Data-Driven vs. Student-Driven Education

Posted by Andrea GronbergO

October 5, 2017

Data-driven and student-driven education have long been in contention with one-another, and some believe that they cannot coexist. However, despite how divisive the subject can be, almost anyone can agree that the common goal of educators, parents, and stakeholders should be to better prepare students for life and for their future careers. This is where the argument of data-driven versus student-driven education comes into play.


What’s the Difference?

Simply put, our industry defines data-driven education as the practice leveraging measurable data, such as assessment results to inform teaching and focus learning on student needs. Meanwhile, student-driven education is defined as focusing more on personal experience, and planning education around the interests and strengths of the student. These two paradigms seem to represent opposite ends of the spectrum: the personal versus the mechanical. However, these two points of view may be more interconnected than you think.


The Value of Moderation

While data-driven and student-driven learning seem to be in opposition, at Hoonuit we believe that both of these approaches can be used in tandem as part of a larger strategy. Teaching students is a very personal task, and each individual is different. Because of this, it is beneficial to use a more student-driven approach to learning. However, it can be hard to understand and meet the needs of each individual student without a comprehensive collection of data. Learning and student growth can’t be simply equated to a list of numbers and collections of data on a spreadsheet. This data evidence is one tool among many in your toolbox that work together collectively to empower educators to help students move forward in their educational journey. In short, student-driven education can be considered the goal, while data-driven methods can be treated as a means to achieve that goal.



All in all, data-driven and student-driven education are more than just two opposites on a spectrum, they are interconnected principles that can be used to enhance one another and lead to more comprehensive education. A data-driven approach can help achieve the goal of more personal and tailored student-driven education, effectively combining the best of both worlds. This unique approach can help us reach the common goal of better education.

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