Data Visualisation #1

My week of learning spaces

In work, we recently completed our dreaded annual performance reviews and therefore I was particularly aware of my learning environment and how it has changed over the last year. Prior to the pandemic, I have never worked from home before, so I wanted to capture ‘where’ I work now. I was in a very reflective headspace!

In Ireland, we have had a 5km restriction placed on our movements, which has been in place since late December. I am therefore conscious of how little space I have in my 2 bedroom city centre apartment. Initially, I was hoping to create some sort of heat map visual, however, that idea evolved (plus my drawing skills are somewhat lacking). The visualisation mirrors the layout of my flat and I wanted to not only capture my movements during the week but also some of the activities that relate to that working space, such as the level of human interaction, type of work, whether I listened to music, and what device I was using.

Before starting this exercise I had a number of assumptions about my working space:

  • I stay in the one spot all day
  • I mainly work on a laptop and at a desk
  • I do not have time for reflective ‘thinking’ time
  • I have very few human interactions

Reflecting on the data, I am surprised by my movement and perhaps I now relish the freedom to roam, whereas in my office I would have been tied to the one spot. Although, I am conscious of the fact that I have to play musical chairs with my wife to accommodate her needs. I also clearly enjoy working on the sofa, which really surprised me. Regardless of what work I was doing from meetings and co-hosting webinars to research and project work, it seems to be one of my more productive spaces.

My laptop remains key to most of my activity, however, the level of human interaction depicted in the visualisation warmed my heart! In my organisation, we have tried to evolve our working structures to create more collaborative spaces and say goodbye to our silos. And the data shows me that perhaps this is now starting to bear fruit! Equally, I have to admit that my manager got this one right; self-reflection is a practice that is part of my daily routine, so I need to stop worrying about it!

I think that this visualisation and the increased awareness of my environment and work through the data collection process enabled me to break free from some of the assumptions above. Overall, I feel lighter and more positive about my learning environment and space. This week I will spend more time thinking about the data I am going to collect as well as how this may be represented visually. I am hoping that this extra planning and thought will help me produce a clearer and less complicated visual!

6 Replies to “Data Visualisation #1”

  1. I think it was a brilliant idea to organize the data around the spaces in your apartment. It has an alien feel.

    I agree with you that working from home is not as static as we could expect, and you visualized it quite well. That’s the moment when data can really be insightful.

  2. A really interesting visualization! I especially like how you’ve concentrated on spaces of working – helps remind us that even when we’re online, we are also in physical and augmented spaces, which may affect each other. I wonder whether there is anything that doing this visualization has helped you to reflect about ‘learning’, and about data generated about learning specifically? Do you think, say, a software service for monitoring students’ learning would need to pay attention to spaces of learning as well as the processes of learning that are usually measured through clicks on the interface? And what issues might such space monitoring of students introduce if so?

    1. Thanks, Ben. I think one of my main reflections from the week would be that not all my learning could actually be captured digitally. Yes, the vast majority of my activity was online, however, there were times where I was completely device free. Can you therefore really measure learning by just monitoring clicks? Does device/system/interface usage or interaction equate to learning? I think that we have to be mindful of the context that a student is learning in but to monitor that would be a step too far in my eyes. A number of our students are so wary of educational institutions and have serious trust issues, which would make monitoring this space impossible; sometimes even sharing limited personal details can be a barrier to participation.

  3. I like how your visualisation mirrors your home. It becomes less abstract. I’m also impressed that you managed to get out on the balcony at this time of year!

    1. Thanks, Susanne. I have been using my BBQ (Christmas present) at least twice a week over the last month so I think it has encouraged me to brave and embrace the outdoor elements a bit more!

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