Tech Education

Data-driven development

Big data is revolutionising the education sector by enabling personalised assessment and real-time feedback

Big data in layman terms is defined as a large volume of data which is beyond the capacity of regular computer machines to store and perform computations. The idea and concept of large volume of data is age-old, however the word big data has gathered a lot of momentum in recent years. Advancements in technology have also enhanced data collection abilities. As a result of this it is being extensively used in sectors varying from banking and health care to manufacturing.

One such sector where the true potential of big data is still evolving is the education sector. Here’s a look at a few applications of big data in this sector:

Personalised programmes

Using big data, it is now possible to provide a highly customised learning experience as per the capabilities of the students. The data helps in analysing where exactly the student is lacking and what sort of help they would be needing, thereby allowing educators to identify the learner’s behaviour pattern. This customisation of programmes helps in reducing drop-outs, thereby improving the student result. Institutes can use this data prediction on students to get an insight on future student outcomes. Subsequently, educators will be well aware of what to incorporate in the curriculum instead of going for a trial-and-error format. Moreover, students will also have the choice to seek a course they are really interested in.

Better assessments

The conventional art of taking assessments (paper-pen) has been regarded as having the greatest impact on measuring the understanding of a student about the course. However, there are a variety of other indicators that are not captured in this method. Indicators like time taken to answer, the sources referred to while preparing, what kind of questions were skipped, etc. can now be recorded and analysed to generate a much better assessment as per the need.

Big data and analytics thus allow teachers to measure, monitor, and respond in real time to a student’s understanding of the material.

Effective feedback

Having knowledge about the previously hidden data is helping educators to provide better feedback to students. In fact, it is also helping them to frame their course structure as per the weak links found. Big data analysis helps screen students' progress — classroom performance, favourite subjects, interests, the time they take to finish an exam, and numerous other factors affecting a student’s educational performance. A report can be developed that will demonstrate the interest as well as concern areas of a student. Thus, the feedback which was earlier mostly based on a student’s performance in the exams, can now cover all aspects pertaining to a student’s development.

The reason why we are able to generate/capture big data is because of the fact that everything is going digital. There are already recognised players in the education sector like Coursera, Udemy, and Byju’s who are carrying out analytics on the data captured in order to provide the above-mentioned benefits.

The writer is Director, Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Pune.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 2:05:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/data-driven-development/article25271878.ece

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