Big Data and Learning Analytics
For a long time now, nothing new has happened in the consumer sector: data is collected, measured and analysed in order to track down buying trends and predict consumer behaviour. Now the education sector is dealing with data science in a similar way: with “Learning Analytics” individual learning profiles are created. Digitization has also changed our learning.
We no longer receive information only from face-to-face events and books. With our smartphone or tablet, we can access learning content at any time and at lightning speed. We work on assignments online and take exams, write in chats and forums, exchange social networks with each other and with the professors.
Data Analytics stands for examining data to discover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, and other useful information. If the amount of data is very large, it is called Big Data Analytics or Big Data for short. Every year new technologies emerge that have an impact on learning, teaching and creative research in education in the future. Learning Analytics is classified as a medium-term trend (three to five years) in educational technology. The activities around the topic are constantly increasing and pilot projects and implementations are being launched worldwide. California State University, for example, has introduced a Student Success Dashboard in the US, which helps higher education administrators better and faster capture problem areas.
Whenever learning offers and processes are processed electronically, you can collect data. If these data are evaluated according to specific questions, they can provide a wealth of answers. So you can pursue the question of how to support the learner in his learning processes, or how lecturers set up their course in such a way that they enable a high level of learning success. Similarly, the educational institution may ask what it needs to do to best support faculty and students.
With the application of analytical methods, it is not only in the consumer goods industry that purchasing trends and purchasing patterns can be identified. With the advent of learning analytics in the education sector, educators and learners get key information to sustainably improve learning opportunities and learning processes. Learning Analytics is about collecting and analysing those tracks – and ultimately, using those tracks, to improve learning. Using data to influence education decisions is not new. But the fact that vast amounts of Do My Assignment data can now be “harvested” automatically and evaluated by intelligent algorithms opens up completely new possibilities. Analysing this data has the potential to provide detailed insights into the skills and behaviours of the individual learner. These findings, in turn, can be used to improve both learning opportunities and learning outcomes.
The possibilities of Learning Analytics
For the learner, data is provided to identify personal knowledge. One’s own actions, interactions and learning processes can be observed to get to know individual learning habits better. Based on a personal history of learning, predictions about future interactions or learning outcomes can also be made.
For the teachers, Learning Analytics accompanies learning processes, reveals patterns at an early stage or identifies problems. Learning materials can be evaluated for their usefulness and adapted to the learner’s needs and improved. Based on the data collected, it can be seen whether and where the individual learner needs support in order to intervene, to look after and to advise.
The Bridgwater College in England collected extensive data from their students. This compares it to national averages and answers a wealth of questions. It also creates individual profiles and collects data on past achievements as well as socio-demographic values. For example, the following questions can be answered:
» How can we, as an education provider, better support learners from difficult backgrounds?
» Where are your typical problems?
» Which types of learning have problems with which learning offers?
» How long must a course be in order to achieve the highest possible graduation rates?
At Bridgwater College, such insights flow into (individual) learning plans. In addition, the students are supervised with the help of a sophisticated tutoring system, which draws on the findings from Learning Analytics. Sudden drops in performance can be detected faster and followed up. Or e-mails can be sent as soon as submission deadlines are exceeded.
Learning Analytics offers a variety of opportunities for start-ups such as Data-driven problem solving is an innovative field with great potential. At the launch site we had, for example, the start-up abilityloft.com that the learning content due to better tailoring learning analytics to the learner. The start-up www.bettermarks.com operates similarly. The Mathelern program evaluates the learning behaviour of its users and adapts automatically to the content. In doing so, it personalizes math learning and takes into account the individual needs of the learner. Internationally, there are start-ups like civitaslearning.com or brightbytes.net, just to name two out of many learning sites which employing analytics. Learning Analytics offers many applications and a multitude of opportunities for start-ups.
About the author
Abhishek Shrivastav is a WordPress and Drupal Expert. He have 9+ years of experience in Web Development. He have developed a wide range of websites for almost all the field. Apart from this, he also work as Professional Blogger and provide services and support to other in solving their CMS related issues. Read more