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Stanford professor spurs movement to build new field: Learning analytics

A report written by Roy Pea, a leading authority on learning and technology, calls for strong steps to advance ‘education data science.’

Photo of Roy Pea.

September 7, 2014
By Jonathan Rabinovitz

The efforts to boost the nascent field of learning analytics could bring about a sea change in education, making it possible to personalize — on a massive scale — students’ learning by their individual interests and needs, according to a comprehensive report, involving experts from academia, business, nonprofits, foundations and government . It was written by Roy Pea, the David Jacks Professor of Education and Learning Sciences at the Stanford Graduate School of Education.

The research and associated report, conducted under the auspices of the Learning Analytics Workgroup, describe how education data could transform how students are taught; how teachers are prepared and further developed; how education research is conducted; how education-related information is used and managed; and how foundations’ funds are allocated. The report points to the ways that business, health and other sectors are beginning to capitalize on the exponential growth of data, but underscores that education lags behind them — and that a major hurdle is its lack of expertise.

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