Artificial Intelligence: On The Way To Improve Education

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Artificial Intelligence: On The Way To Improve Education

Today’s education is static, generalized and fails to provide individualized attention to students corresponding to their needs, skills and pace of learning. This equally applies to higher education, current MOOCs and corporate e-learning. On the other hand, digital market requires life-long learning and constant skills development.

Current online learning solutions and MOOCs don’t meet the needs of learners, which is proved by low completion rates — only 5–10% of learners ever finish a MOOC course, i.e. 9 of every 10 learners quit.
The existent online learning is demotivating, with no feedback, no teacher for instant assessment and answering questions. It follows ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy and is too generalized. It is also static, non-adaptive, doesn’t respond to personal learner’s needs.

Moreover, long video-lectures are irrelevant and boring, and don’t correspond with the growing trend of micro-learning. Current online learning platforms deliver content, not learning experience.
Most of them can be described as a factory-line which expects the same result in the same time frame. As human beings are complex beyond the reach of even the most advanced science, the factory approach is not ideal when it comes to transferring knowledge to a diversified new generation.

The impersonal nature of MOOCs is one of the biggest problems with them. In many cases, thousands of students enrol in a single section with a single instructor. students are left with no guidance, little to no interaction, and no answers when stuck. It’s easy to see how a student may get frustrated searching for answers online or waiting for someone to answer a forum post.

The key to learning new skills lies in a learner’s ability to get feedback and support from people with knowledge in the relevant field. Unfortunately, in-depth feedback simply isn’t possible in most MOOCs. Many instructors teach unpaid and even the most generous simply aren’t capable of correcting hundreds or thousands of papers a week.

Students often require personal interaction or personalized attention from their teachers, and current MOOCs simply cannot provide this on an adequate level. A.J. Jacobs said it best, discussing his experience with MOOCs in a recent opinion piece for the NY Times: “The first thing I learned? When it comes to Massive Open Online Courses like those offered by Coursera, Udacity and edX, you can forget about the Socratic Method.”

On the other hand, one-to-one training with a tutor, which is considered to be the most effective way of teaching, is expensive and not affordable to many. There is also a lack of human teachers in many parts of the world, and such training is not accessible for many learners.

Current market with its rapid changes and growing technology advancements requires labour to constantly acquire new skills, and life- long learning has become a necessity for everyone. Learners committed to lifelong learning, who have to distribute their time between their jobs and their studies, need customizable learning solutions to update their knowledge as their careers evolve.

There is a growing need for methods of delivering quality education to more students, while students demand more engaging and relevant learning experiences tailored to their needs. In today’s online learning environment, it’s necessary to give all students the level of support they need, ongoing, meaningful feedback on their work.

All educators emphasize the importance of deep understanding and critical thinking. A growing body of research suggests that engaging students in cognitively challenging tasks, providing immediate feedback, ongoing and meaningful assessment and personalizing instruction are key in meeting this goal — but these are difficult to implement at scale in most current online learning systems.

Artificial Intelligence can help solve all the above-mentioned problems by providing affordable accessible personalized learning, where every student has access to the skills they need.

AI can make education more flexible and inclusive, at the same time providing personalised and adaptive learning experience to each and every student anytime and anywhere.

It can put an end to traditional testing systems and measure academic abilities and achievement in a more nuanced way. Students can be given opportunity to learn according to their own preferences, with tutors focusing less on lecturing and more on coaching, aided by analytics to choose the most effective methods.

Ultimately, deep learning algorithms can provide students with information about their own cognitive abilities and behaviour, so that they can understand their own optimal learning setting and use this knowledge for their benefit. Natural language, computer vision, and deep learning can replace teachers in answering students’ routine questions or acting as tutorial supervisors.

Finally, AI can assist in forming the most effective groups for collaborative learning experience by applying machine learning algorithms to data from students’ education profile, social media, and surveys.

Personalized AI-curated one-to-one learning, adaptive skill assessments, clear result system and achievement tracking provide a more productive route for students to master the right skills at the right time. It is an active way of learning that gives its users an opportunity to learn wherever and whenever they want, developing skills that are essential for the labour market, but at the same time eliminating the need for human teachers.

The benefits of AI and its huge potential are evident, but the transformative effects of AI-enabled learning are yet to be experienced by the educational system, which lives up to its reputation of being a sector of slow adoption of technology and innovation.