What is Data, Analysis and Learning Anyway?

One of the first steps in #dalmooc is to consider what data, analytics and learning mean to me.

I view data, analytics and learning as an intentional developmental progression from data to analytics to learning.

Data is the plural form for a multitude of loose little datum markers floating suspended throughout the universe with nominal attachment. The markers are evidence. They may be clustered together but they have not, as yet, coagulated into anything that makes sense, they have not been used as a basic ingredient in any recipe or novel creation.

Data can be collected, filtered and organized.  They can be sorted and catalogued (cleaned), scrutinized and categorized, winnowed down and packaged up –  in other words analyzed to create information. Information is data that has been analyzed and then synthesized to make sense. The analysis and synthesis component is critical for sense making. It is worth noting however, that sense making is a form of what I call ‘sensorship’ (i.e. censoring in order to make sense).  This is reification and one’s critical spider senses need to be on high alert for the inclination to sort in the same-old-same-old-way – to be blind to emerging patterns simply because they do not resemble old familiar patterns. Analysis should be broadened to include new ways of sensing, sorting, combining and recombining (i.e. visualizations, connections & collaborations) to create novel forms of information. Analysis implies taking apart but we may be moving into an era of collaborative, connected and/or creative analysis.

The information produced by analysis is developmentally ripe and ready to be fermented into knowledge. Taking information and mixing it with action and experience to create knowledge is transformational. It is that magnificent and magical action that we call learning.

About Maureen Crawford

I work as a researcher and educational consultant. My undergraduate degree is in industrial design so design thinking has long been part of my process - emergent connectivist learning resonates strongly with me.
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