Understand, develop and enhance the learning process with big data

Soraya Sedkaoui (Universite de Khemis Miliana, Algeria, and SRY Consulting, Montpellier, France)
Mounia Khelfaoui (Universite de Khemis Miliana, Khemis Miliana, Algeria)

Information Discovery and Delivery

ISSN: 2398-6247

Publication date: 1 March 2019



With the advent of the internet and communication technology, the penetration of e-learning has increased. The digital data being created by the educational and research institutions is also on the ascent. The growing interest in recent years toward big data, educational data mining and learning analytics has motivated the development of new analytical ways and approaches and advancements in learning settings. The need for using big data to handle, analyze this large amount of data is prime. This trend has started attracting the interest of educational institutions which have an important role in the development skills process and the preparation of a new generation of learners. “A real revolution for education,” it is based on this kind of terms that many articles have paid attention to big data for learning. How can analytics techniques and tools be so efficient and become a great prospect for the learning process? Big data analytics, when applied into teaching and learning processes, might help to improvise as well as to develop new paradigms. In this perspective, this paper aims to investigate the most promising applications and issues of big data for the design of the next-generation of massive e-learning. Specifically, it addresses the analytical tools and approaches for enhancing the future of e-learning, pitfalls arising from the usage of large data sets. Globally, this paper focuses on the possible application of big data techniques on learning developments, to show the power of analytics and why integrating big data is so important for the learning context.


Big data has in the recent years been an area of interest among innovative sectors and has become a major priority for many industries, and learning sector cannot escape to this deluge. This paper focuses on the different methods of big data able to be used in learning context to understand the benefits it can bring both to teaching and learning process, and identify its possible impact on the future of this sector in general. This paper investigates the connection between big data and the learning context. This connection can be illustrated by identifying the several main analytics approaches, methods and tools for improving the learning process. This can be clearer by the examination of the different ways and solutions that contribute to making a learning process more agile and dynamic. The methods that were used in this research are mainly of a descriptive and analytical nature, to establish how big data and analytics methods develop the learning process, and understand their contributions and impacts in addressing learning issues. To this end, authors have collected and reviewed existing literature related to big data in education and the technology application in the learning context. Authors then have done the same process with dynamic and operational examples of big data for learning. In this context, the authors noticed that there are jigsaw bits that contained important knowledge on the different parts of the research area. The process concludes by outlining the role and benefit of the related actors and highlighting the several directions relating to the development and implementation of an efficient learning process based on big data analytics.


Big data analytics, its techniques, tools and algorithms are important to improve the learning context. The findings in this paper suggest that the incorporation of an approach based on big data is of crucial importance. This approach can improve the learning process, for this, its implementation must be correctly aligned with educational strategies and learning needs.

Research limitations/implications

This research represents a reference to better understanding the influence and the role of big data in educational dynamic. In addition, it leads to improve existing literature about big data for learning. The limitations of the paper are given by its nature derived from a theoretical perspective, and the discussed ideas can be empirically validated by identifying how big data helps in addressing learning issues.


Over the time, the process that leads to the acquisition of the knowledge uses and receives more technological tools and components; this approach has contributed to the development of information communication and the interactive learning context. Technology applications continue to expand the boundaries of education into an “anytime/anywhere” experience. This technology and its wide use in the learning system produce a vast amount of different kinds of data. These data are still rarely exploited by educational practitioners. Its successful exploitation conducts educational actors to achieve their full potential in a complex and uncertain environment. The general motivation for this research is assisting higher educational institutions to better understand the impact of the big data as a success factor to develop their learning process and achieve their educational strategy and goals. This study contributes to better understand how big data analytics solutions are turned into operational actions and will be particularly valuable to improve learning in educational institutions.



This paper forms part of the special section “Higher education information discovery, analytics, and dissemination”, guest edited by Mounir Kehal and Dr Justin Zhang.


Sedkaoui, S. and Khelfaoui, M. (2019), "Understand, develop and enhance the learning process with big data", Information Discovery and Delivery, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 2-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/IDD-09-2018-0043

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