In the new e-book Learning With Big Data the authors describe how an online professor uses real time data to correct mistakes in course design. Pop-up quizzes are inserted into the course and results are analyzed in a way to show which material students return to when they don’t know the answer. It turns out that the order of presentment has a huge impact on learning. In one example, a short Algebra review at the beginning was useless in helping students solve a problem presented later. Moving the review toward the relevant section increased problem-solving ability dramatically—the professor learned from his students. Today, he continuously improves the course and increases the value of education.
Most of us think of big data as vast amounts of information processed by big computing revealing big insights. The professor used the Web, laptop computers, a little imagination, and a paucity of data to impact learning in a huge way.
What if the biggest insight is actually in Small Data?