Big data is providing numerous benefits to students and educational institutions.
It offers unprecedented opportunities for educators to reach out and instruct students in new ways. It also provides a deeper understanding of students’ educational experience, reducing dropouts and helping schools adjust their funding and recruitment strategies. In this article, we have summarized some of the key ways in which big data can impact the education system of any country.
The overall idea of leveraging big data within the educational system is to improve the student results. Currently, the only measurement of the performance of students is the answers to assignments and exams. However, during his or her life, each student generates a unique data trail. Analyzing this data trail in real-time will help gain a better understanding of the individual behavior of students, and in creating an optimal learning environment for the students.
With big data in the education sector, it is possible to monitor student actions, such as how long they take to answer a question, which sources they use for exam preparation, which questions they skip, etc. These and similar to these questions can be answered automatically and instantly, giving each student instant feedback.
With the help of big data, customized programs for each individual student can be created. Even if colleges and universities have lakhs of students, customized programs can be created for each of these students. This is possible with the help of what is called ‘blended learning’ – a combination of online and offline learning. This gives students the opportunity to follow classes that they are interested in and also work at their own pace, while still having the possibility for offline guidance by professors. We already see this happening in the case of MOOCs that are developed and delivered around the world now. For example, when the Machine Learning class at Stanford University was taught by Andrew Ng, only 400 students participated. However, when the same course was delivered as a MOOC, it attracted 100,000 students.
As big data in the education sector would help improve student results, dropout rates at schools and colleges would also reduce. Educational institutions can use predictive analytics on all the data that is collected to give them insights on future student outcomes. Such predictions can also help run scenario analysis on a course program before it is introduced into the curriculum; minimizing the need for trial-and-error. In fact, big data can also be used to monitor how students are performing in the job market after graduating from college. This would also help the future students in choosing the right college and course.
With big data in the education sector, institutions can more accurately predict applicants and also analyze the possible factors that affect the application process. Such knowledge will allow institutions to adjust their recruitment strategies and allocate funds accordingly. Such an influx of data will also help students analyze information about schools around the world, speeding up the search and application process for international students too.
Big data has the potential to revolutionize the learning industry in the coming years. Smarter students will have a positive impact on organizations and society. Therefore, it's time we embrace big data in the education sector.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.