Search Our Site

We have 2,943,176 registered online learners.
121 new learners so far today.

The role of big data in learning

schedule 3 years, 6 months, 1 week, 3 days ago by Virtual College in Virtual College

The ability to analyse ever larger volumes of data - and receive a more accurate picture of small details as a result - has been heralded over the last few years as having a transformative effect on enterprise as we know it. And now, it seems, 'big data' is promising to revolutionise education as well.

The idea behind big data is a relatively straightforward one. Basically, cloud-enabled infrastructure, improved processing power and ubiquitous internet access are conspiring to enable those with the knowhow to make computations on previously once unimaginable amounts of metadata.

Previously, we might have based our insights on a small sample of users or even a survey of respondents. However, both of these methods are potentially flawed and such simplified models can unintentionally paint a drastically different picture to the reality they are attempting to mimic.

Big data, on the other hand, says that if you have a million users or ten million, you can include every single one in your dataset so that the conclusions you come to are as reflective as possible of what users are actually doing.

In the field of education, technology expert Diana Laurillard - author of 'Teaching as a design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology' - suggests that big data can be used to analyse how online educational resources are actually used by individuals; providing teachers, lecturers and trainers with valuable insights into how they can improve their courses.

However, as with any such insight, she explains that the data is only as useful as the questions being asked, particularly as the data is primarily being collected as a by-product of "interactions with the system", rather than in response to a direct line of questioning. 

With this in mind, educators need to be mindful about what they can learn from the data, but examples of the sorts of insights that are available include when and from where individuals are accessing online resources, which activities they spend the most time completing, which they tend to ignore, and the like.

Virtual College logo

Author: Virtual College

The latest training news brought to you by Virtual College.

CPD
Investors
ISO 9001:2015
Microsoft
Crown Commercial Service Supplier

Contact

+44 (0)1943 605 976

info@virtual-college.co.uk

Marsel House

Ilkley, West Yorkshire

LS29 8DD

Awards for footer
Gold and silver award winners at the Learning Technologies Awards 2017 - including gold for excellence in the design of learning content.
Live Chat

Click to chat

Login

We launched a new website in February 2017. If you want to go back to a course, or start a course, bought before this date then you may need to login to our original learning management system. Otherwise, please proceed to our new learning management system to return to your training.

LMS

You are already logged in. Click the button below to be taken to your LMS dashboard. Alternatively, click logout to leave the system.