SRI International Provides Vision for Incorporating Big Data into Education Research to Enhance Digital Learning

May 06, 2013, 13:25 ET from SRI International

MENLO PARK, Calif., May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Speaking today at the Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco, Jeremy Roschelle, Ph.D., co-director of SRI International's Center for Technology in Learning, highlighted how education researchers can best leverage the vast amount of data about online learning that is now available for their studies. In a shift from traditional research methods, Dr. Roschelle described how both researchers and developers can use large amounts of detailed data to evaluate student learning outcomes and enhance educational products.

The presentation at the annual gathering for educational technology industry executives followed a well-attended workshop last year, which gathered extensive input from leaders on their needs for research, their frustrations with the slowness of traditional research methods, and their ideas on how to use newly available online learning data to improve products and students' outcomes. The presentation highlighted the new synergies possible among learning scientists and the educational technology industry, in which learning scientists can play a key role in harvesting data for innovation.

Dr. Roschelle based his remarks on a recently completed report, Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World, developed for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology by SRI's Center for Technology in Learning.

"Our report for the Office of Educational Technology established that the transition to digital learning warrants a rethinking of the traditional stages in educational evaluation," said Roschelle. "Rather than starting with small amounts of data and gradually working up to large evaluations over five or more years, evaluation can now start by analyzing massive data sets immediately and progress by answering increasingly sophisticated and comprehensive evaluation questions over time."

The report addresses how to improve the timeliness and usefulness of research to support innovators using emerging digital technologies to address pressing national educational problems. It discusses ways in which this kind of data can be used to answer basic questions about learning, to improve the effectiveness of learning systems, and to provide new insights into what learners understand and can do. The report urges education researchers to work with developers to implement rapid design cycles with built-in feedback loops, an approach common in industry but unusual in education research.

This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the US Department of Education under contract number ED04CO0040/0010.  The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government.

About SRI International
Innovations from SRI International have created new industries, billions of dollars of marketplace value, and lasting benefits to society—touching our lives every day. SRI, a nonprofit research and development institute based in Silicon Valley, brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, new products, and spin-off ventures. Government and business clients come to SRI for pioneering R&D and solutions in computing and communications, chemistry and materials, education, energy, health and pharmaceuticals, national defense, robotics, sensing, and more.

SRI is an established leader in digital learning and has conducted $30 million of research and development in the field over 20 years.

SOURCE SRI International