The Power of Data and Analytics in Higher Education

James Medeiros
James Medeiros
A picture of two people looking at an analytics screen

The utilization of data and analytics offers a personalized online learning environment that increases engagement and helps identify learning gaps.  

Overview of Data and Analytics

Data and analytics refers to the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of information to inform decision-making, enhance institutional effectiveness, and improve the overall learning experience. In higher education, data and analytics can be used to improve the overall educational experience for students from processes used to teach to best practices and outcomes. 

Analytics provide a wealth of information helpful for making decisions.

Every aspect of learning can be broken down into categories such as attendance, average grades, feedback, test scores, activity online, and more, which all provide quantitative and qualitative data. This information can be especially useful when trying to answer questions, make a decision or solve a problem.

Using Data and Analytics to Improve Education

Analytics provide a wealth of information helpful for making decisions. Two powerful areas data and analytics can inform are student success and overall course outcomes. Doing a deep dive, universities and professors can use data to evaluate the overall academic performance of students to help make improvements to a particular course, or revamping a course all together to meet the needs and demands of students. Analytics can:

Identify gaps in learning: Administrators and instructors can determine which portions of a class’s curriculum students are universally struggling with. This can lead to the improvement of material within courses. 

Provide personalized learning: Through data analytics, professors can more easily identify “at-risk” students and reach out to provide additional support before the student drops out or fails. With personalized learning pathways, instructors can tailor materials to individual students based on their learning styles and preferences. An instructor in a video call with a student

Improve engagement: In addition to improving best practices, data analytics give professors the opportunity to improve overall student engagement, which creates a more meaningful learning experience. In addition to assisting with creating the most effective course design, using data and analytics can help educators create an online learning environment that fosters communication and collaboration between students and with their professors. 

Measure institutional performance: Data and analytics play a crucial role in measuring and improving institutional performance. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as graduation rates, student satisfaction, and alumni success, institutions can identify areas that need attention and implement targeted strategies for improvement.

At the end of the day, higher-ed instructors have the same goal — to provide the best overall learning experience for students. Historically, this required educators to see between the lines to make changes when needed. In today’s ever-changing learning environment, data and analytics gleaned from that data are powerful tools in helping educators make decisions on how to provide the best learning environment, quickly and efficiently. This ultimately gives them more time to do what matters: educate.

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