Big Data in E-Learning: Looking To the Future

Big Data in E-Learning: Looking To the Future

As more and more institutions—educational, business, governments etc.—continue to integrate e-learning processes into both the classroom and corporate work space, the amount of data coming out from these institutes are multiplying considerably.

These data which comes from the records—personal information, test scores, training materials, video lectures, free courses etc.—of millions of students and employees create the term ‘Big data’ in education. And for a thorough understanding of Big Data and its possible effects on the future of education, one must first know the meaning of this revolutionary term.

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So what is Big Data?

The technical meaning of the term Big Data, are data sets so large and complex that analyzing them becomes difficult and requires the services of specialized tools to make any sense of them. In e-learning, data is gathered from many platforms such as learning management systems, social media accounts, Authoring tools and other applications used to make online education possible. While these data sets may not run into billions for the average institution or learning platform, the data collected by these mediums are still cumbersome and difficult to manage hence the phrase “Big data in E-learning.”

So what are The Benefits Big Data Offers E-learning Educators?

The benefits of an educator’s ability to work with analyzed data sets coming from his or her tutorial platforms and tools are quite numerous and are also set for an increase as the study and application of Big Data advances. But outlined are some present benefits to motivate you to consider the importance of data analysis in your virtual classrooms:

  • Understand how Learners Assimilate: the understanding levels of individuals coupled with how individuals learn varies for no two humans are completely alike. Therefore, gathering data on the number of students—taking your course—who make use of video or textual tutorials to study will help you recognize each students preferred mode of learning. The educator can now use these information to create better course materials targeting specific student’s learning processes.
  • Analyzing Instant Data: in e-learning, test results, participation records and number of students taking a course falls under the category of instantaneous data. So effectively analyzing these data can help the educator draw a map measuring each student’s participation levels against their assessment scores. This information can then be used to fine tune the educators schedule, teaching process and approach to getting his or her student to participate in course work.
  • Predictive Analysis: educators who take personal development seriously can analyze data results such as the educational fields seeking more professionals, courses they can take to improve CVs etc. in other to participate in such development programs which in turn increases both the educator’s professional output and income.

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And how would Big Data Impact Learners?

The information Big Data can provide cuts across both sides—learner, educator—of the educational process which means that students and participants in e-learning courses also have a lot to gain from adequately presented data. The benefits Big Data brings to the learner are:

  • Better Presented Courses: educators who understand how their students learn will definitely produce better teaching materials to meet their learning patterns. The student, if presented with info graphs showing how he or she assimilates, could be tempted to study more and take advantage of it.
  • Choosing Career Paths: High school students and employees looking to advance their careers can take advantage of the information Big Data provides when looking for a career path to undertake or searching for courses that can increase their professional advancement. This information gives these learners the needed advice to make educated choices.

As e-learning continues to embrace Big Data, the advancement will definitely be seen across all mediums of online education thereby creating a win/win situation for both students seeking knowledge and the educators dispensing it.

Infographic on Data Mining

Big Data infographic

 

Infographic is credited to collegestats.org

Gamification 101: Introducing Gamification in Education

A student’s ability to be successful educationally, largely depends on how that particular student retains the information he or she receives from an educator. In return, the student’s ability to retain information largely depends on the mode of learning that suits the individual.

What is Gamification in Education?

To understand the meaning of the term Gamification, one must have a thorough understanding of both its technical and non-technical description. Gamification—in the technical sense—is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems. Which simply means that Gamification is a teaching technique that employs the use of both physical and online gaming to capture a student’s imagination in order to get him/her to make logical decisions.

This teaching technique, which is quite popular in kindergarten schools but rarely used in adult educational institutions, can be applied in both virtual and physical classrooms in diverse ways. Online educators can introduce classical games such as; crossing the river—which involves getting some characters across a river despite certain limitations—to teach students the basis of logical reasoning. While classroom educators can introduce the board game, Monopoly, to teach the benefits of opportunity cost.

MUST READ: Big DATA in e-Learning and Guide to Learn

What students Stand to Gain

The benefits of introducing Gamification procedures in teaching are quite numerous but here are some of our personal favorites:

  • Building Inter-personal skills —getting a group of students to perform a task where cooperation is required for success has proven to be highly effective in dragging taciturn individuals out of their shells. These inter-personal communications provides opportunity for students to socialize in a controlled setting thereby eliminating certain poor attributes—such as bullying—prevalent in teenage social gatherings.
  • Inspiring Competition —for those who learn best by competing, Gamification is a sure way to pique their interest. Organizing educational contest between such personalities instantly gets the participants to bring their ‘A game’ to the table. The availability of a prize for the winner definitely adds some spice to these kind of games.
  • Demystifying Work —the terms ‘work, exercise or test has the ability to send tremors down the spine of under-achieving students and Gamification drastically reduces this innate fear by turning the workman-like responsibility of taking tests into a more interesting and less daunting task. Thereby working on the fears of affected students who might build their confidence levels by performing outstandingly in a gaming task.

So Are You Ready for The Revolution?

A research survey conducted by Forbes showed that 70% of the institutions interviewed planned to incorporate Gamification into their teaching or tutoring process. While the institutes already using this approach, boasted of increased student/employee retention capacity as well as increased profit margins, which puts the ball in your court.

Gamification Infographic

Gamification in Education

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

How Google is Revolutionizing the E-learning Community

Google’s recent focus on the field of education and e-learning has left educators looking forward to its maneuvers with something akin to awe. But what are the innovations Google has brought to the hallowed field of education in general and e-learning in particular?

Revolutionizing the E-learning

In order to give you a thorough incite to Google’s reach in the field on online education, let us place our focus on the three major strata of education namely; primary. Secondary and tertiary education. For primary education or students in the k-6 bracket, the Google Play Store for Education launched sometime in 2013 makes a statement on how Google plans to make use of apps and its vibrant tech ecosystem to change how we learn right from the grass root.

The play store provides the infrastructure Educators and developers need to create educational apps that can be used directly in the class room or through virtual learning platforms—LMS—to educate children who fall under this bracket. A majority of the apps on Google Play Store for Education integrate the principles of higher learning—which includes the ability to learn by doing—and Gamification—the ability to learn by gaming—into their user interfaces and features. These educational tools sit at the cutting edge of technology and are sure to drive how kids learn in the nearest future.

The introduction of wearables—Google glass in particular—to the general public has been received with both admiration as well as it fair share of vilification which gives it the tag of been a disruptive technology. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, Google has pitched the technical uses of the Google glass to the educational community who have grabbed the opportunity with open arms. Now, students at the higher end of the k-12 bracket make use of this wearable computer to capture real-life moments when going on field trips and during practical/laboratory work. And coupling the viewing, storage and recording features of the glass with Google extensive search features makes this wearable a powerful educative tool of the future.

Not to be outdone by its tech rivals, Google hangouts, Google circle and Google+ were launched as communicative/collaborative tools built with extensive features to support both domestic and commercial forms of communication. These communication tools have since been accepted into the e-learning community as staple tools for educators looking to organize online workshops and virtual classes and record as video lectures/tutorials for their students. The best part of this collaborative effort is that participants in a circle can easily create their own hangouts, and share information securely through the use of Gmail or work as a group using Google drive and its documenting features as the perfect conduit.

For educators who have not yet jumped into the Google bandwagon, now is the perfect time to explore the possibilities and features Google offers and if they are a perfect fit, your teaching methods will be greatly enhanced but if not, we advise that you study the educational features other tech houses provide in order to stay at the cutting edge of educational technology.