The world of academia is evolving and changing our approach to learning. The learning experience has become more personalized with advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). While we are several decades away from seeing robots take over the role of classroom teachers, AI has taken leaps into the world of education.
Today, academia has progressed significantly and education is not confined to classroom teaching. The introduction of knowledge building online platforms have made learning convenient for students and professionals seeking to level up their skill set for career growth fills up the category of learners.
It is noteworthy to determine the technology behind such platforms that have transformed online learning into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Several applications and features are powered by artificial intelligence technologies, that have made it efficient for students to have access to uninterrupted learning. Artificial intelligence tools like cloud labs have led students to have practical implementations in the comfort of their homes.
The contribution of artificial intelligence towards on-premise teaching has not remained far behind. The scope of classroom teaching and the potential benefits from such technology is a boon for teachers. The lengthy procedures of grading, bias-free grading, virtual lectures, automation of administrative tasks, and smart tutoring are some of the possibilities that have come to the foreground in the world of academia.
For students and teachers combined, AI has made strides towards shaping the educational experience into a more fruitful outcome. Some of the changes are listed in the following sections to gain insight into the perspective of AI in education.
Impact of Artificial Intelligence in education
Automation of administrative tasks
An educator is engaged with a tremendous amount of administrative duties besides their teaching. These tasks may vary between filling the student progress reports, feedback, etc. AI-powered systems can free a lot of time for teachers and allow them to focus solely on the crucial aspects of teaching like preparing educational materials and allot time for students needing more support.
For instance, the student progress report can be automated using machine learning techniques to provide analytics-based solutions. Depending on the grades scored could determine the progress and provide a graph report.
Personalized learning possibilities
AI can address the need for personalized tutoring and support. Often, educators analyze the semester-wise performance to understand the concerns of students needing support. Machine learning techniques can provide analytics insights to track the progress of the students with the student’s data in advance.
Individual students can be provided with personal tutoring help as per the identified problems. The student may provide feedback on these systems that will help an educator to understand the preferred mode of learning for students to comprehend the concepts being taught.
An essential feature that can be provided by AI is facial recognition. Facial recognition in education for security purposes and to prevent any form of malpractice during examinations. Maintaining attendance records to performing ID checks automatically reduces the workload of the educators. Another crucial contribution is AI can monitor students to identify which students are paying attention and those who are not. It can improve the overall decorum of a classroom.
Automation of the Grading process
AI can make a valuable contribution to one of the most laborious tasks in education which is the grading procedure. To manually grade every student can become monotonous and time-consuming, thereby physically draining an individual. AI can introduce automation in the process of grading and provide real-time markings and corrections.
In addition, AI can provide an understanding of a student’s pattern of answering questions to gather important information. The time taken to answer a question, the approach towards an analytical question, choice of words to answer a question are some of the patterns that can help identify a student’s actual skill during an exam.
It can provide insight into a student’s approach and if they are answering with a prediction or has actual knowledge about the answer. The grading would also be bias-free and all students will score as per their skills.
Traditionally every student goes through the phase of purchasing several books, some of which remain untouched. However, the textbook does not go through an update every year, and only after a certain period a new edition is available with minimal changes. Within a fast-paced environment, the outdated content may not be adding valuable contributions to the enhancing of a student’s knowledge. AI can provide a digitized curriculum with customizable options for a better learning experience. The content can be easily shared across different devices which saves time and improves the student-teacher experience.
Judgment free learning environment
Some students are slow learners who need specialized care to help them succeed. Such students need a trial and error-based environment where they can try and need not be worried about scoring poorly in a few attempts. AI tutors can help aid in finding the right path to guide a student towards the right references. This can extend to teachers adopting this method in their teaching and provide smart tutoring experience by providing personal tutoring help from their homes for a one on one interaction such that slow learners gain the most out of the time provided.
The AI-based application can have value-added features of real-time video interactions, smart monitoring experience for teachers, highlighting the weak points, and easier guidance and reference sharing. For example, if an English tutor is teaching a student through such an application, then there is a possibility to understand his tone of writing, the spelling and grammatical errors he is frequently repeating, and the area where the student needs more guidance.
Smart Content Interface
Smart content refers to an AI-based platform or interface that would act as a knowledge repository. It can comprise digital textbooks, guides for reference, well-structured lessons with smart visualization, important web-based links. The lessons can be updated as per a tutor’s requirements thus keeping knowledge up to date.
During lessons, a teacher may directly access the interface and visually present each reference and additional references without having to wait for the students to purchase or rent a book out of the library. The quicker access allows for lessons to have a smooth flow and the curriculum to be completed within the given time.
Making learning a global process
Education is limitless and so is the right of students to acquire the maximum knowledge from the very best of tutors and mentors. Each school and university can have a knowledge-sharing platform and invite guest academicians and industry experts to provide short and precise thoughts or bite-sized courses as per their expertise.
Each student can gain access to the content of the best mentors without having to pay a huge sum of the registration fee. This facilitates global learning by connecting the best educators with students across the globe.
Potential Benefits of AI for Students
The adoption of artificial intelligence in education allows students to have complete access to learning materials round the clock. They are free to plan their study schedule at a specific pace which reduces additional pressure on students.
More engagement towards studies
With a personalized approach towards learning, students find it more engaging toward studying with individual schedules and technical interactions. Alexa has been one of the most popular personal coaches among several technology innovations in recent times. With the use of Alexa, students have developed a keen interest in finding more information for knowledge building in a conversational manner.
Artificial intelligence in education has revolutionized how schools and universities are helping students for easier access to information. The smart systems are used for individual interaction between counselors and prospective and current students to understand their mindset and provide information according to it.
The tasks involved are helping to choose the best courses, aid in the transition of students from schools to colleges. There is a strong possibility of using recommendation systems based on student behavioral patterns to help choose the best schools or programs as per the interests.
Successful Startups and Established companies developing AI for education
Artificial intelligence is gaining a stronger foothold with a stronger purpose to serve and provide a complete learning experience to the students. Below is the list of some of the upcoming startups that are developing AI for education and e-learning platforms.
Country: China | Funding: $100M
Objective: Liulishuo aims to provide professional help for English learners. With the help of cutting edge technology such as AI, the company seeks to explore newer models for teaching English with the help of practicing listening and speaking options to help their communications efficiently.
Country: USA | Funding: $32.5
Objective: In the times of digital transformation, Osmo has redefined how children learn. The company develops games that require creative thinking to interact with tangible objects with the digital device. This allows collaboration of technology and a learning experience with practical implementation.
Country: USA | Revenue: $369.5M
Objective: Nuance is one of the established companies that have ventured into the territory of AI in education. The focus is to helps students who struggle with writing or have mobility issues. The company’s AI-based tools enhance spelling ability and word recognition. Tutors can use the software for dictating the lecture for later usage.
Country: UK | Funding: $2.7M
Objective: Century Tech uses AI combined with data science, cognitive neuroscience, and teachers to create a personalized platform for reducing the workload of teachers. This platform helps to identify knowledge gaps, student progress tracking, personal study recommendations, and feedback. There is also a provision of access to resources for teachers to help manage their workload in terms of planning the study, grading, and evaluating the homework of students more efficiently.
Country: UK | Funding: $21.8M
Objective: Memrise targets the development of a language-learning app that is powered by machine learning technology to adapt according to the learner’s needs as they progress through the lessons.
Country: China | Funding: $10.3M
This company is yet another startup that has focused on training the learners for correct pronunciation and reduced accents with the help of speech recognition technology behind the mobile application.
Country: UK | Funding: $130M
Objective: Blippar focuses on the combination of computer vision and augmented reality to create an interactive platform for students to enhance their classroom experience. The subject matter includes the likes of biology, physics, and geography. Instead of a theoretical explanation, the system displays a virtual 3D model to students based on that theory to have an engaging learning experience.
Country: USA | Funding: $4.7M
Objective: Thinkster Math is a tablet and desktop-based tutoring platform mainly targeting the K-8 or elementary middle schools. The purpose is to combine AI for human interaction and provide a suitable custom made program for students. The technology maintains a track of the progress and explains to students why they are correct or why they made an error.
Country: Sweden | Latest deal amount: $72K
Objective: An award-winning company in the Edtech platform that targets test assessment with the help of cognitive computing. Student’s skills such as creativity, ethical reflection, and reasoning are some of the factors that can be evaluated with the help of AI. There is a deep-learning-based text analytical technology incorporated into the cognitive system that automatically categorizes and analyzes the feedback from students.
With 28.7 million student enrollments and 1.5 million registered educators, MobyMax is one of the largest EdTech platforms. In 2019, MobyMax was awarded the best adaptive technology solutions in the U.S. It is a free web-based learning platform that has employed artificial intelligence for the creation of an adaptive curriculum for K-8 students for Math, Languages, Vocabulary, and Fluency.
With the help of machine learning techniques, MobyMax is capable of providing personalized lessons to students as per their individual needs. The learning gap is identified with the use of adaptive learning materials. Practice sheets are generated automatically for students to test their learning and each student is awarded contest certificates, badges, games, and smiles to motivate the students to continue learning.
Learning management system with the help of AI
As per the reports of Markets and Markets, the global learning management system (LMS) is expected to grow from $9.2 billion in 2018 to a staggering $22.4 billion by 2023. A major impact has been on the growing usage of artificial intelligence in LMS to ensure a smoother learning experience. LMS has proven to be a development that has benefited students and teachers on a great scale.
There is the ease of planning and evaluating tasks and easier access to materials and monitoring progress and grading. The LMS platform has become a key component in schools, colleges, and universities. However, with the tremendous amount of data generated from it and the newer technologies becoming widely recognized, LMS needs to be reinvented to cater to the requirements of the learners.
Some of the usage AI for employing in LMS are listed below.
- Adaptive training with a personalized approach.
- Highly engaging tools.
- The identification of learner’s progress and their needs and motivations as well as the weaker points of a learner and the cause of it.
- Feedback from learners in real-time is possible.
- Boost retention rates by providing shorter and more precise content.
- Overall improvement of the learning experience.
- Access to a trainer for personal interaction in case of any learning problem.
- Access to lab work.
- Real-time feedback to students and the lessons they might need to revisit due to certain errors in evaluation.
Artificial intelligence is an essential factor in education, to improve certain potholes in traditional approaches. However, to gain the maximum out of the capabilities of AI one must be aware of striking the balance between machines and human involvement to enrich the learning experience.
The primary aim of artificial intelligence in education should not be to replace the teachers but to make their jobs easier and quicker.
With AI, teachers and students should be able to build a knowledge-based environment that breaks the barriers of communication to ensure effective one-on-one interactions for answering the needs of the students. A key aspect of AI is to bring an understanding of the need for bias and judgment-free experience as it is crucial to let students learn without feeling any humiliation in any form.
The identification of gaps and the right curriculum will benefit from AI for making it easier for creating them and sharing them with ease. While the need for great teachers and mentors will remain, the use of AI can make education more accessible.