Sensemaking: Beyond Analytics as a Technical Activity
Analytics, big data, and cloud computing have infiltrated the conference circuit, publications, and consultancies. The refrain is clear: data is an asset, organizations need to do a better job of managing and analyzing this asset, and new [technology, tool, method, company] will help *your* university deploy analytics as a competitive strategy. A step back is needed. Analytics are not new. And a technical-only strategy will doom any analytics project to failure. This presentation will explore learning analytics from the perspective of sensemaking - social cognitive processes people use to understand the world and the data they encounter. Emphasis will be on how researchers/educators/administrators can used technical (or big data) analysis to interpret patterns and plan for change strategies that incorporate social aspects of sensemaking. The intent of learning analytics is not only to evaluate what learners have done or what they might do; analytics should help educators make sense of the meaning of the technical analysis of learner activity so they [the institution or educator] can respond and act with consideration of the social dimensions of learning.