COVID-19 Shines a light on the huge possibilities of AI in Education

Patrick Buckley    9 October, 2020
Young Student Holding iPad

In 2020 remote learning platforms have become essential for students around the world as a result the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these platforms incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology which continues to improve the outcomes of students and educators. In this piece, I will share with you the three main ways AI continues to revolutionise the way in which students learn.

Enhanced personal development

The main benefit of AI in education is that it allows for students to experience personalised learning experiences. The Personalisation of learning acts as a catalyst for individual growth and development. Through the compilation of personal performance data, platforms can adjust material suggested to the user in accordance with their individual ability. This not only allows for high performing students to develop a more advanced understanding, but it also allows for less able students to consolidate information at an appropriate pace, maximising the potential of each student.

This concept is illustrated by the language learning app ‘Duolingo’ which tailors its suggested material to each user depending on their pre-existing knowledge.

Given the positive impact Personalised Learning has on personal development, it is no surprise that education tools which incorporate AI  have experienced exponential growth in recent years. Duolingo saw its number of uses increase from just 125,000 people in 2012 to over 30 million in 2019.

Improved Engagement Amongst Students

It is often argued that students are becoming increasingly uninspired by existing learning techniques. This is, in part, due to the lack of interaction and personal attention offered in a traditional classroom setting. Interactive so-called ‘Classroom Management Tools’ aim to motivate students by offering an increased level of personal attention that cannot be feasibly given by a class teacher.

Market leader, ‘Class Craft’, is a virtual learning platform which uses the principles of a typical computer game as a framework for lessons, rewarding good behaviour and performance with game points. Simultaneously, Class Craft is able to track each pupil’s ability in crucial skills such as critical thinking and empathy, allowing teachers to understand more about each pupil whilst encouraging the engagement of students.

Assessment Automation leads to increased learning opportunities

According to a study carried out in January 2020 by leading management consultancy McKinsey and Company, teachers spend just 49% of their working hours interacting directly with their students. The rest of their time is spent carrying out administrative and evaluative tasks.

As AI technologies develop, there is an enhanced potential for automation in these tasks, allowing the teacher to spend more time interacting directly with the students. This, ultimately will give students more opportunities to learn.

Online multiple-choice assessments are increasingly being used by institutions of all academic levels to cut down on the marking burden, but it is clear that there is a lot of potential for innovation here as emotional intelligence capabilities evolve.

Conclusion

The power of AI in education cannot be underestimated. Although we can clearly see the potential for personalised learning platforms to increase the performance and engagement of students, we must also consider the impact of AI on the role of educators. If the power of AI can be fully harnessed to significantly reduce the workload of teachers, increased learning opportunities for students will be a direct and significant consequence.

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