Is ‘big data’ dead?

Ok, so this article — ‘Big data’ is dead. What’s next? — is already a few weeks old. (Where did February go, anyway?) But, I still think it’s worth sharing… Having heard about for the last few years, but never truly wrapped my brain all the way around ‘big data’ (particularly in the context of learning analytics and other educational data), I found this very interesting. And I’d love to hear others’ thoughts.

In the Venture Beat article, which I discovered via twitter (yay for the wacky, if rich, learning community that is twitter!), John De Goes claims that “The phrase “big data” is now beyond completely meaningless.” Semantics have always fascinated me (hence the posts on this blog about what actionable data is, exactly, and what it is not, though I feel I still have more thinking out loud to do about that). De Goes doesn’t get tangled only in the overuse of the term ‘big data’ but goes on to say this before proposing some clever alternative terms:

Now that big data is dead, we’re free to move onto the next chapter of our lives. Which, from a data perspective, means we can stop worrying about the volume, variety, velocity, veracity and verisimilitude of data … and begin focusing on ways to impact bottom-line metrics by leveraging the talent, tools, and technologies that are slowly making their way into mainstream.

Well that sounds great, right? What do you think?

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One thought on “Is ‘big data’ dead?

  1. Sheila B Robinson, Ed. D

    What do I think? I think I just love the word “verisimilitude” and find it grossly underused in casual conversation. With regard to “big data,” I’m with you. Size doesn’t matter. Actionability does. My new thinking of late is around “evaluative thinking” – going beyond the hype around data collection and analysis, but thinking about HOW and WHY we’re collecting analyzing and interpreting data, and how we’re going to USE data to make decisions to impact programs. AND, it’s about engaging in this thinking BEFORE we even collect the first datum (does anyone use that word anymore?) or select or design the measurement instruments. 🙂 Please pardon my use of all caps in places, but I’ve just come in contact with a poorly written survey and it’s making my blood boil and my skin crawl to the point that I can’t even be one the respondents they need (b/c I love the organization that sent it)! They didn’t use evaluative thinking and I don’t think they’ll get actionable data!

    Reply

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