Big Data, Watson, and Cognitive Computing: Improving Education and Regional Competitiveness

In the United States during 2013, nearly 20% of high school seniors did not graduate – stressing the ability of regions looking to thrive and prosper via an Economic Vitality agenda.  As we have seen, societies with world class education systems produce highly skilled workforces and become attractive places for businesses looking to thrive – a cornerstone for success in the increasingly competitive global economic marketplace.  Schools have been utilizing historical and real-time data in an attempt to provide early identification of students at risk for drop out – producing some benefit in select instances.  However, given the unrelenting explosion of data (growing 50% annually with 80% unstructured) and recent technology advancements, it is crucial that the Education Industry evolve its approach and embrace the advanced capabilities in the Cognitive Era – and significantly improve outcomes on a widespread scale.

In an attempt to improve outcomes of education systems, historical data has typically been the basis of analytics – and most often limited to the traditional codified information (attendance, class performance, etc.) about students.  While this is an important first-step to help improve outcomes of educational institutions, this approach is often too late or insufficient to pre-emptively identify (or significantly impact) students at risk.  As a result, progressive academic leaders have begun prioritizing the use of transformation approaches and have embraced advanced technologies to improve experiences and outcomes.  Specifically, analytics are being applied to wider sources of available data (i.e. unstructured information that is not in a strict, conventional database format) in order to discover previously hidden insight and intelligence.  This expanded approach, coupled with cognitive technologies, promises to deliver significant benefit by shifting from a one-size-fits-all educational model to a personalized learning environment.

Improving Educational Outcomes – Gwinnett County

Improving First Year Experiences

Watson Analytics for Education

Education institutions that embrace cognitive systems as a foundational component of their learning strategy will deliver better student, institutional and economic outcomes for society.  As each students’ optimum learning style is better understood through the implementation of cognitive technologies, personalized teaching approaches can be applied to prepare a region’s citizens to propser in an every-changing world.  The competitive nature of today’s global economy is challenging governments to become more attractive places to live and conduct business – however; those regions that fully embrace and fuse advanced technologies into the fabric of their educational systems will thrive…..resulting in long-term, sustained prosperity – for both the region, and more importantly, its constituents.

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