Data Changes Everything: Delivering on the Promise of Learning Analytics in Higher Education

Jul 25, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Good overview article about the arrival of learning analytics, concluding with a section on "what we know" about analytics, including:

  • Analytics are here today, and they are here to stay - Analytics are already being used in a variety of ways in the higher education enterprise.

  • Common data definitions will be required if we intend to compare "apples to apples" in assessing points of student loss and momentum.

  • There's no such thing as "sort of" transparent. Once one can see the results of the analyses being run against any number of institutional data sources, including student achievement data, it will be increasingly difficult to ignore what the numbers are saying.

I will mention in passing that people should stop with the Moneyball comparisons. What happened in baseball was a focus in attention away from power hitting and toward getting on base, rather than a suddent discovery of data and statistics.

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