Postdoc Researcher – Learning Analytics, Incentives and Decision-Making in Education

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Vacaturenummer 18005
VU onderdeel: Extern

VUnet Vacatures afbeelding 03 Engels
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam), and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students. Our university has ten faculties, one of which is the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences. The Amsterdam Center for Learning Analytics (ACLA) is an academic center with the objective to improve educational outcomes by combining insights from information technology, behavioural sciences, learning and education, and rigorous empirical evaluation methods. ACLA is part of the department educational sciences, section methods and statistics, in which this postdoctoral position is offered.
Job / Project Description
Education serves many objectives and in the complex process of schooling, different stakeholders and actors can be identified. Quite often, the objectives of different parties are relatively well-aligned. Yet, objectives and interests can deviate significantly, particularly when high-stakes decisions are made. Two examples, specific to the Dutch educational context, are the end-of-primary school advice used for determining students’ eligibility for secondary education and academic dismissal policies in higher education. A first objective of this postdoctoral position is to properly understand the incentives that different actors face in these instances and how this affects the potential to realise objectives of different stakeholders. For the latter, quasi-experimental evaluation studies will be conducted.
The recent surge in data collected from the interaction of users with educational and information technology has attracted much attention from educational policy makers, researchers, and practitioners alike and is seen as a promising approach for advancing our understanding of the learning process. This promise motivated the emergence of a new research field, called learning analytics. Yet, large challenges remain in the integration of learning analytics with educational theory and research. Also, it is still largely unclear how to responsibly exploit these vast amounts of data with respect to data-driven decision-making in education. A second objective of this postdoctoral position is to further advance the field of learning analytics using a multi-disciplinary approach, thereby bridging gaps between educational theory, learning analytics data and evidence-based innovations in education. For this, an extensive overview of learning analytics and digital tools currently used in education is to be conducted. Field experiments will be designed, implemented and evaluated in different educational settings, with the purpose to study the effectiveness or efficiency of these tools.
•PhD degree in behavioural or educational sciences, public policy or program evaluation, or adjacent area.
•Strong interest in empirical analysis, education and behavioural insights;
•Competence in causal impact evaluations;
•Excellent ability to communicate in written and spoken English;
•Good social skills, ability to work independently, and strong scientific motivation.
•Ability to communicate in spoken Dutch is a prerequisite.
Further Particulars
The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for another year. Information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment can be found at and include for example:
•Remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;
•Solid pension scheme (ABP);
•A minimum of 29 holidays In case of full-time employment;
•A wide range of sports facilities, which staff may use at a modest charge.
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of € 3238,00 gross per month up to a maximum of € 4084,00 gross per month (salary scale 10), based on full-time employment.
For additional information please contact dr. Chris van Klaveren (associate professor education sciences  & director of Amsterdam Center for Learning Analytics [ACLA]): e-mail:
Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by a curriculum vitae and the names and contact details of two references. Applications – in a single pdf-file only – should be emailed to with the vacancy number in the subject line.
Application deadline:    25 January 2018
Job interview(s):           From 2 February 2018
Start date:                    Negotiable, but preferably March 2018.
Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.