Benefits of using “Open Data” in Higher Education

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MGIThe global economy is beginning to operate truly in real time, with constant streams of data showing where consumers are shopping, ships are traveling, energy and money are flowing. Now, a complementary trend is under way “Open data”: the release of information by governments and private institutions and the sharing of such data. Open Data sets are characterised by wide accessibility, machine readability, very low or no costs and minimal rights on the transformation and distribution of data. This new report from McKinsey looks at using open data in “education” next to seven other sectors including transportation, electricity, …

The report states that the largest potential benefit for education comes from using open data to improve instruction by identifying the most effective strategies and tools for teaching specific skills and knowledge. Open performance data can also be used by students and parents to make more informed decisions about choices of schools and academic or vocational concentrations. However, barriers include privacy concerns, especially for student and teacher performance data, and concern around the loss of autonomy of teachers in the classroom. In the 12-page chapter dedicated to education (in this report) it is clarified that the scope here includes K–12 and higher education that is delivered through public and private systems in the United States, the European Union, Asia-Pacific and across emerging markets.

This McKinsey research identifies five levers that can enable potential value from using open data in education:Opendata cover

  • improved instruction: using data on student performance and learning styles to personalise lessons,
  • better matching of students to programmes: helping to identify the best fit in terms of school or programme,
  • matching students to employment: open data to match the skills that employers need with the skills that candidates possess,
  • more transparent education financing,
  • more efficient system administration: exposing variations in prices paid for supplies and services.

The McKinsey researchers state that realizing the full benefits of open data in education will depend on many factors. Stakeholders will need to resolve privacy concerns.  Standardized measures will be needed for analyzing student, teacher, and school performance, and for identifying best practices.

Moreover, there are many sources of education data including education institutions and agencies, government agencies, individual students and teachers and the growing range of ratings and learning platforms.

For more information: Open Data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information: Here, you can download for free:

  • eBook for Amazon Kindle (MOBI–3MB)
  • eBook as ePub for Apple iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, and other devices (EPUB–3MB)
  • the entire 116-page report (in pdf)
  • a 24-page executive summary (in pdf)