Believing in data
I’m a bit puzzled by his remark that
Duval being a computer scientist strongly believes in the power of data and the revelations it holds.
Actually, I am not sure what would be the alternative to ‘believing in data’ – not believing in data? Isn’t confronting theories with data one of the core activities of any science?
For me, there lies one of the most important promises of learning analytics: as a research domain, technology enhanced learning is too much a field of opinions – maybe learning analytics can help to turn the field into more of a collection of experimentally validated theories? Into more of a science?
I’m not sure I understand the problem that Wolfgang seems to have with data. Of course, a real issue is selecting what kind of data are relevant: we may not need to know shoe size, or hair color, but do we need heart rate? blood pressure? emotional state? what a learner has eaten? where she is? with whom? etc. Making that selection of what data to consider is really tricky. And recording it correctly is no panacea either. Nor is analyzing it and interpreting patterns. But that doesn’t mean that data ‘is full of bias and opinionated thinking’, as he writes?! What is the bias and opinionated thinking in the speed of light?
Rather tellingly, Wolfgang also seems to believe that algorithms will never be able to factor in the influence of ‘problems at home’. Frankly, I think he underestimates somewhat how algorithms can be rather sophisticated…
I guess I agree much more with Wolfgang when he writes about how important human communication is. Of course. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be blogging, giving interviews and doing keynotes!
Anyway, looks like we will have something to discuss next week at De Onderwijsdagen 😉 !