Visual Analytics Researcher


Image of Halimat Alabi

Formally trained as an engineer, I describe myself as an interactive visualization designer. After receiving a degree in Acoustical Engineering from Purdue University I went into news, working in the newsrooms of PBS, FOX and CBS stations. Later I obtained a master’s degree in Television, Film and New Media Production and later an M.Ed. in Mathematics, Science, Social Studies & Technology Education. From there I went on to work in console game development for Sony and THQ. I have worked on PSP, PS2, PS3 and Wii games. This experience and love of all things entertaining has forever shaped my perspective as a designer and my expectations for interactions with visual analytics.

I am currently a permanent lecturer in the Master of Educational Technology program at the University of British Columbia. It is truly fascinating what calls people to be educators and how our motivations manifest in the learning environments that we create. As educators, how do we embody the theories we espouse? How do we best utilize technology to empower learners? Education traverses social, political, and cultural boundaries – both real and imagined. Digital media has become one of the most powerful educational forces in contemporary culture. Educational technologists must be concerned not only with curricula, but also with the broader societal implications of the technologies we adopt. Forever aspirational, I am excited by the myriad of possibilities created by the learning experiences we design and support.

My personal call to action was witnessing intelligent, talented adult learners struggle to accurately assess their own academic performance in my courses. This was the catalyst for my doctoral research, the development of a visual cognition model of how learners evaluate their learning using learning analytics visualizations. I received a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship for this work, which is the touchpoint for my exploration of how novel visualization techniques may be used to create positive feedback loops for learners, as they extract meaningful patterns from their data. My book chapter, ‘A Language and a Space: Visualizing Learning Online,’ is published in the learning analytics textbook, Developing Effective Educational Experiences through Learning Analytics.”


In information visualization, the question is the answer. Visualizations must effectively address users' query and analysis needs; they may also be used to provide formative feedback during the users' process of discovery. I seek to explore how interactive systems employing novel visualization techniques may be used to create engaging, positive feedback loops. Specifically, I want to explore the question: how may visual analytics be used to improve learning, self-regulation, self-awareness, and communication?

Image of Computer Screen Research & Teaching

My research draws from theories and research methods self-regulation in education, human computer interaction, and game theory to help users visually extract meaningful patterns from their data.

Image of Game Controller Games

In the console video game industry I worked on PSP, PS2, PS3 and Wii projects with inspiring individuals.

Image of Film Camera TV & Video Projects

My work takes many different forms. I am fascinated with the power of all storytelling mediums and often do film projects, iI addition to the work in games and television I did in previous positions.