Data and education have gone together since schools began keeping grade books. Today, big data in education goes far beyond A’s, B’s and C’s kept in a ledger, involving information like student backgrounds, performance, behavior and even emotional learning across schools, districts and states.
While big data has a wide variety of examples and applications across many industries, it feels like it has a particularly giant opportunity to upend education.
What Is Big Data in Education?
Big data refers to data that is too fast, large or complex to process through traditional methods, requiring advanced tools and platforms to organize and process the information. When applying this concept to the edtech sector, big data in education can refer to class schedules, enrollment years, semester grades and attendance records.
Big Data in Education
With massive amounts of this data accumulating every year, it can be hard for teachers and school administrators to keep track of everything. Big data in education is introducing new methods for organizing this information and extracting valuable insights to inform how educators engage with their students.
Benefits of Big Data in Education
Conventional methods of managing and teaching students have proven to be inefficient and costly. With the rise of big data in education, administrators and teachers are developing new ways of encouraging student growth while more effectively handling their resources.
Big Data Supports Personalized Learning
Digital platforms offer tracking tools that identify parts of online assignments students spend the most time on and the questions they answer incorrectly. Metrics like these can help teachers locate where students are struggling and where their interests may lie, tailoring their lesson plans to address weaknesses while building on current strengths.
Big Data Lowers Dropout Rates
With digital platforms and management systems, administrators can compile attendance records for all students and view which students most frequently skip or leave class early. Schools can then build behavior models off this information and predict which students are likely to struggle with classes. Taking this proactive approach enables educators to identify at-risk students and provide them with extra support before they fall too far behind.
Big Data Reduces Operational Costs
Many schools often have to work with limited budgets, so big data in education becomes a must-have for its ability to promote efficiency. By tracking variables like class enrollment, big data platforms can determine if two sections of the same class are low on students and should be combined. Insights like these ensure schools make the most of their space and staff, distributing their resources only where needed while preserving the time and energy of their teachers.
Future of Big Data in Education
The growing popularity of online learning and distance education has made big data in education all the more crucial for keeping teachers and students connected. Not all students may have access to in-person classrooms, so big data platforms can keep assessing individual growth as students spend more time in virtual environments.
To account for the expansion of digital learning, companies use big data to help K-12 schools, colleges and other academic institutions. Whether teachers work in in-person, virtual or hybrid classrooms, they now have the tools to more thoroughly track student progress, make adjustments and cater their lesson plans to the needs and wants of their students.
The following companies all provide big data services for educational institutions.
10 Big Data in Education Companies
Location: San Francisco, California
Udemy is an online learning platform offering various courses. The company also relies on big data to deliver course engagement metrics. With this feature, instructors are able to track the number of students who have started a lecture, how many minutes students spend viewing each lecture and how many students stop watching a lecture after 15 seconds. Instructors can then prioritize their most popular lectures among students, adjust or remove less popular ones and make their content more relevant for future courses.
Location: Fully Remote
Panorama Education is a management platform for administrators and school districts to support students’ learning skills, track progress and improve communication between schools, teachers, students, families and staff. The data in Panorama provides a whole view of each student, from attendance and classroom behavior to academic performance and social-emotional learning. The platform provides insights that help identify at-risk students early and helps educators support students in areas they’re struggling.
Location: Austin, Texas
Civitas Learning offers a student success intelligence platform that provides academic and career planning, student support, efficacy measurement and data-informed advisors. Civitas’ platform takes data from all parts of a university or institution to help students make more specific decisions with calculated outcomes. Its solutions also help faculty optimize their biggest tasks and more effectively engage with students.
Location: Seattle, Washington
Apex Learning creates digital learning solutions that help middle, high school and virtual learning environments. The platform encourages more engagement in student progress. In lieu of a mid-term report, students can continually track their progress. Additionally, teachers have access to real-time data that provides updated information for crafting or adapting lesson plans to student needs.
Location: Irvine, California
Illuminate provides a K-12 education intelligence platform that offers a data and assessment tool aptly named “DnA” to provide educators with real-time data. Access to this data helps instructors receive instant student feedback on lesson plans, decide lesson plan pacing, track student progress and understand individual student needs.
Location: Santa Monica, California
University career centers use 12Twenty’s platform to improve student survey response rates, resulting in better data collection. Equipped with this data, career advisors can create industry or custom reports, analyze student employment and eliminate tedious spreadsheet creation. 12Twenty also provides students with access to salary information and an interview question database that they can leverage after graduation.
Location: New York, New York
Knowre is a math program that identifies — and helps cover — student learning gaps. The platform analyzes each student’s performance, identifying strengths, weaknesses and knowledge gaps and generating relevant problem sets to help students progress. In addition to assessing student data to identify setbacks, Knowre’s teacher dashboards also offer data that allows instructors to give more attention to students who need it.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Overgrad is a platform built for students and educators to navigate career and college opportunities. For grades six through 12, the tool provides college and career lists, e-portfolios, transcript sending, customizable reporting, mass messaging and course planning. The program integrates with current student information systems, allowing students and counselors to track education decisions and gain insights along the way.
Location: Palatine, Illinois
Realizeit is an adaptive learning platform for K-12, higher education institutions and corporate learning. The platform features embedded analytics that constantly measures, calculates and collects teaching and learning-related data. With this data, Realizeit’s analytical dashboards provide reports and trends to gauge progress, engagement, teaching and content efficacy.
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Naviance is a college and career readiness tool made for schools, districts, states, students and parents. The platform helps students explore and understand the possibilities for furthering their education while matching them to colleges and majors that fit them best. The platform utilizes student data to track college outcomes and helps administrators or counselors to understand the variables that influence student decisions.