8 ways to make educational institutions more efficient with analytics
Building an efficient educational institution infrastructure is a worthy goal, but until recently, it has been an elusive one. However, education institutions that use analytics can not only measure performance, but shape students' education experiences. This involves using predictive analytics to ensure maximum efficiency in the classroom, and if executed properly, the rewards are huge. In addition to schools realizing cost savings, the next generation of students can benefit from more personalized and effective education.
The following are eight ways that analytics can help build an efficient educational institution infrastructure.
- By fueling smart textbooks that adjust to a learner's speed. Tests and other assessments were once the only way to determine whether students actually read assigned material. By the time teachers had the results, it was often too late for struggling students to catch up. However, the new breed of electronic textbooks take a different approach to measuring a student's mastery of material. Such devices can talk to students, coaching them on the most effective way to read the material based on their reading speed and answers to periodic questions.
- By personalizing the learning experience. Typically, a learning experience is tailored to a classroom: If a class has 20 children, the teacher usually finds a balance that addresses the fastest and slowest learners. However, by using electronic textbooks and applications that measure performance, teachers can personalize learning experiences and create custom study paths for each student.
- By finding pain points. Though largely untapped, social media can be used to unearth national or local trends related to curricula. In particular, pain points related to subjects or educational initiatives can be discerned through sentiment analysis and used to inform programs going forward.
- By increasing classroom engagement. When a teacher asks a question in class, only one person can answer at a time. However, an increasing number of educators are adopting interactive response systems that let every student in a class respond simultaneously. In fact, the Market Research Store reported that the market for this technology is slated to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 27.4 percent through 2019. As adoption increases, the data collected can illustrate which students are engaged and which topics classes are struggling with.
- By measuring engagement. Online learning programs and electronic textbooks can measure a student's engagement by noting how fast they read, the speed of their answers to practice questions or even the pause between keystrokes. According to research from Iowa State University, long pauses may mean a student is distracted, bored or has not yet mastered the concept. This type of data can be used to predict student outcomes with increasing accuracy.
- By keeping parents informed. In addition to evaluations that teachers periodically send home, many parents may want access to raw data about their children's performance: how engaged they are, which concepts they're having trouble with and their overall performance. This information can help parents be more strategic about using their resources to help their children succeed.
- By identifying dropout risks. Data gathered over the years has shown that attendance history, class performance and socioeconomic status are the strongest indicators that a child may drop out, according to The Washington Post. If schools can use this kind of data to intervene before students start struggling, they could help mitigate the overall dropout rate.
- By cracking down on cheating. Apps like Turn It In cross-reference written material with similar online sources to determine whether it has been plagiarized. Data, such as the amount of time a student takes to answer a question, can also illustrate patterns that might indicate cheating.
As these applications illustrate, data has the power to completely transform an educational system. As computing becomes even more powerful and prevalent, education will likely evolve to be more efficient, which will benefit not only students, but society as well.