As education increasingly moves online, we are witnessing an explosion of data that can be used to improve educational effectiveness and support basic research on learning. New learning platforms and research communities are emerging to effectively use educational data mining and learning analytics. Educational data mining concerns itself with the application of data mining, machine learning and statistics to information generated from educational settings such as universities. The field seeks to develop methods for exploring this data, which often has multiple levels of meaningful hierarchy, in order to discover new insights about how people learn. In so doing, educational data mining has contributed to theories of pedagogy formulated by researchers in the learning sciences and educational psychology.
This emerging field is closely tied to that of learning analytics, and the two have been compared and contrasted. With the use of big data derived from educational experiences, data analysts now have the ability to mine and model the increasing amounts of fine-grained data that is becoming available about learners.
The Department of Educations much cited draft report about big data and education called Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics provides some insights into the disruption that is underway. An infographic from CollegeStats.org shown below asks a pertinent question: What if educational experience were as personalized as your Netflix or your Amazon account? Educational data mining and learning analytics are going to fundamentally change how education is delivered. What are the ways in which your institution is making use of educational data mining? Please tell us in the comments below.