Learning Gets Personal with Oracle Student Learning
by Fred Sandsmark, August 2010
While budget woes are front and center for many school districts today, a bigger challenge—a philosophical one—looms. The world is changing, and education isn’t keeping pace. Educators understand that, to succeed in the twenty-first century, they need to make teaching and learning personal and relevant for each student. Oracle Student Learning has been developed to help them meet that challenge.
“Schooling today is pretty much a one-size-fits-all approach,” explains Frank Aloisio, senior director of product strategy at the Oracle Asia Research & Development Center and developer of Oracle Student Learning. “We take content, broadcast it to the students, and hope that they understand it.” As a former math teacher, Aloisio speaks from experience. “With Oracle Student Learning, we ensure that learning is tailored to the individual students.”
Oracle Student Learning’s learner-centric, data-driven approach represents a completely new paradigm for education applications. While learning management systems today typically are built around pieces of content—be they linear equations or Shakespeare sonnets—and shoehorn the students to the content, Oracle Student Learning is designed around “learning transactions”—that is, interactions between individual students and the material they’re learning.
This model creates a single view of each student that captures more than test scores. It might include, for example, recordings of performances or images of artwork a student has created. “Those are all valuable things that standardized tests don’t capture,” Aloisio says.
“It’s about connecting what the students are doing to the outcomes that the educators are trying to achieve,” he continues. “And also making that visible to everyone—especially the students—so that they’re more involved in the process.”
Having a data-driven single view of each student also allows for business intelligence (BI) tools to be applied to the data. This permits educators to identify and diagnose students’ difficulties before they become problems, and to design appropriate interventions.
Student-centered data also makes records portable when a student advances from one grade to the next, or changes schools or classrooms. “The benefit is clear to the teachers,” Aloisio says. “They can see that the work that they’ve done with these kids is captured and passed on to the next teacher, and they can benefit from the information they get about new students coming in.”
Oracle Student Learning has three core components: a Teaching and Learning Tool, which is a virtual learning environment where students, teachers, and parents construct and participate in learning activities; a Diagnostics and Reporting Tool, where student data can be analyzed and reported in real time using BI tools and interactive dashboards; and a Student Hub, which enables integration and data management of student information using the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) standard. The Student Hub can be implemented independently of the other two Oracle Student Learning Tools.
In development since 2005, Oracle Student Learning is currently in use at two Australian state government school sectors and one Australian Catholic state school sector, and is planned to debut at New York City’s innovative Quest to Learn school in the 2010-2011 school year.