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Investing in technology and training

A recent study by KPMG finds only 41% of colleges use data for predictive analytics. Colleges are purchasing education technology but not allocating the necessary financial and human resources to properly use them.

Historically, the college classroom was an inaccessible black box. Insights into student behaviour came from surface level observations of variables including attendance, note-taking, discussion, and performance on assessments. Education technology was introduced as a tool to decipher the black box of the classroom and provide deeper insights to improve student learning. The technology is successful in providing colleges with access to vast amounts of classroom data. Once they have the data however, most colleges are unable to make sense of it.

Education technology is not a magic bullet. It is a tool which requires proper training for proficiency. However, colleges often purchase the technology and expect instructors and program staff to learn them on their own time. The result: less than half of colleges are using data for predictive analytics.

Institutions like Valencia Community College are setting the precedent for properly implementing education technology. Each summer, Valencia enrolls their faculty in a five-week program to learn new technology and effectively use student data. Fortunately, a growing number of institutions are adopting Valencia Community College’s successful approach to ensure their faculty have the skills and knowledge to best support their students.

Investing in education technology alone is not sufficient in developing strategies to support student success. Colleges also need to invest in training and resources for the faculty who directly interact with students and can make the most of the data.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and marketing strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also a part-time faculty member at Centennial College and serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

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