The education sector is the backbone of any country, it helps run the institutions that nurture thousands and millions of students across a country. Who then grow up to be professionals in various industries and subject matter experts in their respective fields and craft.

The education sector is one of the oldest in a country and it’s obvious the data they collect and process is important and very large in volume. When you multiply that data over many years and decades. The records account to thousands and millions of entries of various types of data. As that information continues to grow, most education institutions are unable to process and analyze their data with existing technology infrastructure. 

Fortunately, in the age of technology advancements, the education sector has already begun to modernize and implement short, mid and long term digitization strategies. One of which is big data processing, to make use of all that historic data for better use. The role of big data in education sector is actually quite significant, but many are still unaware of what Big Data really is in the first place. So, we’ve put together a neat little article explaining everything you need to know about Big Data and how Big Data is driving digital transformation in the education sector.  

What is Big Data in Education? 

By definition, Big Data refers to large volumes of data which can be both structured and unstructured. Big Data normally contains data that has been historically created from the daily operations of the business. It consists of raw unprocessed data that has been collected from various sources, which include both qualitative and quantitative inputs. In order to make use of big data, it has to be processed through specialized software before it can provide insights. 

Examples of Big Data in the Education Sector

There are five main types of data distinguished in the education domain:

  • Personal data of Students and Faculty and other staff, 
  • Data on the interaction of students with electronic learning systems
  • Data on the effectiveness of learning materials
  • Administrative and clerical (system-wide) data
  • Projection data
  • Institutional financial Data. 

The Relationship between Big Data and the Education Sector

Big Data is a term which has been crafted or came to prominence only recently when technology advanced to the stage at which it is today. But if you consider the literal definition of Big Data and then think about the Education sector, you immediately realize the enormous volumes of data it holds and creates on a daily basis. By that discussion it’s fair to say the role of big data in education sector  has always been side by side from the very beginning. 

The education sector is one of the oldest sectors for any country however many of those, whether first world or third world struggle with systemic issues on their respective sides. Where one of them happens to be large volumes of data that the educational institutions have been producing since their inception. Not only is that data absolutely critical but also hoarded due to its importance for a long period of time.  That data remains within an institution’s active and archival records, in both hard file and or legacy flat file systems. 

Education institutions are complex organizations with many internal and external business processes, miscellaneous activities besides the usual delivery of educational services. All of these activities require dedicated human and monetary resources, the latter of which is most likely to get affected in the form of institutional funding. Funding and institutional priorities determine the path and strategy these education institutions follow to optimize and improve their operational and educational mechanisms. This includes, modernizing and digitalization of key business processes for greater operational efficiency. Some educational institutions are even making use of cutting edge data processing technologies to drive the decisions of the future based on the historical data of the past.  

Educational institutions are integrating the latest Big Data analytic solutions to process and analyze all their stored big data to provide crucial qualitative and quantitative insights. Based on which new recommendations can be made towards growth and improvement strategies of the education institutions.    

Role of Big Data in Education Sector: Reasons How Big Data and Digitalization are Changing the Education Sector

Improve Student Performance

Student performance is always a worrying factor for themselves and parents, who put so much in tuition fees and other development efforts. Downing results can be a factor of concern for institutions that hold high prestige in the industry. 

In order to improve student performance and address concerns regarding student results. Educational institutions are using big data processing techniques to analyze student responses to questions, the time taken to answer questions, sources they used to prepare for the exam and questions they skipped. All in the effort to know more about the hurdles faced by students. So the proper learning deficiencies can be spotted out and the appropriate course of actions could be taken for the greater student welfare. 

Better Educational Practices and Quality

The focus on improvement can be on both the students and the institution’s own standards of education delivery. There is growing concern that in some institutions the quality of education is not up to the mark. In order to improve the quality of their education services, more schools and higher education institutions are using technology oriented products to identify students who are lagging behind. Also, the data about the learning process is being analyzed through sophisticated real-time tools instead of post activity tests. Not only does this allow teachers to quickly prepare and adapt lessons to the needs of their students but also allow institutional management to assess teaching styles and approaches.      

Statistical Analysis of Admission Data

Educational institutions hold admission data of all the candidates that have ever applied for admission including both the successful and unsuccessful ones. Stretch that data over many years and even decades and the amount of records is staggering! Education institutions are making use of all that idle admission data and gaining important insights regarding the demographics of their students from over the years. The new information provides great understanding on the different ethnicities that have taken admission, the programs and courses of most interest, gender to program ratios. All in the effort to better know about the existing and prospective students, in order to market new programs that are likely to suit them. 

Enabling Personalized Education

No student is the same and the same applies to their learning abilities and education institutions know this fact. In order to target the different needs of each student they are using big data to learn valuable information regarding the different social skills a student possesses. 

It is now possible for them to define techniques that best suit the current skill set of the concerned student. Through personalized learning effort, student’s writing skills and communicative abilities as per their capacity are being uplifted in addition to helping each one to cope with tests in different subjects faster. From the insights gained from Big Data processing, interactive tutoring systems are being developed and used that match a learner’s personal needs and weaknesses. 

Wrapping Up

As Big Data continues to rise in popularity, it has the potential to revolutionize the learning industry in the upcoming years.  The education sector will continue to march on its path towards modernization and digitalization. The processing of big data in educational institutes through latest techniques and tools will gain even more traction as time passes. with advancing technology, big data systems in the classroom will become a common. It will become increasingly important for educators to understand how to work with such technology and use it accordingly to better student learning outcomes. Considering all the different ways big data is benefiting education institutions, the role of big data in education sector can no longer be ignored now.

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