How educators are using big data

At its core, big data is all about unmasking the intricacies and nuances of customers and clients to provide a tailored experience and product. With that being said, it may come as no surprise that the education system has flocked to these principles and tried to adapt big data to fit their model.

The influx of exciting analytics based technology has now allowed educators the opportunity to analyse every aspect of their student’s journey. Going far beyond just the results of a handful of tests, essays, and applications – big data is opening a window into a student’s thought process.

Utilising big data principles to help further analyse a student’s educational journey aims to do many things, such as:

  • Help educational institutions improve their services
  • Increase student retention
  • Improve student scoring and grades

While using big data to completely overhaul a pupil’s experience is an exciting proposition, and seemingly a no-brainer, it’s important to see how these principles have worked so far.

Identifying Those at Risk

Unfortunately, millions of students still drop out or choose not to continue the path of higher education. What is causing these students to ditch education and how can big data help educators retain these students and make a real difference?

In order to get students to graduate and ultimately be successful, there are a few factors that need to be analysed. The three main aspects of a student’s journey that big data can help analyse are attendance, grades, and behaviour.

With big data, educators can securely develop data from those factors and compare it to other year’s data to get insight on trends of poorly performing students. It is with this unique and expansive data set that educators can start to focus on the solution instead of just the problem. If attendance is a big reoccurring theme between students who are and aren’t at risk, perhaps educators can discuss how to use online learning to keep students engaged outside of school.

Creating custom, thoughtful, and innovative solutions to the problem of at-risk students are one of the most exciting ways educators are currently using big data.

Customisation is Key

One of the most common complaints that parents and students have thrown at the old guard of education is the lack of customisation. The schools and teachers can only do so much, as students are forced to enter a cookie cutter mould that may not quite fit them.

This includes everything from the actual course materials to how they learn and even where they learn. Thankfully, big data can help create massively customisable solutions for even the largest student bodies.

Achieved through a combination of online and offline learning, students will be able to develop their own completely customised curriculum. This enables students to hone in on the topics and teaching methods that interest them the most.

While this sounds like a massive undertaking for an educational institution, they have the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of more students than they would originally have had the capacity to teach. Additionally, the insights that these massively customised courses can provide educational institutions are simply unparalleled.

The Other Side of the Coin

Much has been written about how educators, universities, and parents are using big data to create the best experience for students. However, it’s important that big data also be in play for choosing the teachers in charge of a student’s education.

Over in the US, they are using big data to find the absolute best teachers. The predictive analytics software that is being used by various schools is enabling educators to compare huge amounts of historical data with individual personality attributes to narrow in on the best candidates.

It’s impossible to simply quantify what makes a teacher great just by using big data. But, educators are finding success gathering a much more impressive starting pool thanks to the advanced analytics of this screening program.

As education and technology continue to converge, it’s exciting to see the ways in which something like big data is able to increase the graduation rates of their students – thus contributing to a potential greater quality of living.

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