Big Data Analytics: Emerging Technology in Education and Training

While providing online courses helps in reaching out to students in various locations, it also becomes challenging in analyzing their interpretation and conclusions about the course provided. However, with the advent of Big Data Analytics in education and training, it is now possible to put together their ‘digital breadcrumbs’ and collect data from social media portals, learning management systems, and other media that are instrumental in measuring how students analyse the given course material. Big Data technique helps in deriving useful conclusions about students, although it brings with itself many other risks that cannot be ignored.



Image Courtesy: Trend Lines Blog

Before we address what are the impending risks and dilemmas, first we will take a look at how big data is helping e-learning industry.

The three Vs of Big Data: Learning aspects of Big Data

  • Volume: Big Data can generate huge amount of data of thousands of students taking one course at one point of time. Similarly, Big data is competent in pulling in data of a single student from multiple data points.
  • Velocity: Big data has the capability of giving rapid access to data to organizations in real time. If a student enters a wrong answer in an exam, velocity immediately can prompt him or her with remedial options. These remedial options come from a thorough assessment of student’s pattern of learning as well as successful strategies that have been formulated and implemented by other students.
  • Variety: Big data joins a wide range of information of each student from different background. This makes it easy to establish a connection between the student’s performance and his cultural background.

Big data in E-Learning

Although delegates in the 2013 World Innovation Summit in Qatar for Education (WISE) professed that the present way of education is not adequate in preparing the young talent for tomorrow, one thing that they all were positive about was big data. Here are few ways in which big data can contribute to online education.

  • Feedback: If a learner is failing and is unable to figure out why, then it becomes difficult for the learner to complete the course successfully. However, big data can fill up this gap by showing not just his/her demographics but also other learners who have been through the same phase. This can help the learner in two ways- either he/she understands where the problem is or he/he uses the same to try and succeed again.
  • Efficiency: Time is priceless, and wasting time is something that happens in a fool’s paradise. Big data can save hours of effort in evaluating your next career move. If you are looking for a job in a particular field after having worked in some other sector, then big data can come handy. Big data will show you data of all such people who made a similar shift. Also, it will hand pick out courses that might be valuable for such a change.
  • Collaboration: People working in different departments at times need to get together to evaluate, collaborate and cooperate for better functioning of Learning Management System. This is propelled more by big data.
  • Tracking: Tracking a student’s learning graph in an e-learning course is mandatory in order to improve the learning system. With the traces that are left behind of each learner, it becomes easy to trace down their entire learning experience throughout the course module. Big data analytics also helps in keeping a track of which site is being revisited, and how many time. It also captures data pertaining to the sections that students have referred to their peers.

Risks with Big data

Although big data has been contributing to the e-learning industry, it has brought in few unavoidable risks as well.

  • Privacy: Privacy has always been questioned on the web. For instance, Google’s various services like gmail, document storage, browsing, maps, etc queue in a lot of personal data in their systems. There is a lot of information that goes public every nano second doubling the risks of inaccuracies.
  • Information beyond data: When we try to search which university ranks, the result we get might be something that says less about ‘teaching’ because they are derived from proxies and various other research activities.

E-Learning+Big Data Analytics

Big data anayltics is all set to change the face of online education. It has opened up ways for improving the way these courses are designed and developed, fllowed by delivering techniques. Big data is sure to take us beyond our imagination when we talk about its contributions in e-learning. The traditional approach to education online will surely undergo a huge revolution, thanks to big data analytics.

Hence we can put it this way- learning big data and its related tools like Mapreduce, Hadoop and R can be rewarding.
You can sign up for our online courses on big data and its related tools here.

Blog Reference: Innovation Excellence Blog

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