Why Educational Institutions Should Adopt Analytics?
Effectiveness is defined as the attainment of objectives, however, effectiveness cannot be determined if it is not validated using data and evidence. At first glance, it might seem that it is easier to manage a school or university and that their needs are simple and clear, but on closer look, it can be seen that educational environment needs analysis and evaluation at all levels including students, parents, teachers, administrators, alumni, regulatory bodies, etc. each of whom have their own specific requirements. It has become essential for educational institutions to have data monitoring and report generating functionalities to know with accuracy the quality of education being offered. Universities need to indicate the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure results and performance of students, so as to alert them when a preset threshold was not reached or was exceeded, as appropriate. While many institutions have embarked upon using technology in their teaching-learning process, seldom have these institutions been able to take full advantage of these teaching aids/tools. Analytics is one of the most talked-about technological innovations being used by businesses today. Many businesses are using data analysis to their advantage and are customizing their services based on the results obtained. The analytics tools can be used in educational institutions too and have the potential to help students, teachers and institutions make better choices that lead to improved learning outcomes.
Analytics was not possible in traditional education – they are, however, something a learning management system (LMS) can easily provide. Listening in a classroom to a face-to-face lecture or reading a book leaves limited trails. A conversation in a hallway vaporizes as soon as the people involved move away. However, every click, every Facebook status update, every Tweet, every page read online and every social interaction, leaves a digital footprint. Additionally, online learning, sensors, digital student records, and mobile devices capture activity streams and rich data trails. These learner-produced data trails provide valuable insight into what is actually happening in the learning process and suggest ways in which educators can make improvements.
Analytics span full scope and range of activity in higher education, affecting teaching and learning, research, administration, and support. Thus, using data, analytics and thus evidence, educational institutions can transition towards becoming a more intelligent organization aiming towards providing quality education. The advantages that an analytics tool can provide to an educational institution are
1. Improved organizational resource allocation and administrative decision-making.
2. Identification of at-risk learners and providing intervention to assist learners in achieving success.
3. Increasing organizational productivity and effectiveness by providing up-to-date information and allowing rapid response to challenges.
4. Helping institutional leaders determine the hard (e.g., patents, research) and soft (e.g., reputation, profile, quality of teaching) value generated by faculty activity.
5. Providing learners with an insight into their own learning habits and giving recommendations for improvement.