Every school strives to create a culture of learning shaped by well-equipped teachers and engaged students. Yet many schools have little in place as a way of measuring the impact of their education. Schools around the world want to be more data informed in order to personalize learning for students, track and provide performance feedback for teachers, and enhance communications and reporting for parents.
However, while they already have an abundance of data being collected on a daily basis from their community, they often lack the analytics skills and data sophistication to deliver a complete solution. That’s why the Learning Analytics Collaborative (LAC) has come into existence.
The LAC was formed in 2015 as a partnership between educators, data scientists, and visionary leaders from schools around the world seeking to harness the power of learning analytics to better understand learners and their learning context in an effort to improve and transform schools. Visualizing student data to support learning has been our driving goal. The LAC offers a platform where all learning data is visualized in one place, a single source of the truth that presents instant, relevant and interactive views of a student’s academic and personal development. We promote best practices when it comes to data visualisations and help schools create cultures of data use. The LAC has 40+ member schools across five continents. Amongst them, the member schools use over 35+ different data visualisations. These visualizations came out of conversations with our member schools to directly address their needs and satisfy their data requirements.
While new graphics and data visualizations are emerging every day trying to portray the data and reality that surrounds us, like most things in the world, it is the law of Occam's razor that sets the bar. This law is a principle of theory construction or evaluation according to which, other things equal, explanations that posit fewer entities, or fewer kinds of entities, are to be preferred to explanations that posit more. Or in other words the simplest solution is usually the best. This is especially true with graphics and data visualizations. A lot of times one can spend endless hours designing a new dashboard that no one looks at. This is simply because it is either too complicated or it is not answering the questions users want to pursue. On our LAC platform, we strive to present the information in the most intuitive way to enable teachers and schools to take data-informed actions to ultimately benefit the learners.
However, it is not only about technology.
While the technology is an integral and a necessary part, a springboard if you will, it is the collaborative element that is at the heart of the LAC.
Working with data in an education setting can often be quite a solitary experience and reinventing the wheel is a common occurrence. Hence we aim to connect our members through various means, either directly or via our webinars, blog posts, and publications. Our vibrant community of over 40 schools benefit from one another, drawing on each other's knowledge, experience, and expertise. The international school context of the Collaborative means that we are well rehearsed in a majority of educational datasets, whether that’s an external standardized test like MAP or ISA, IB grading, or internal assessments such as F&P, JAM or WIDA. Additionally, we offer an Online Learning Center that provides our members access to professional guidance, research, protocols, tutorials, and other resources for leveraging learning analytics.
We all know that schools are complex data beasts. We help schools to manage that data complexity to identify areas of improvement and set goals. Data journeys require commitment and patience but taking that first step is vital.
To find out more about LAC, please visit our site and check out our videos on our site or on Youtube at these links - Video 1 and Video 2.