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Big Data on a Big Scale: EMEA Conference Recap

  • 2 Min Read

This past year, Desire2Learn introduced the Integrated Learning Platform (ILP)—a singular digital solution designed to connect entire learning communities with a global ecosystem of tools, resources, and peers. This means creating learning experiences that are built on meaningful connections and collaboration. To build a successful global educational community, we believe it’s important to spend as much time as possible working with learners, institutions, and industry experts around the world to share some of the innovative ideas that are shaping the next generation of learning technology.

During the first two weeks of December, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe and participate in multiple events highlighting these collaborations. In Berlin, I participated in the Online Educa Berlin conference. After that, I traveled to London for the InFocus conference hosted by the Center for Distance Education (CDE) at the University of London. Together, these events were a great representation of how education technology is thriving in the EMEA market. When you have a chance, feel free to view the presentations I delivered in Berlin and London, respectively.

The programs for both conferences were focused on learning analytics. One of the resounding themes, and the specific topic of my own presentations, was how Big Data is being used in in Education. In this era of increasing data availability and data analysis tools, our ability to analyze trends in learning behavior data is extremely powerful. I firmly believe that this trend will only increase over the next decade and that learning analytics will be an increasingly important requirement in the education space.

So much information is available about learner behavior and learning patterns. We’ve already started to see how using that data to make predictive decisions can improve the learning experience for students. This learning data can also be interpreted and applied to improve student retention, student performance, and course selection.

Much research is being done by a wide variety of people to explore the correlation between learning behavior and student success. There is also a lot of very interesting work being done in the area of co-curricular learning and social learning. The ILP was designed to reflect that idea of pervasiveness—learning takes place in every aspect of our lives. Being able to assess that impact and incorporate those aspects of learning into the predictions of student success helps to make a more informed profile of every student.

Listen to a podcast interview I participated in at the CDE conference to learn more. At both of the events on my trip, the recognized need for data security and data management policies was very apparent.

The whole field of learning analytics is relatively young and continually evolving, and many questions will undoubtedly continue to influence the direction of the industry in the years to come. We look forward to all the future opportunities our organization will have to collaborate directly with the client community as we address these issues.

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