The Role of Learning Science in Student Success

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

How can we use data and analytics to improve teaching and learning and inform instructional design? In this hands-on session, we will first orient attendees to the emerging fields of learning science and data science. We then provide interactive sample exercises and concrete methods for deriving learning insights and improving student outcomes.



Alfred Essa is Vice President of Research and R&D at McGraw-Hill Education. He has extensive experience in industry and academia, including serving as Director of Analytics Strategy at Desire2Learn, Assoc. Vice Chancellor and Deputy CIO at Minnesota State Colleges & Universities, and CIO at MIT's Sloan School of Management. At MIT he was the Principal Investigator of the iLearn project, a research initiative jointly funded by MIT and Microsoft. In his spare time he enjoys scotch, playing blitz chess, and thinking of random mathematical objects.
Lalitha is a Senior Data Scientist at McGraw-Hill Education. Lalitha Agnihotri holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Computer Science and has over 15 years of experience in the Data Mining/Modeling area. She has authored over 40 peer reviewed conference and journal papers and has presented at several international conferences. She has applied a wide variety of learning algorithms to huge amounts of data to enable applications related to prediction of outcomes.

Extended Abstract

As a learning community, there is a need to start thinking about student success and learner success in terms of increasing the odds and probability of success. Educators are interested in learning “How students learn?” from a learning science perspective and “What increases their odds or probability of success?” from a learning analytics perspective. Learning Analytics is a fairly new field where we are now getting data about students learning in the “wild.” Now we can get access to millions of students records to get insights into what is supporting or hindering our learner success.

Data tells a story…it can explain what is going on in your class, program, and institution.  As instructors, designers, and administrators, the amount of data can be overwhelming.

In this hand- on presentation, you will be able to “play” with data, brainstorm solutions with colleagues, develop actions that you can take back to your institutions that embrace how learning science, data science, and educational design serve as a foundation to improve teaching, learning, and student success.