The big debate – Data vs Intuition
How many times have we, as parents, looked at the work our children do, taken the time to assess if they’ve really understood the point of the lesson, and then approached a teacher to do things a little differently for our child?
We’ve long been proponents of the fact that data can change everything. In every field, feedback, has become a vital part of service delivery – allowing entire organizations to adapt their processes, change their delivery methods and allow for the maximum utilization of resources. Technology today also allows us to get that data, if not real-time, then as close to it as one can get. We’ve tried our best to apply data in all our delivery, even to the last mile – the student teacher interaction and what we’ve learnt has been startling.
The role of the teacher is changing.
At this point of our proposition, we always hear this outcry – The teacher! The teacher is the most important link in the chain! It is the teacher who provides companionship, guidance, a true learning environment! How can you replace that with something as cold as data! Ugh.
Let us explain.
The reality is that each child learns differently – and no one model works for all children. The ability to have intelligence on each child, to process that data, and to use it in a way that allows for the child to learn in the way most comfortable to them is something that is sorely lacking in our education system. We believe we have cracked some part of this problem through our innovative system of collecting information on each child. We use a model that we’ve developed in-house, that allows teachers to input all sorts of data into a Development Diary– from assessments to the smallest observation. This contributes hugely to our lesson plans, milestone developments etc. (We hope to take this model digital soon, making our time to market much faster than our current 2 weeks)
The way our pre-school program is designed also helps tremendously. It allows each child to interact with various stimuli – in a controlled environment – through the day. Our skill stations (each station focuses on a different skill – Language, Cognitive etc) are actual physical environments that allow each child to learn at this own pace, leaving the teachers enough time to observe, assist and record – for each child. Each expression of a skill is tightly documented. And it is the teachers job to push children, each of them , to the best they can be. This also has the advantage that we’re now able to hire teachers based on their skills (interaction with children) rather than only on the basis of knowledge they hold in their heads.
The key things to keep in mind when building a data driven approach to learning are –
- The richer the better – When building a data driven model, the more data you have from the word go, the far likelier you are to end up with the data you eventually need. There is no such thing as superfluous data.
- Speed – The sooner you can get data, the speed at which you correct bugs, the speed at which you adapt and deploy becomes critical to your final output.
- Flexibility – Don’t build systems that are so rigid you cannot change them with ease.
- Data isn’t everything – Don’t lose sight of the fact that your product is being delivered by a teacher. With years of experience, a teacher’s intuition – gut feel – cannot be discounted. Your data may point one way, and your teacher another. Go with the teacher. You wont fail.