I have always connected the word analytics to statistics. In every field the analizing of the data is more than important. Without having a certain information about something we can never make desicisions nor find solutions to the urgent problems that arise in every society.
As in every field in education as well the collection and measurement of data is crucial. What`s the purpose of data analyizing and what it gives us. Well it provides us with opportunities to make more valid and sound desicions rather than simply rely on “gut instincts”. Learning analyticis and particularly Big Data is the key, the basis,where we can find answers as to how to shape the future of education. If it were not for continous evaluation of data and of analytics we would still stuck in th era of Grammar Translation. Big data is an abundance of data and datasets that are tremendously big and not any typical databaze software tools cannot capture,store,manage and analyze them. Well the definition of Big Data maybe confusing, but I hope few examples will help you undertsand it`s role and value better.
Let`s try. Consider you are an instructor. You assign a certain task to your students. However you are not certain if they remember about it,or if they have any difficulties understanding the assignment. And you are waiting for the next class to find asnwers to this questions. This kind of things always happen when you are teaching at a usual traditional school. But now take a minute, consider that you are intergating new techs in your teaching. And you are assigning task via MOODLE or other learning platforms.You have discussions boards, and a place for asking questions. And above all these you have the opportunity to follow what`s happening out there. You can see how many times one signed in to check the homework or assignment,how active he/ she was in the same discussion boards.So you are analyzing all this data and based on that developing a plan for near future. Isn`t it simple ?
Now think a little bit broader,in institutioanl, regional or state level and you will understand that alanytics is not about spy games. It`s done for more serious reasons; it`s done for improvement, for making the learning more interesting and enjoyable.
I know she is not the most pleasant speaker but her speech is definitely useful and helpful if you want to have a clear understaning of what the learning analytics is about(TedTalks)