Visualising Analysis as a Process



I have been able to do a lot of reading in the last few weeks as part of a research project with Teaching and Learning at the University of Canberra.
I am exploring the learning analytics literature to investigate how teachers might use augmented information to support students’ and their own learning journeys.
This has included literature that might inform my re-view of qualitative approaches to analytics.

George Polya

One of my delightful finds has been George Ploya’s How to Solve it (originally published in 1945).
In his discussion of how to understand a problem, George asks “Can you think of a picture or a diagram that might help you understand the problem?”.
This led me to think about visualisations as heuristics and as ways to explore one’s own cognitive maps.

Two Examples

In the last few days I have found two examples of visualisations of the analysis process.
The first is from Thomas Davenport, Jeannie Harris and Robert Morison’s Analytics at Work (2010:7).
The second is from a Gartner glossary:
I do feel much more comfortable with a matrix rather than a 45 degree line. I include the Gartner example here to help me to work through how I might visualise an analysis process.
The use of visualisation as a heuristic device is occupying my thoughts at the moment too as I contemplate how we might induct learners into performance analysis and performance analytics.
A video from FiveThirtyEight about choosing a visualisation has taken me further in thinking about the narrative that can develop as we discuss process issues.
I wonder if you have some ways to represent the analysis process that might add to my heuristics.

Photo Credit

Dawn on Elrington (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)


  1. Interesting – I wonder if it relates to being more ‘Right’ or ‘Left’ sided brains?
    I found the Gartner ‘Big Data’ analysis diagram for power (interesting) from a coaching view; what its saying is that although knowing ‘how you got there’ adds some value its not a particularly challenging thing to do (How often do you get the comment that hindsight come with 20-20 vision?).
    The challenge for a coach is that the foresight bit is very (very) difficult (ie demanding) but if you’re prepared to do the ground work and ‘think forward’ then you do indeed add value. Clearly it becomes a kind of arms race of doing the foresight stuff planning and delivering the relevant coaching and then doing the hindsight stuff to help the next round of foresight.
    I wonder how much forward thinking Claudio Ranieri does with Leicester City?

    • Hello, Gordon.
      Thank you for your observations. I was wondering if your professional life gave you insights into the process.
      What has excited me about Claudio is his cognitive map of performance and how to perform.
      I hope that if I was to have dinner with him he might sketch out his visualisation on a napkin or the tablecloth.I think he and George might get on.
      As ever, thank you for finding the post. I am replying just after watching the Swifts make it to the Trans Tasman netball grand final.


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