Big data will help you personalize learning

Use big data to adapt and personalize learning paths for your learners

We just read a great article by Blake Beus over at EContent that discussed how professional organizations and companies can utilize big data to help personalize learning for their employees. 

What Blake posits for companies and corporations holds true for K-12 education. Big data, (big education data) can be harnassed to personalize learning for all learners, both students and teachers alike.

How so?

The article spotlights two kinds of big data - data collected "within eLearning" (i.e. formal learning experiences) and data collected "outside of eLearning" (i.e. informal learning experiences). 

Learning data collected "within eLearning" means a school or distric are collecting formal learning experiences. These are experiences within a physical classroom or other learning environment. These are also experiences and activities that take place within an LMS.

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Data about formal learning experiences is immensely helpful. It allows administrators and other stakeholders to see what courses and content are effective and what could be tweaked. It also allows for the tracking of learner engagement with their peers and teachers, among other things. 

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But, as we've stated before, represents only a fraction of the data that could be captured. The rest of that data needs to be captured to really begin to personalize learning experiences.

Informal learning experiences (or as Beus says, "outside of eLearning") represents mountains of structured and unstructured data that comes from inside and outside of your school. Activities that generate this kind of data include:

  • Social media
  • Sites like YouTube, Khan Academy and Lynda.com
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Discussion groups and more...

Collecting data on these kinds of activitites will allow district administrators to deliver much more effective and, yes, personalized content to their learners. 

If a district collects data on their learners informal learning activities they will then begin to gain a better understanding of learners habits and learning patterns. 

The district will be able to develop a unique learner profile for each of their learners. Those learner profiles will contain information like

  • Where their learners go to get more information
  • What their preferred learning style is
  • When and how they like to learn, and so on 

Armed with that data teachers and administrators can begin to curate a customized learning experience for each learner that is delivered in the right format, on the correct platform and at the exact moment it is needed. 

This is a major paradigm shift in K-12 education, but like any big change there must be a starting point. It's adventageous for a school or district establish goals, find out what they know and don't know and go from there. 

If you are interested in finding out a bit more about how to get started...

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WRITTEN BY

Matt Phillip Senior Marketing Manager at Thrivist, LLC