Outside of MOOCs there have been many other successful startups in the field of learning analytics. Each company differs in its own unique way, and how they entered this market, but each have arrived at providing similar products. Ranging from Rupert Murdoch’s company Amplify, to former Kaplan Executive Jose Ferreira’s Knewton there are so many options to choose from. Many of these companies follow a model that takes some if not all of the five types of educational data and runs it through complex machine algorithms to provide graphs, and meaningful recommendations for it’s students.
Each has some sort of teacher dashboard that allows highlight the students that need more one on one with the teacher, while guiding the remainder of the class through suggested learning paths on a more self directed approach.
Using identity, user interaction, inferred content, system-wide and inferred student data are integral components to learning analytics systems and is essential to each of these systems. However, it is also this data and where it is housed which is the biggest concern facing these companies. Every educational institution has policies surrounding it’s student data and where it can be housed. These restrictions are the biggest hurdle to overcome, and unless they offer a system that works with existing databases, even the best pitchman couldn’t make the sale.
In addition to this, the other glaringly obvious issue is the current organization, structure and capacity of an institution to role something out this significant. Teachers and professors are constantly getting more and more put on their plate with growing demands to improve the current state of education. Asking teachers to become analysts on top of their current role is a daunting task, and designing a successful implementation plan is no easy task.
Considering these issues, I encourage you to evaluate the following companies. Below is a list of several success stories in the field of learning analytics. I have provided video overviews, their websites, as well as the crunch base reviews of each company. Pay attention to the funding numbers provided on the left panel of the crunch base site and look at the press releases and milestones that each company has made along it’s path to success.
Based upon your expertise which company do you feel works best for you and your current district/system? Specifically describe what distinguishes it from its competitors and explain why you see it as a valuable product. You can post your comments below or join the conversation on twitter by using the hashtag #learninganalytics.
For additional reading take a look at Audrey Waters post on Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: Educational Data and Learning Analytics to provide more context about this market.