Federated Learning Analytics: Investigating the Privacy-Performance Trade-Off in Machine Learning for Educational Analytics

Max van Haastrecht, Matthieu Brinkhuis, Marco Spruit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Concerns surrounding privacy and data protection are a primary contributor to the hesitation of institutions to adopt new educational technologies. Addressing these concerns could open the door to accelerated impact, but current state-of-the-art approaches centred around machine learning are heavily dependent on (personal) data. Privacy-preserving machine learning, in the form of federated learning, could offer a solution. However, federated learning has not been investigated in-depth within the context of educational analytics, and it is therefore unclear what its impact on model performance is. In this paper, we compare performance across three different machine learning architectures (local learning, federated learning, and central learning) for three distinct prediction use cases (learning outcome, question correctness, and dropout). We find that federated learning consistently achieves comparable performance to central learning, but also that local learning remains competitive up to 20 local clients. We conclude by introducing FLAME, a novel metric that assists policymakers in their assessment of the privacy-performance trade-off.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtificial Intelligence in Education
EditorsA. M. Olney, I. Chounta, Z. Liu, O.C. Santos, I.I. Bittencourt
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-64299-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-64298-2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2024


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