Judging by some of the reactions I have been getting to my Data Change Everything blogpost last night, I would say I've touched a bit of a nerve. Good.
People get ready, there a change a comin'.
Just a few more random, ancillary analytical thoughts:
Predictive analytics are not just used in for-profit universities. While institutions like the University of Phoenix and APUS are investing in analytics tools to help them improve services and customize the experience of learning online, forward thinking publicly funded institutions including Rio Salado College and the Colorado Community College System are doing the same kinds of things.
Predictive analytics are also not just used with online learning (and, by the way, online learning is not the same thing as for profit education.) But with so many of the transactions of online teaching and learning captured in various technology systems, it does seem like fertile ground for finding out what learning analytics may be able to reveal. Which is why you are seeing so many researchers/companies/foundations moving into this space these days. Learning analytics are hot, hot, hot.
Some researchers respond quite negatively to predictive analytics in education. I've heard mutterings of Orwellian conspiracies and dismissive comments about how data-mining is so... ad hoc. True enough. But remember, analytics aren't really about research, they are more about supporting decisions. That's different. And it's about reliability and convenience. That's also different.
I mentioned some of the most familiar uses of predictive analytics in consumer life - Amazon shopping and Netflix movies. iTunes Genius recommendations are another example. They help you narrow your search. Sometimes they suggest just the right thing. But I forgot to mention one of the most popular consumer use of predictive analytics.
<drumroll>....Dating sites. Match.com and that ilk. No matter how you feel about online dating, here is an impressive statistic: 1 one of 8 American marriages come from an online dating relationship.
Pretty good completion rate, if you ask me.
That is all. For now.