From the d3js.org website:
D3 allows you to bind arbitrary data to a Document Object Model (DOM), and then apply data-driven transformations to the document. For example, you can use D3 to generate an HTML table from an array of numbers. Or, use the same data to create an interactive SVG bar chart with smooth transitions and interaction.
One example that I played with is called “Sequences Sunburst.” This type of visualization is similar in function to a tree-map, except it uses a radial layout rather than a linear layout. This particular example depicts a sequence of events (i.e. a summary of users’ navigation paths through a website). Here, a “funnel” (see Figure 1) shows the percentage of users that followed a particular navigational path (e.g. from the home page to a particular product).
Another visualization that I thought was interesting and potentially relevant to representing curriculum designs was the Sankey diagram. A Sankey diagram is a kind of flow diagram, in which the width of the arrows is shown proportionally to the flow quantity. Sankey diagrams are typically used to visualize energy or material transfers between processes; however I can see them being used to represent different possible learning pathways through a curriculum design – e.g. showing different activity systems, sequences, or student behavioural patterns. In general, Sankey diagrams put a visual emphasis on the major transfers or flows within a system and are helpful in locating dominant contributions to an overall flow.
This post is part of a series in which I reflect on my experiences as a first-time explorer of various pieces of learning analytics and data mining software applications. The purpose of these explorations is for me to gain a better understanding of the current palette of tools and visualizations that may possibly support my own research in learning analytics within the context of a face-to-face/blended collaborative learning environment in secondary science.