The learning analytics has been slow burning on my mind since I enrolled in the lak12.mooc.ca course. I usually dedicate Monday afternoon for the LAK focused reading and reflections in preparation for Tuesday activities. But the idea is placed on a slow cooking pot throughout the week where I add an ingredient based on an incident here, anecdote there, or a info I gather. Then on Monday, I taste the pot to see if I can make something tasteful out of the mix. Today, I feel I can uncover a good side dish: analyzing the controlling instincts. Here where it came from.
The first ingredient: In an argument with my wife, I discovered that we sometime say something while we mean something totally different and we usually do not recognize that. For example, to me, prepare the table to eat means having plates and cutlery distributed on the table. To my wife, it means the feel and look of the elegance of the table which should include a red cover, lit candles and romantic music. She never said them in those words and she adamantly rejected this notion but admitted this is what was desired(yes… go figure). So, the same thing means different things to ourselves as well as to others. How can we develop an analytic system that can understand our behaviour and habits if we, ourselves, many times, do not understand them.
The second ingredient: we had couple of colleagues to dinner and we were chatting about validity of profiling tests. The discussion got to the MBTI profiling test. One conclusion that came out of the discussion was that MBTI wording of the questions measure “what you want to be” and not “who you are”. So, if the most famous measuring analytics cannot measure who we are, how can learning analytics measure our learning by analyzing data that resides on the internet. Mind boggling indeed.
The third ingredient: Buckingham newest book was sitting on my desk since my son bought it for me for Christmas. I decided to read it. To my amazement, around page 23, he indicated that our natural reactions are not random that depends on outside factors, but are based on recurring patterns that are deep rooted in our personality. Those recurring patterns are our strengths! [My first aha: can we define a term called “our learning strength”? which is determined by a set of recurring learning habits or reactions? But how? add this ingredient to the pot].
Buckingham answer to the same question did not convince me that we can apply it effectively as a learning analytics. But its gesture has many good potential applications. He said that he applied the stimulus/reaction approach. [My second aha: maybe learning analytics should include processes to identify responses based on certain stimuli that the learner consistently exhibits while learning or surfing the net, consequently, one can determine the recurring pattern that formulate the learner’s learning strengths]. I am not sure yet that I want to add this ingredient to the pot. It needs more research.
So, recognizing that sometimes we do not know ourselves, recognizing that existing profiling tests cannot measure accurately who we are and recognizing that we need to look for recurring learning patters are 3 ingredients that makes a light side dish that still need more ingredients to make it tasteful. Let’s see what week 2 brings.
Buckigham, M. (2011). Standout: The groundbreaking new strengths assessment from the leader of the strengths finder. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.