Week 7 – Big Data & Learning Analytics

Where I am is where I am. Nowadays, being present is our great gift to people surround us. Am I having dinner, lunch, class, or a family moment without mobile, laptops, or other screen forms? Am I donating my time and attention to others or the practice such as studying, preparing lectures, and assignments? Am I committed? Or am I wasting my time on the web with futile data and generating profit for expertise-selling companies? But, What is Big data?

Big data refers to data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Data with many fields offer greater statistical power and higher complexity. Big data analysis challenges include capturing, storage, analyses, search, sharing, transfer, visualization, querying, updating, information privacy, and data source. Big data was initially associated with three key concepts: volumevariety, and velocity. Moreover, Big Data should bring people closer together instead of being a dividing factor between people.

Big Data in Education

Like enterprises and companies handle a lot of data related to their employees, businesses, partner companies, and clients, educational institutions also need to manage student data. As thousands of students enroll at various institutes every year in multiple courses, an enormous amount of data is generated. Student data includes course details, enrollment year, student ID, exam scores, and grades earned in individual subjects. Analyzing this data can be highly beneficial in developing their careers. Educators need to understand the applications of Big Data in Education.

Build up Student Results

The most accepted methods of analyzing students’ performance are their grades obtained in exams, activities, and assignments. But all these grades can be accumulated to observe a unique data trail left by the student throughout their lives. Analyzing these data trails will help educators understand students’ behavior and performance. With Big Data, it is possible to monitor their actions, such as: 

  • Response time for exam questions
  • Sources they choose to educate themselves 
  • Questions they skip
  • Questions they have answered successfully 

The real-time analysis will help give students much more enhanced performance feedback. The feedback can significantly improve results because students can understand the areas where they have aced and lag. Test results aren’t the only indicators of students’ success. The combination of big data and Education helps teachers evaluate the time students require to answer a question. Also, they can discern what kinds of questions trouble the students. Big data helps to compare the preparation process among students. Teachers can recognize the source types the successful students utilize. Accordingly, they can advise identical preparation approaches to the whole class. Students’ only performance measurement indices are the answers to their exams and assignments. But, in their lifetime, each student creates an exceptional data trail. Big data helps analyze this data trail in real time. Consequently, it will provide an improved understanding of the student’s behaviors and helps set up an optimal learning environment.

A more Equity Grading System

Big Data helps educators to track the performance of students. The analysis helps analyze the individual and collective results. Statistical analysis of individual grades will allow educators to understand students’ areas of interest better. The grading system can be enhanced to highlight the key areas where the student has excelled, enabling a system that treats unequal differently with more precise interventions. This system will also allow teachers to give valuable feedback to students and assist them in choosing the right career path. For example, Ashford School in the U.K. has implemented big data tools, such as Socrative, Nearpod, and Classroom Monitor, for analyzing their students. These applications help them observe students’ performance and behavior immediately. The institute has enhanced its students’ performances and provided better learning solutions. Check out the big data course at the upgrade.

Considerable data education helps institutions track student performance over several domains at individual and collective levels. Subsequently, it lets them improve corresponding solutions to facilitate students’ career growth. Statistical assessment of students’ grades in different subjects can provide them with better orientation and more effective academic plans. Depending on their performance in specific topics and their interest, teachers can direct them to a suitable career path. Moreover, big data in Education helps them to discern factors affecting an individual student’s pathways and derive effective solutions using analytics.

Gaining Attention

One of the most exciting and valuable Big Data applications in Education is the process of gaining a student’s attention. No matter how attractive the lecture is, there will always be some inattentive students who are busy looking at their phones or others. But a class can only be practical if everyone pays attention. Big Data experts have planned to use students’ biometric data, such as heart rate, facial expressions, and objects they touch during the lecture. This information can be captured via a camera on the ceiling or a device resembling a smartwatch. After sending the data back to the teacher, they can take the necessary steps to regain the students’ attention.

Reducing Dropouts

Big Data applications in Education also include curbing the number of students who drop out of schools and colleges. Big Data can be used for predictive analysis to understand how students might perform shortly. This analysis will examine students’ performance throughout the year and predict if they might drop out. Such an analysis will also help the institute authorities to execute a scenario analysis on a particular course before it is introduced. It will vastly help teachers to guide their students toward the method that will suit them the best. With improvement in student results, the dropout rates will also decrease. The prevalence of big data in Education helps educational institutions to use predictive analytics on all the collected data.

Consequently, it gives them enough insights into future student performance. These predictions can also allow scenario analysis on a specific course before it is presented in the curriculum; thus, it minimizes the trial-and-error occurrences. Big data also helps to supervise how students perform in the job market after their studies. It will assist future students in selecting the adjusted course and college. Big data allows tutors to reduce the number of dropouts, promptly determining the following:

  • How many students provided late project submissions?
  • How’s the class attendance, and how is it comparable to other courses?
  • What’s the dropout rate for a particular system?
  • What’s a course’s drop rate compared to previous years?

All such information helps tutors and educational institutions to discern the exact reasons for dropouts. Accordingly, they can provide better assistance with academic writing or any other challenging facets of learning. Furthermore, big data helps them update the course programs to make them more captivating.

What are the limitations of Big Data in Education?

Big data has some gruesome challenges in the education sector, which is also time-consuming. Lack of support from teachers and mentors leads to more considerable hurdles. As it is clear, Big Data analytics has a lot of opportunities, and for institutions to adapt and thrive through challenges could be difficult to keep up. The next challenge of Big Data applications in Education is to ensure flexible data flow. In many institutions, the lack of Internet connectivity and poor network obstruct the process of data systems. Poor quality could lead to incorrect data followed by counterproductive outcomes, and misusing them for Education could be an irreversible disadvantage for students.

What is the future of Big Data in the education sector?

The education sector will witness a massive transformation in the coming years. Plus, with the innovation that Big Data will project in the future, students can choose the profession that will align with their career aspirations. Learners and professionals can equally benefit from the data fetched from Big Data analytics. Big data’s requirement in the future will introduce students to voice-based learning, facial recognition, and fingerprint authentication, which will create room for compelling studies. Big Data is an urgent need, and it is safe to consider that the future of Big Data in Education will evolve.

One example of a Platform that uses Big Data in the Education field is Edubox.
Edubox is a technology company focused on developing and promoting disruptive solutions for Education. As a technology-based, Research & Development company, Edubox specializes in the development of management software and in designing innovative business solutions while also providing consulting services, vocational training, and continuing Education.
School, like a mirror of society, must be a center of excellence and skills of which one should obtain the most advantage from technology, being an instrument that facilitates integration, interaction, sharing, and, above all, the promotion of the communication process between community and school and vice-versa.


Edubox uses Big data to help students, teachers, schools, and cities connect to services and products customized to each consumer’s specific needs and interests.
 After these arguments about the advantages and limitations of Big Data in Education, What are your thoughts about:
1)     Big Data analytics helps to expose and contextualize the gaps in Education, or it points out feasible and practicable solutions?
2)     Is there room for new software, apps, and integrative technology in your daily practice in the following months?
3)     Do you have ethical concerns considering all controlling students’ information and, sometimes, invasive monitoring made possible by Big Data management?


Manocha, S., & Saini, P. (2022). Insights of Big Data Analytics in Education- Challenges & Opportunities: A Review Paper. International Management Review, 18, 20-91.

Kenett, R. S., & Prodromou, T. (2021). Big Data in Education: Pedagogy and Research Big Data, Analytics and Education: Challenges, Opportunities and an Example from a Large University Unit. Big Data in Education: Pedagogy and Research, 103-124.

Mashable Brand X. (2014, September 3). Big Data’s Making Education Smarter. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_wAHEHTy-g

Khurram, V. [TEDx Talks]. (2015, November 6). Data-DrivenEducation. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3eO8gYmWCc

EduBOX. (n.d.). We are inspired by technology to innovate in Education.    https://edubox.pt/?lang=en



( Average Rating: 5 )

13 responses to “Week 7 – Big Data & Learning Analytics”

  1. Kendal

    Hi Alexei, thank you for the great information and resources shared about Big Data for your OER. I especially enjoyed the final video you linked (Data-driven Education with Khurram Virani at TEDx). I really like his point about how data should be driving the change in curriculum changes, but humans ultimately need to be the decision-makers (we can’t look to data to solve every problem and need to consider other elements, for example ethics, when making decisions). In response to your discussion prompts, I think big data does serve to expose gaps in education (for example, in response to Leon’s post on Data Analytics, I mentioned my main concern is about data analytics driving a bigger gap between districts or learners that have the resources to integrate these technologies into their learning environments, and those that do not). I also think big data has the potential to create solutions for many complex problems. It was neat in the TEDx video to learn of Khurram’s data collection, where only 3 of 280 data points he collected were test scores… I am sure he really is using the data to improve learning outcomes and experiences for those participating in his program. I am also confident there will continue to be new innovations in the market. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like it really is just recently becoming mainstream knowledge now that big data can impart benefits in the education sector… I think there is a lot of development here in the future. I am not sure how much I can integrate this type of work into my current role, but it is definitely stimulating lots of thought (: And finally, I always have thoughts about privacy and ethical use of data, and am hopeful that as this market develops further, it will only make data collection and sharing a safer space and those involved will become more discerning (and competitive) in ensuring consumers feel and actually are safe from harm. Thanks again!

    ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. alexei Peter Dos Santos

      Hello Kendal,

      I believe that Big Data features and analytics has been used in many fields, such as sales, marketing, and political trends. Recently, I understood how simplifying linguistics in Health could be a game changer in disease prevention and management. Despite the risks of data collection and ethical issues such as privacy, there are plenty of data and information that are already published or stored in a database that should be helpful in the Education and Health field. For instance, which diseases run in our families, and how can we face risk factors? How can we be open to new technologies and integrate valuable knowledge with our students? What is the borderline between teaching and influencing? How many years did it take to build a strategy with analogies, metaphors, and endless hours of studying to teach, and, at the end of the day, something like fake news can quickly threaten all work done? I don’t know the answer, but I feel we should be there with students and technology.

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
      1. Kendal

        Thanks for your additional thoughts, Alexei. Very cool example with simplifying language leading to better health outcomes, and great question around educating vs. influencing. It is disheartening that digital media can play such a huge role in students’ beliefs, and it can be difficult for especially younger audiences to distinguish between good and bad quality sources of information. I think this highlights the importance in digital media education and teaching people how to be effective consumers of knowledge. But back to data analytics, definitely lots of promise for providing information to create more meaningful learning environments in education and beyond!

        ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  2. EmilyOlson

    I have some ethical concerns around Big Data collection, specifically to gain and measure attention. If learners are being physically monitored and assessed constantly to determine whether they’re paying attention, it could potentially lead to increased stress and potential discrimination, especially against students who struggle with paying attention for long periods of time. The topic made me think about these headbands that could measure students’ brainwaves to measure their focus – https://qz.com/1742279/a-mind-reading-headband-is-facing-backlash-in-china/ – they were tested with students in China, and the data was used to push students to compete in terms of who could pay attention the best. This is an extreme example, but a strong one of how certain data’s collection and application can have potentially unethical and unhealthy ramifications for learners.

    ( 2 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. sage capogreco

      Hi Emily, I completely echo your sentiment here. I think it also speaks to how new this technology is. We are just now seeing legislation being created to deal with the potential ramifications of privacy in the collection of biometric data etc. It does concern me that the technology is advancing at an astronomical pace while legislators scramble to face these challenges (even in countries where there are ample resources and a political background in which to do so)!

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  3. alexei Peter Dos Santos

    Hi Emily,

    I share some of your concerns as well. The objectives to aid are utterly diverse to control. However, the bad news is people have already, at least, tried to use Big Data and Analytics for these purposes in the manipulation of elections, wars, brainwashing, and promoting inequity. I intend to explore Big Data and Analytics as valuable tools to enrich the knowledge.
    Nevertheless, many extreme examples, like the one you mentioned, are already settled and generate harm, sometimes irreversible, for learners. Thank you for your warning and awareness.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  4. joseph villella

    Hi Alexei, thanks for all the information on Big Data! Like Emily posted above, I also have some ethical concerns relating to Big Data collection. My biggest issue is the collection itself and how to can impact student learning. A lot of students noticeably become nervous when knowing that they are being assessed and with the amount and types of data collection that big data would need, it could impact them. From the student perspective, it could cause a lot of stress and therefore negatively impact their academic abilities and mental wellbeing. From an educator perspective, the data could somewhat be seen as less impactful since if a student acts differently when the data is being collected, is the data relevant? I do think that big data, and therefore learning analytics, have a very important role in the classroom of the future. However, I just am struggling with how we can ensure that the data that is gathered is useful data that can solely help the student and improve their education.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  5. Jerry Chen

    Hi Alexei, thank you for your informative post about big data in education. I have learned a lot from reviewing the post. One component that I found to be especially interesting was the point on collecting data not only from results but during the process as well. The example in the post was collecting data on when a student changed their answer and how long it took students to complete specific questions. This could result in some interesting data visualizations that could aid in understanding how the students approach certain questions and concepts.

    For my own teaching, I believe there is a place for big data. Since I teach a multi-year academy, curriculum development is one of the main things I do as an educator. After watching the Ted Talk on rapid iteration, I feel that I should incorporate this model into my program. Trying certain things and make appropriate changes will help me develop a better curriculum. However, a challenge would be to collect the appropriate data. Currently, I don’t use any data collection software and to fill a spreadsheet with the appropriate data points will definitely be a challenge.

    In terms of ethical concerns, there are concerns in both the collection of data and the use of said data. Students and their parents/ guardians will need to give consent and be informed on the extent of the data collection. Results and data collected should also be available for the students and their parents/ guardians to review. If these due diligence is not met, there could be complications and protest against data collection and big data as a whole.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  6. emma pindera

    Big Data analytics can help to expose and contextualize the gaps in education AND can point out feasible and practicable solutions. Whether the data exposes gaps or solutions, it is still helpful knowledge to have. With data, educators and admin can make data driven decisions on their learning. Currently, my team uses Pendo, Google Analytics and a Power BI Dashboard to gather our learner/user data and give a cohesive view of the learner experience. Although there are some apps that may be helpful to provide insights from the data; for example, Parse.ly and xyleme are great analytics tools. I don’t have any ethical concerns, the data we collect is superficial because it is only the user actions made in our software. Furthermore, the data is used to improve the software, provide them with the learning they need, and overall improve their experience.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. emma pindera

      And also – great information Alexei!! Thank you so much for sharing!

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  7. Jocelyn

    Hi Alexei,
    Thank you for sharing the wealth of information on Big Data, I’ve learned a lot about the potentials it has for education! Immediately, I thought of how all this data and detailed personal profiles could mean that machines know us better than we know ourselves- and how we can use that to our advantage. Like Jerry mentioned, I found it interesting that the data collection included information on the process which provide insights into student thinking/ reasoning/ flawed logic and to answer the big questions like “Should we change the test?”. I am reminded of the recent headlines of declining EQAO math scores- now that the test is done online, I wonder, instead of analyzing the answers, what it would show for how the questions are approached.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  8. Katie M

    Khurram brings up a good point in saying that data by itself without meaningful action is not useful to students and that teachers need to be the ones to act on this data in creative ways. It is often the case that data is collected and can tell us a lot about how to best support students, but with those supports being pricey or impractical they are not implemented as often as they should be. I think that Big Data does a good job of exposing the gaps, but is less successful at rectifying them. There is also the question about how to support students when the gaps in their learning are caused by social circumstances as well as educational ones. When I worked in the UK they collected a vast amount of data on students and were able to predict student outcomes based on past performance, but rarely pushed for social supports for children and families living in situations of generational poverty. The education system was almost completely divorced from systems of government assistance and was treated as the solution for these children, without addressing the immediate and pressing needs existing in their home lives. While education can definitely be a driving force for change, students whose basic needs are met at home will always have an advantage over students who have significant struggles outside the school gates with little social support. If Big Data can be used as a call for action to help students both inside and outside of school then I think it can be a power for social change, but the way it is currently being used by governments in the US and the UK is to punish “underachieving” schools without addressing the distinct needs of that community.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  9. alexei Peter Dos Santos

    Hi Jocelyn and Katie,
    Thank you for your commentaries and for sharing your experiences. My thoughts points in the same direction. Our hope is for a comprehensive data analysis capable of filling gaps for issues like inside and outside the school and, moreover, asynchronous or synchronous learning. Additionally, Big data can clarify data connections and relations not evidently from the beginning of the research, called secondary or even tertiary ties that aren’t obvious in the purposes of the project. Still, they consistently can serve hypotheses for new questions, answers, and identification of unique needs in the constantly changing community.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.