Page 61 - Campus Technology, October/November 2019
P. 61

“It becomes harder and harder to justify not being interested in putting data back to work to answer questions in support of the success of the enterprise.” CT: Let’s look at one specific example (a big one): learning analytics. What should we be asking ourselves? Wagner: After 10 years of significant interest in learning analytics, commercial product develop- ment in student success software products, in foundation initiatives exploring various dimensions of student success, intervention measurement, col- lege completion, retention and persistence studies, why do you suppose learning analytics have not lived up to all of its expectations? I personally think it has a lot to do with over- selling and underdelivering on technology as the innovation — rather than as the solution to a problem. It’s too much touting of innovation wrapped up in the tools, rather than in what people are doing with the tools. This is not to say that software isn’t innovative. But with edu- cation technology, it’s easy to forget that the software is the means to the end. It is what we use to solve our problems at hand. This is just one of the issues we should be thinking about. CT: What is one of the key things we should be considering when we look at how we are using our data in higher education? What’s the opportunity we may be missing? Wagner: Today, data are both stored and gen- erated by use in learning technology tools and resources. Efforts are increasingly going toward collecting and actively using those data in real time to improve user results and system throughput. The current shift in expectations around future skills development is emerging from scientific disciplines rather than from learning and development disciplines. This is likely to spark more new and different learning tech- nology solution conversations than have been sparked in the past. For example: how to take learning data from our users, on a continuous basis, to evaluate our work formatively while we are doing it. CT: How are digital learning or e-learning professional positions changing? Can we expect change that will create a professional environment that’s better suited for technology adoption? 61 

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