Owen Henkel

My research focuses on the potential that recent advances in “data science” have for improving the analysis of student-level educational performance. Traditional learning environments (i.e. schools) are extremely data-rich, providing a wealth of student-specific information, such as work products, time on task, or even body language; however, this data is typically captured informally, if at all, and is rarely used in a systematic way to better understand student’s learning trajectories.

I am exploring whether methodological approaches originally designed for website optimization, online marketing, and sports analytics, can be used to improve the design, analysis, and use of formative assessments and student progress trackers. A key element of this research is to explore how these methodologies can be adapted to incorporate existing models of learning from the fields of education and psychology.

Prior to starting at Oxford, I spent the better part of the past 10 years working and studying in the field of education. After working as a classroom teacher in New Orleans as part of Teach for America, I completed a dual master’s degree at the University of Michigan where I focused on big data and education technology with a particular emphasis on MOOCs. After graduating I worked as a consultant to ed-tech startups in Latin America, and then joined Pearson Affordable Learning Fund (PALF) where I am currently Director of Efficacy and Research. My primary responsibility is working with PALF portfolio companies – education startups with a focus on accessibility – to measure, report and improve student learning outcomes. I am continuing my role at PALF while I pursue my DPhil part-time.