Business Intelligence (BI) in education is going to become an interesting topic over the next couple of years in Australia. Although there has always been a discussion about the use of data, and various projects that have looked at ways to analyse and use student learning data more effectively, I predict that learning analysis is going to move up the priority list for every education leadership team across Australia.
Within schools, the discussion of BI in education, and its use for learning analysis, is going to be driven by a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances:
- the arrival of a national curriculum, increasingly standardising achievement measurement
- increasing parental focus on learning achievements, fed by projects like MySchool
- a more dynamic higher education marketplace, as the student cap is lifted in 2012
- and more data being available on student performance within school systems
Is the time coming for BI in education?
In some ways it is wrong to talk about BI in Education in the future tense, as there have been so many projects already which have used learning analysis data to improve student performance. But I think there is still a lot of change to come. The 2011 Horizon Report identified Learning Analysis as a key technology to watch – in four to five year’s time (I think they got the timescale wrong – it’s going to happen a lot quicker than that, and is already in many parts of the world).
There’s already some work going on within Australia. For example StrataDB have designed a project with Warren Armitage, the CIO of Brisbane Catholic Education, to deliver more detailed analysis of the learning data that’s being collected by schools and the data that comes back down from government – for example, the outcomes of formal assessments, like NAPLAN, for both their own students and other national data. The case study video below gives a good overview of the work so far.