning analytics. Topics can range from single implementations of learning analytics tools/initiatives up to the deployment of cross-functional systems or larger projects that have been rolled out at scale. Practitioner reports are part of the main conference schedule and will be held in integrated sessions with research presentations. Practitioner reports may be up to 2 pages in length using the LAK companion proceedings template (including references) and should include:

  • Title (75 characters)
  • Abstract (up to 50 words)
  • Keywords (up to 6 keywords)
  • Background about why/how the project or product was developed (250 words). This might include: 
    • Problem you are trying to solve
    • Description of the system (e.g. functionality)
  • Description of implementation (250 words). This might include:
    • Audience/users (e.g. students, instructors, support staff) and scale (e.g. 10 users)
    • Duration of the project
    • Support (e.g. was the project centrally funded/staffed by your organization)
  • Results/findings of project evaluation or product usage. This might include: 
    • Key challenges in implementation
    • Notes for practice for other users/implementers

Suggested Topics

While submissions on all topics related to learning analytics will be considered, these topics are likely to prove most interesting to conference attendees:

  • Institutional Adoption of learning analytics: Case studies outlining how institutions are working to incorporate analytics into regular teaching and learning practice.
    • Lessons learned: after going through a learning analytics project, what lessons were learned in:
      • Implementation: what factors surfaced that affected the success of the project?
      • Outcomes: What were the stated measures of success of the project? Were they met during the implementation? Did other unexpected results appear?
      • Innovative new tools/techniques: Share newly developed tools or approaches to learning analytics that have been implemented at an institution. Reviewers will look for unique characteristics and at how deployment has influenced development.
    • Application of standards: A project making use of data/analytics standards and illustrating the benefits of such an approach.
    • Collaboration and sharing: How are groups of institutions/practitioners partnering to solve shared problems in the learning analytics space?
  • Professional development: How to develop and nurture professional development to support your staff and students to use and apply learning analytics?

Preparing Your Submission

  • PaC-LA reports are using double-blind review process, so please remove all identifying details from text. However, Interactive demos do not need to be de-identified since it can be very hard to disguise real systems.
  • The PaC-LA track submissions should use LAK companion proceedings template
  • Upload your submissions via LAK21 EasyChair submission system.

Review Process and Criteria

Practitioner submissions will be reviewed by at least two reviewers chosen by the Practitioner Chairs. The reviews will be shared between the reviewers, pending final review by the Practitioner Chairs. Submissions with the highest evaluations will be accepted.

The following criteria will guide reviewers when selecting submissions, although we recognise that this list may not be applicable to all submissions. Criteria are provided to guide practitioners in the preparation of their submissions.

  • Implementation track record: The project should have been used by an institution or has been deployed on a learning site. There are no hard guidelines about user numbers or how long the project has been running.
  • Learning/education related: The submission should describe work that addresses learning/academic analytics, either at an educational institution or in an area (such as corporate training, health care or informal learning) where the goal is to improve the learning environment or learning outcomes.
  • Institutional involvement: All submissions should include information collected from people who have used the tool or initiative in a learning environment (such as faculty, students, administrators and trainees).
  • Overall quality, including potential value for LAK attendees: Project success (or failure) accounts are encouraged, but a focus must be placed on what the community of practitioners and researchers can gain from learning about the work. What was successful (and why)? What was unsuccessful (and why)?
  • No sales pitches: While submissions from commercial suppliers are welcomed, reviewers will not accept overt (or covert) sales pitches. Reviewers will look for evidence that the presentation will take into account challenges faced, problems that have arisen, and/or user feedback that needs to be addressed. 


Authors of practitioner reports will have ≤15 minutes at the conference to present their contribution, followed by 5 minutes for questions. With author permissions, some conference sessions may be recorded and made available after the event.  


All practitioner contributions will be published in the LAK21 Companion Proceedings, archived with open access on the SoLAR website. 

NOTE: At least one of the authors must register for the conference by the Early bird deadline before the paper can be included in the LAK21 Companion Proceedings.

Practitioner Track Awards

From the Practitioner Reports with the highest review rankings, up to five, will be nominated for the ‘Best PaC-LA  Report Award’ and identified in the Program and Companion Proceedings. A committee formed from current and past LAK Program Chairs will select the winning paper, and the award will be made during the conference.

Posters and Demonstrations Guidelines

Submission Types

Posters (3 pages, LAK companion proceedings template, including references) represent a concise report of recent findings or other types of innovative work not ready to be submitted as a full or short research paper or a description of a practical learning analytics project implementation which may not be ready to be presented as a PaC-LA report.  Poster presentations are part of the LAK Poster & Demo session, and authors are given a physical board to present and discuss their projects with delegates. Alternatively, a poster submission may be work that you prefer to present interactively.

Interactive demos provide opportunities to communicate interactive learning analytics tools. Interactive demonstrations are part of the LAK Poster & Demo session, and presenters are given table space where they demonstrate their latest learning analytics projects, tools, and systems. Use demos to communicate innovative user interface designs, visualisations, or other novel functionality that tackles a real user problem. Tools may be at an early concept demonstrator stage or relatively mature, all the way through to products. While LAK encourages participation from commercial analytics partners, interactive demos should be built around actual field experience, results, and feedback. Submissions for conceptual products or for products that have not been used by instructors and/or students are unlikely to be accepted. Interactive demo submissions should include a 200-word abstract and movie link using the LAK companion proceedings template and a demo movie no more than five minutes in length.

Pre-conference Event Track Guidelines

Workshops provide an efficient forum for community building, sharing of perspectives, and idea generation for specific and emerging research topics or viewpoints. Tutorials aim to educate stakeholders on a specific learning analytics topic or stakeholder perspective. Proposals should be explicit regarding the kind of activity participants should expect and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Mini-tracks/Symposia: Organizers will typically publish a call for papers, select a number of presenters based on a common topic, invite keynoters, and organize the events as a mini conference
  • Interactive workshop sessions: Organizers will typically elicit some shorter input presentations, but emphasis will be placed on discussion, participatory or generative activities
  • Tutorials: Organizers will prepare a more guided introduction to a topic including hands-on activities for the participants
  • Technology sessions (e.g., hackathons, datathons, demo sprints): Organizers will prepare an interactive session that will focus on collaborative exploration or generation of technology

The Chairs will seek to balance proposals from across the continuum.

Please note that all attending organisers must register for their own event (for catering and logistics purposes). However, up to three workshop/tutorial organisers may register for their own event free of charge.

Submission Types

Proposals should be a maximum of four pages using the LAK companion proceedings template and should include the following information in order to enable reviewers to judge the importance, quality, and benefits for the LAK community.

  • Workshop/tutorial title
    • Workshop organizers and the workshop program committee (if applicable) 
    • Workshop/tutorial background – indicating the motivation for the workshop/tutorial topic. Why is this topic of particular interest for LAK 2020? What is its contribution to the research field? If a similar relevant workshop or tutorial has been organised at past learning analytics-oriented conferences then you should describe how your proposal builds upon these past events.
  • Organisational details of proposed event:
    • Type of event (see above for appropriate categories)
    • Proposed schedule and duration (half-day or full-day)
    • Type of participation: e.g., ‘by application’ (i.e., only persons with a paper submission may attend), ‘open’ workshop (i.e., any interested delegate may register to attend), or ‘mixed participation’
    • The workshop/tutorial activities that participants should expect: e.g., symposia elements, birds of a feather, group-based demos, discussion groups, presentations, poster sessions, etc.
    • Expected participant numbers and planned dissemination activities to recruit attendants
    • Required equipment for the workshop/tutorial (projectors (HDMI), whiteboards & pens will be available in every room, ) 
      • pinboard(s) ___ piece(s) (120 cm wide, 150 cm high)
      • flipchart(s)  ___ piece(s) (20 sheets each)
      • moderation cards ___ piece(s)
        • different colors
        • different shapes
        • different sizes
      • Post-its ___ piece(s)
        • different colors
        • different shapes
        • different sizes
      • seating (table & chair positions can be changed during the workshop; here you cross for your prefered seating at the beginning of your workshop)
        • u-shape
        • rows
        • table groups for ___ people each
      • tape
  • Workshop/tutorial objectives or intended outcomes – What are the objectives that the workshop or tutorial aims to achieve? How will these outcomes be disseminated? (e.g. #hashtag of the event, mailing lists, etc.) Whether publication of the workshop contributions is intended in a joint “LAK Companion Proceedings” (and if so, how many contributions can be expected), or whether the organizers will organize their own publication like CEUR proceedings?
  • Structure and contents of the workshop website
  • References

For workshops with a submission/application process, we suggest that workshop chairs follow this timeline:

  • 1 October 2020: Workshop proposal submission deadline
  • 21 October 2020: Notification of acceptance
  • 1 November 2020:: Workshop calls for participation announced
  • 8 January 2021: Workshop papers submission deadline
  • 20 January 2021: Notifications sent out (prior to early-bird registration deadline of 20 January 2019)
  • 7 February 2021: Final version of papers due for LAK Companion Proceedings

Preparing Your Submission

Review Process

Workshop and Tutorial selection will be handled competitively; proposals will be ranked according to six criteria:

  1. Overall relevance to LAK
  2. Relevance to the LAK21 theme
  3. Innovativeness
  4. Overall quality, including potential value for attendees
  5. Extent of interaction
  6. Comprehensiveness of planning

Workshop/tutorial organisers are encouraged to propose innovative and interactive formats, which will be given priority in the selection process. The proposals will be reviewed and evaluated in a double-blind fashion. In case of overlapping proposals, the workshop/tutorial Chairs may propose to merge two workshops or tutorials into a single one.

Workshop/Tutorial Outcomes

Workshop/tutorial descriptions and website links will be collated on the main LAK21 website.


Four-page workshop and tutorial descriptions will be published in the Companion proceedings and archived on SoLAR’s website. Additionally, workshop organisers may choose to publish papers presented in their workshop in the Companion Proceedings, using the LAK companion proceedings template.

In addition to this publication in the Companion Proceedings, workshop/tutorials are encouraged to produce open access documents or notes synthesising key outcomes and agreed follow-on activities – these could be produced during the workshop.


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