The education system is clearly one of the fields that should and definitely will continue to change over the next decades to keep up with technological advancements. Hence, it is no surprise that artificial intelligence has found a way to become part of the learning experience. According to data, the AI education market is currently valued at half a billion USD and the amount is set to rise to six billion by 2024.
Integrating artificial intelligence capabilities into the education system brings greater benefits to teacher and student alike, allowing for a more personalized academic path, better results and better prepared individuals. In this context, let's have a look at some of the advantages of adopting AI in education.
Customized learning experiences
Since in the last couple of years the learning process has moved towards the digital world, data about students’ educational progress has significantly increased and it has become easier to manage. Data can now be collected and analyzed, leading to more personalized learning plans.
Hopefully, this will allow teachers and professors to treat students according to their needs and will provide a substantial support to those who have difficulties in keeping the same pace as their colleagues. Detecting students with learning disabilities and addressing them early in their education is much easier now, and gives better results as well.
Academic development and career path predictions
Having so much data at hand allows teachers, with the help of machine learning algorithms, to predict students’ future academic development as well as the best career path for each of them. By analyzing previous performance, AI systems will predict the future performance of a student, allowing the Ministry of Education to know how many students are expected to join secondary school and university in a certain interval.
Furthermore, based on how students respond to certain subjects, some changes can be made to the annual academic curriculum. For this, the course content is analyzed using natural language processing (NLP) and learning gaps are identified and addressed. The system can also help discover the best delivery models for students.
But this is not limited to public schools. For instance, online course provider Coursera is already using artificial intelligence to identify gaps in the courses it provides. Other companies, such as Netex Learning, allow educators to design digital curriculum and content across devices, integrating rich media like video and audio, as well as self- or online-instructor assessment.
Automatic grading system
Another key benefit for teachers is the fact that artificial intelligence capabilities allow them to automate grading for nearly all kinds of multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank testing. Moreover, experts are trying to come up with more accurate grading systems that could also asses and grade written answers and regular essays. Other similar administrative duties can also be automated, enabling teachers to spend more time focusing on the students, addressing their learning needs instead of losing several hours grading papers.
Peer learning and AI mentors
People are different so it is only normal that their academic paths and learning styles be different. Some prefer to learn on their own, some need tutors, while others study best in groups. Artificial intelligence enables teachers better identify their student's learning needs and respond accordingly. How can this be possible? Well, the AI systems analyze student data and pair students with similar results, learning paths, personalities and interests. This way, the learning process will become easier and smoother for everyone involved.
In addition, AI systems can act as tutors or mentors and ease teachers' burden in certain cases. The AI mentors' aim is to provide additional support to students in learning, doing homework, preparing for next classes. Nonetheless, at this point, these systems can only teach and help students learn things that do not require creativity or cognitive thinking.
Based on the data they manage to gather, mentors will also be able to provide students with feedback regarding their progress. For example, when it comes to online homework, the system monitors the answers and when more students submit the wrong answer, it alerts the teacher and gives future students a customized message that offers hints to the correct answer. Carnegie Learning’s “Mika” software, for instance, uses cognitive science and AI technologies to provide personalized tutoring and real-time feedback for post-secondary education students.
These programs are also working on developing systems that can help students to choose majors based on areas where they succeed and struggle. This will really help them with the decision-making process and, hopefully, will reduce the number of people who make a wrong choice because they did not have enough information or were not aware of their skills.
Preparing people for the AI era
We all know that AI is a big part of our future and that a lot of job opportunities will disappear due to robotics and machine learning algorithms. Educating and preparing students for this new world order is key. Replacing traditional teaching methods and removing obsolete majors from schools and universities is an important step. And artificial intelligence's role in this is paramount. Educational programs powered by AI are already helping students to learn basic skills, so that teachers can focus more on inspiring them, helping them develop their creativity and higher order thinking skills.
Will AI replace teachers?
When we think about artificial intelligence in education, one important question arises: will teachers become redundant? And the answer is "no". Teachers will not become redundant because they have skills that machines cannot learn or teach, at least not at this stage of AI development. Technology is evolving pretty fast, we never know what the future might bring, but for now, AI is a powerful aid to teachers globally, helping them to better address student needs.
According to a study published by eSchool News, by 2021, the application of AI in education and learning is expected to increase by 47.5%. So far, education has exclusively been based on human-to-human interaction, and adoption of AI has been a bit slower than in other domains, such as fintech or retail, to name a few. However, it has proven to be a great ally to the teaching business. AI’s ability to analyze large amounts of data in real-time has made it easier to provide new content or specified learning parameters, and also allows teachers to better understand student performance and arrange for more effective personalized learning plans.
If you want to know more about this topic, we leave you with this interesting TEDx presentation. Enjoy!