The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Month: March 2015

The Emerging Field of Learning Analytics

by Ariel Garber

The development of learning analytics will help shape a new model for teaching and learning, creating a system that provides insight and information to support student success. The field of learning analytics, defined by EDUCAUSE, is “deciphering trends and patterns from educational big data, or huge sets of student-related data, to further the advancement of a personalized, supportive system of higher education.”  Learning analytics evaluates student behavior in order to determine learning efficiency, creating conversations with students about learning strategies and how well they feel learning has occurred. Technology allows us to study learning experiences through the capture and analysis of learning and performance data.

“Analytics provides a new model for college and university leaders to improve teaching, learning, organizational efficiency, and decision making and, as a consequence, serve as a foundation for systemic change,” said George Siemens and Phil Long in their article about learning analytics.

program-hero-strategic-analyticsA key feature of learning analytics is its learning-centric focus, analyzing student performance outside of the classroom in order to gain a new understanding of the efficiency of students, teachers and the curriculum. Beyond basic retention and completion, learning analytics produces students with both inquiry and analysis focus and critical and creative thinking skills.

The implementation of learning analytics requires restructuring academic institutions, to include re-evaluating the flow of data between departments, increasing personal student support, reshaping course design, delivery and more. These changes will be felt by the faculty, students and the institution as a whole. Collaborative and creative leadership is essential in fostering an academic environment that can support and utilize learning analytics.

The Online Instructional Design & Technology program at Brandeis GPS offers foundational skills through the study of instructional design principles, educational technology, and adult learning theories. Students gain the experience needed to solve a variety of instructional challenges and, ultimately, create and deliver high-quality online programs and interactive courseware.

In large part because of the continuous growth in online programs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data demonstrates that jobs in instructional design and technology have grown 20.8% since 2004, and project above average growth as high as 20% for instructional design jobs between 2010 and 2020. In the next four years alone, the bureau projects over 36,000 new jobs will become available in instructional design and technology.

This reveals the growing forum for learning analytics and Strategic Analytics, also offered at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies. Brandeis GPS is hosting an Analytics 360 Symposium on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 from 9am-4:30pm at Hassenfeld Conference Center of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

360LogoALT2The day-long symposium will focus on promoting a discussion of the growing field of analytics and how organizations can leverage big data to make more strategic decisions. Panelists will engage in a conversation that places analytics in the context of big data, education, health, marketing and business.

Register here for the Analytics 360 Symposium on April 8, 2015 at Brandeis University. The cost for NERCOMP members is $135 and the cost for non-members is $265. Submit this form to learn more about special pricing available to members of the Brandeis community. For more information, email analytics360@brandeis.edu or call 781-736-8786. You can also find us on Twitter using #GPSAnalytics.

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Creating an Environment of Leadership

by: Johanna Rothman

Find the original post here.

I bet you have some problems that have been problems for a while. Or, you want to influence other people to change. You need an environment of leadership, because you can’t do it alone.

Here are three tips to creating an environment where everyone can lead:

Tip #1: Share the problem.

When I work with technical and managerial leaders, I find that they have this idea that they are not supposed to share problems. They may have a boss who believes that once he or she delegates the problem, that unique individual must solve it alone. Or, they might coachingfeel as if it’s not fair to share the problem–that somehow people will take time from their work to help with “my” problem. Or, they have never considered that much transparency.

You can’t ask for help on all problems. Sometimes, when you are a manager, you need to keep HR-type problems private. Maybe you have a fiduciary responsibility to the company, and you can’t share that data.

But, here’s an idea: if you have this problem, chances are quite good other people know about the effects of the problem. You are not the only one living with this problem.

Kim, a program manager, could not understand how to help her teams. They could not discover their interdependencies in time to know when to develop which features. She wrestled with this problem for a couple of weeks.

At our coaching appointment, I suggested she raise the issue to the team leads. She could say, “I see this problem, and here is the effect it’s having on me. Can we solve this together?”

She did. The team leads also felt the pain. They decided to reduce their planning scope, planning for no longer than a month at a time. They used stickies on the wall to see their interdependencies and create interim milestones. As a side benefit, they had to reduce their story size to meet their milestones.

Tip #2: Ask for multiple solutions.

Notice that the team leads helped solve the problem in several ways:

  • They took responsibility for part of the problem.
  • They decided to reduce their planning scope. That helped, but alone it wasn’t enough.
  • They decided to work together, to create a sticky-based planning session.
  • They reduced story size because they realized that having large stories prevented them from working together.

If they had implemented just one of these solutions, they might not have solved the problem.

Tip #3: Ask for help assessing solutions.

Some of the leads wanted to implement their solutions right away. Adam, one of the leads said, “Hold on. I want to see if this is going to work with my team. I’m not sure we can reduce our story size. Let’s involve more people.”

When he shared the proposals with his team, sure enough they were concerned about story size. One of the team members said, “We need to work with our product owner to 0x600-636x310understand how to split our stories better. We can’t do this alone.”

It took them several iterations to learn how to split stories small enough that they could commit to their interdependencies. The team might have resented the solution if Adam had not checked with the team first.

Share your leadership. You will create an environment where everyone leads.

More Learning With Johanna

If you liked these leadership tips, learn more at The Influential Agile Leader. Gil Broza and I create a safe learning environment where you can experiment. We teach experientially, so you have a chance to practice and reflect on what you learn. Please join us at The Influential Agile Leader. The early bird price expires Feb 15.

I’ll be at the Booster Conference March 9-13. I have several workshops and talks:

See my calendar page for all my workshops and speaking dates.

Johanna Rothman

 

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