Big Data, Adaptive Learning and the Assumptions behind Part 1

This post on adaptive learning and big data sounds interesting. Thanks to Stephen Downes for the reference.

What are the significance of big data?

What is adaptive learning?

What are the assumptions behind the relationship between big data and adaptive learning?

Here is my previous post relating MOOC to adaptive system.

Before I could address the three questions above, here is my comment to my previous post:

What questions of learning would lead to a particular learning theory? If you ask me a question of learning based on behavior learning theory, surely I could gather evidences which could match your questions.
Similarly, if you ask me if instructivist approach is best for teaching, like those in xMOOCs, I could show you all the great, positive and praising and thankful responses from the learners on the professors, and course content, and the high distinctions result of the students, as evidence of great pedagogy of mastery learning, and the cognitivism/behaviorism play a major role in the whole notion of learning. Experiments and empirical researches surely have demonstrated these under classroom environments.
Would these be equally true and effective in virtual learning environment? If we are to use the assessment results like an improvement and grades or scores as evidence of learning achievement, we may likely end up with the theory that cognitivism relates to learning most directly, as the intellectual capability of a person is demonstrated through the achievement of results in test, examination or assignment. These seem certainly be the case, under a formal education system.
However, how about the social aspects of learning? Could we assume that a highly intelligent person (who is tested with high IQ or highest achiever) be socially capable in connecting with others in classroom, workplace or community? What assumptions have we made in judging the correlations between individual intellectualism and social skills and social intelligence? Would we be able to easily delineate the relationships between all these various parameters and factors? You could quote examples in real life indicating that many highly intellectual scholars won’t socialize, and these included Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, etc, but that they were highly successful in their academic achievement, and should be role models for many learners. Did this prove anything about personal learning or social learning as explained under learning theories? Again, this depends on what assumptions you have made, and what questions that you are asking in your scientific research, or inquiry in learning.

If you ask me if connectivist approach is best for learning under a complex learning environment, I could show you social network analysis, and how the 4 properties of openness, diversity, autonomy, interactivity and connectivity lead to better networked learning, under Connectivism.

In summary, it is not what I want it to be that would lead Connectivism to become a learning theory. It is what you could demonstrate and theorise that would lead one to “believe” in certain validity and reliability of a learning theory such as Connectivism.

How would I relate the big data to adaptive learning?  I would explore these in the coming posts.