Overview

Last updated: 07 Aug 18 15:28 CEST

adlantics is an integrated system for advanced learning analytics. Its main objective is to unearth actionable patterns from large sets of learning records so that training organizations can more effectively manage their training. At its core, adlantics provides fast, reliable, and secure mechanisms for:

  • storing learning records,
  • computing aggregates, trends, patterns, and other “intelligent, non-obvious” summaries of learning records,
  • generating optimized plans for future training execution, including powerful “what-if” capabilities, and
  • taking automated action if the organization is not performing to plan.

adlantics is capable of doing so for even the largest and most dynamic learning environments where millions of learning records are generated every hour.

As an example, consider a professional pilot training organization where, at any given moment in time, dozens of learners are busy with theoretical (classroom sessions, homework, exams) or practical (simulators and aircraft of various sizes and complexities, with or without instructors) training. At the same time, instructors and administrative personnel are busy managing training operations, including identifying and coaching weak learners, scheduling training assets, revising and improving the curriculum, etc. All these activities leave millions of small data points (called learning records) that paint a picture of the organization’s operations and successes over time. Using adlantics, learners, instructors, training managers, and auditors can make sense of these learning records, systematically monitor and improve training over time, and even let the adlantics system intervene autonomously under defined circumstances. For example, the system can be set up to autonomously show students their weak spots and team them up with classmates who have already mastered the subject in question.

At the end of this section you will be able to:

  • identify the key components of the adlantics platform as well as their function,
  • understand the “platform as a service” nature of adlantics, and
  • identify the different methods for interacting with the adlantics platform.

adlantics Platform Overview

The adlantics platform is offered as a service (PaaS = platform as a service) which has two important implications:

  • The term platform refers to the fact that adlantics is not primarily an end-user-facing web application such as the Google search engine or popular news sites. Instead, its primary target audience is developers of complex learning applications who use adlantics’ reliable high-performance storage and data processing facilities without having to worry about complex mathematical models or technical details such as data security or backups. Building their application on the adlantics platform allows developers to focus on the specifics of their application and on building engaging user interfaces and dashboards. Below, we will describe how the adlantics Visual Console provides a basic visual user interface to what is otherwise a collection of programming interfaces. However, the Visual Console serves primarily as a quick access tool and as a practical example of how to develop based on the adlantics platform, not as a general-purpose user interface.

  • The term as a service refers to the fact that adlantics is primarily offered as a service over the public internet. Client developers create applications that upload learning records to the adlantics platform for storage and processing, and they retrieve complex aggregates, trends, and other analytical data in return. By consuming adlantics as a service, developers are freed from the intricacies of operating high-performance analytical applications.

The following figure illustrates the basic building blocks involved in a typical adlantics-based application, referred to as the client below:

adlantics Platform Architecture

We will now consider each of the adlantics-provided components in turn.

Platform Components

The adlantics platform consists of multiple complementary services that its users can choose from. Not every user will require all of these services, and its ability to let users select individual services without having to learn about the entire platform’s functionality is one of adlantics’ strengths. For example, by using only the adlantics Experience Store (xs, the adlantics incarnation of a learning records store, or LRS for short), users can already store any amount of learning data quickly, reliably, and with strong quality guarantees. xs additionally supports high-performance aggregates over millions of learning records that can provide valuable insights in and by themselves. As the user’s requirements grow, she might bring in the Data Xcelerator for efficient data streaming, the Analytics Engine for complex, machine-learning based analyses of the data, or the Management component to monitor adlantics platform usage and create audit statements.

Experience Store

The adlantics Experience Store (xs) is an xAPI-aligned learning records store (LRS). It provides a reliable, high-performance storage engine with strong data quality guarantees and fast and flexible query facilities.

Analytics Engine

The adlantics Analytics Engine (ae) is a flexible analytical service that computes complex summaries on learning records stored in xs, and that provides advanced planning and optimization features. For example, using ae, users can quickly cluster learners with similar strengths and weaknesses, analyze the discriminative power of assessment questions and distractor quality, create optimized plans training execution and analyze the impact of curriculum changes from one cohort to the next.

Data Xcelerator

The adlantics Data Xcelerator (dx) provides a high-performance data upload and streaming tool with built-in connectivity to many popular sources of learning records.

Management

The adlantics Management interface (mg) allows users to access system usage records, billing details, and audit trails.

Visual Console

The adlantics Visual Console (vc) gives users interactive access to the adlantics platform. The vc gives users quick visual access to the system without having to use its programmatic interfaces. The vc simultaneously serves as a full-scale programming example of how to develop applications based on the adlantics platform.

Conclusion and Further Reading