How AI can help Students in Online Education

The following is a guest post by Pete McCain, a technology startup enthusiast associated with App Velocity. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

There was a time when we all were highly skeptical about online education because we couldn’t fathom a computer screen replacing our classrooms and the education ideals that come with them. But now examining the impact of online education, we can clearly see how eagerly we’ve embraced the idea of e-learning. It has levelled up education in the developed parts of the world and democratized education where schools and teachers couldn’t reach.

We’ve come a long way as far as online education is concerned. However, there’s a still long road ahead with many developments to come. One of the major developments on the horizon is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most passionately debated subjects in the world of technology. For some, it’s the biggest and the most dangerous threat to our world. While for others, artificial intelligence is the beacon of hope that will bring positive fundamental changes to our daily lives. Hold your horses whichever side you’re on as we’re not going to delve into this debate (and you can understand why).

It’s predicted that almost no industry in the world will be left untouched by AI, and Education is no exception. The latest report by TechNavio forecasts the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector to grow at a CAGR of 47.77% during the period 2018-2022.

This continuous rise of Artificial Intelligence in education is going to bring a bundle of good news for students and in particular, for the students taking their education online. Let’s explore 5 different ways AI is going to improve e-learning.

1. Custom-tailored Learning for Each Student

Artificial Intelligence is primarily driven by data. It collects information about the student from various sources to gain an extensive understanding. This data could include preferences, interests, strengths & weaknesses, past courses, etc. AI, depending upon the student, could put more emphasis on subjects that a student might be struggling at.

2. Feedback to Educators

No matter how good of an educator you are or how good the educational material is, there’s always room for improvement. However, it can be difficult to gain insight into what areas need improvement. Here comes AI. Through its algorithms, it will fetch data about topics that students have not understood properly and will give this feedback to the course designers and/or educators.

For example, if most of the students give a wrong answer to a certain question, then there’s a good possibility that they haven’t understood the topic clearly. AI will dig deep into the possible reasons behind it and will provide valuable feedback that will improve the quality of education.

3. AI Tutors: The Next Big Thing in Online Education?

One of the major arguments that go against e-learning is the lack of personal touch. No matter how much you love e-learning, this argument will always go against you. And you can’t deny that there’s a degree of truth to this as well.

This argument won’t hold water for much longer as AI is set to bridge this gap with AI tutors. Students will be able to turn to a robot (a computer program) to help them understand difficult parts of the course. This is surely great news for students as it’s no secret that AI tutor helps them learn better and faster.

This sort of technology is already in its pilot mode and your tutor could be on its way sooner than expected. Excited?

4. Smart Content

AI can produce the content of your textbook. Now, read the sentence again. Read it once again if you couldn’t absorb it. Yes, the robots are going to be much-much smarter than we expect them to be and they’re not only going to teach you but will design your learning material as well. And that’s not all as they will also produce virtual content such as video lectures to help you understand better. If you’re a visual learner like me, you couldn’t get more excited, could you?

One such example of such technology is Cram101, which has AI as its driving force and produces textbooks that are easier to understand and navigate. If you’ve had a hard time understanding a textbook (and I’m sure you have), smart content could be of immense help.

5. Adding Games to Your Education

Go back to your Kindergarten days and remember how your teacher used to teach you by making you play different games. Machine learning is going to do the same. Well, sort of. Many researchers and companies are exploring the possibility of constructing tactical games for students to speed up their understanding and make the process fun at the same time. There are plenty of apps available in the market which use a gamification approach i.e. Duolingo.

Gamification is crucial in education because our current methods of learning, namely reading and listening, are very limited in serving their purpose because of our human limitations. It’s been researched that learners recall only 10% of what they hear and only 20% of what they actively listen to. This number rises to 30% if you add visual presentations but not above that. However, if students are given the job to teach themselves through a game, they recall around a whopping 90%!

If I were a student, I’d be licking my lips (well, not literally) for such games. And you know what? Many are. Almost 80% of the students responded that they’ll welcome such learning, and so would you.

Last Word

We’ve witnessed massive changes in the way we eat, shop, communicate, and many other day-to-day aspects of our lives. And now, we’re on the verge of witnessing a remarkable fundamental change that will redefine our paradigms of learning. It’s no longer the question of ifs and buts, now only one question remains and that is ‘when.’

Author’s Bio: Pete McCain is a technology startup enthusiast, associated with AppVelocity – one of the best app development companies in Toronto. He has collaborated with more than 50 entrepreneurs – over the last decade – to maximize growth and contribute to technical excellence.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

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