University leaders know data is critical to their success, and many institutions are leveraging data to humanize the student experience and improve student outcomes.

During SXSW EDU, Scott Pulsipher, president of Western Governor’s University (WGU), and Marni Baker Stein, WGU’s provost and chief academic officer, outlined some of the ways WGU uses data to improve its performance at all levels.

WGU, which is competency-based and totally online, adheres to a student-centric model that tailors learning experiences to student needs, Pulsipher says, and it focuses on programs instead of individual courses. In those programs, competencies are aligned with workforce demands. The goal is to produce students who are equipped to excel in the workforce.

“We are data driven. We use data and technology to adapt the experience to every student’s needs,” he says. “When we do that, we increase the probability that any learner can succeed and achieve their degree.”

(Next page: 5 ways data improves teaching and learning)

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Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Editorial Director, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura