Introduction to Artificial Intelligence for Digital Learning
2. May 2019
Artificial intelligence (AI) is what enables machines to “learn” from and adapt to interactions with users. AI operates by following the logical rules determined by an algorithm, and it can analyse vast amounts of data in real-time. One common example of an AI algorithm would be the one used by Netflix to make movie recommendations based on a user’s previous choices. 2 Using this data analysis power, AI can provide content, personalised tools and targeted feedback that help to meet learner needs.1 When the right algorithm is used, then a task can be done more efficiently and successfully.2 Studies show that the application of AI in the education industry will increase by 47.5% by 2021, and we will see the technology in a wide variety of classrooms from grade school to corporate training.1
How does AI help students?
AI is already being using in e-learning with much success. AI powered chatbots can engage with learners in a conversational way to help them gather information and refine skillsets. Two major current uses of AI in e-learning are: providing immediate answers to questions and providing relevant follow-up questions or prompts.2
An AI algorithm can be supplied with information so that it appears to understand and will respond to user questions.2 For example, a new employee who is being onboarded will have basic questions about the organisation and its policies, and he or she can interact with the chatbot to get the answers. The chatbot takes information from an official company database to ensure that it gives correct responses. Similarly, a chatbot can help facilitate a training course if it programmed to deliver information on the subject.
AI can also be used to intelligently administer quizzes and tests, for instance, in chatbot format. By analysing the learner’s responses and drawing intelligence from an extensive database, the AI bot can direct the course of the quiz in a way that suits the learner. If the learner is consistently answering questions correctly, then the chatbot could “choose” to increase the difficulty or the quiz or refer the learner to higher level training. Conversely, if a learner is struggling to understand a topic, then the chatbot can add relevant questions or even make recommendations for further study.2
And so, AI contributes to the effectiveness and individualisation of training programs. It can go well beyond splitting a lecture into conversational soundbites and play a significant role in adapting learning pathways. Intelligent learning platforms now exist that work with learners to offer personalised feedback and direction, adding gamification elements like animation and virtual characters to boost learner engagement even further.1
How does AI help teachers?
As we have seen, incorporating AI directly into training courses is an excellent way to support learners. What may be less well known is the potential of AI to help teachers and trainers develop better course material and monitor student progress.2
Content analytics describes the process through which AI platforms can examine and optimise learning modules. Content analytics gives educators and content creators the tools to better manage e-learning content; and to gain regular, valuable insights into learner growth or challenges.1 The same analytical capabilities that give learners targeted information and recommendations can also help educators create tailored learning plans.1
Analytics on learner performance, presented by the AI platform in simple graphs or reports, show trainers what topics learners are having difficulty with, and areas where they excel, as well as other details. This provides teachers with an informed basis for editing content or adjusting course trajectories. As well, AI can quickly sift through course material to save educators time and resources. For example, if a teacher is looking to reuse content, he or she can have an AI assistant find all instances of the content being taught in videos, infographics, text, and so on, instead of laboriously reviewing the courseware themselves. Then, appropriate content can be easily reused while ensuring consistency throughout different course modules.2
From student training to teacher support, AI is changing the world of digital learning. Dynamic, responsive virtual learning environments are being built around the classroom to help each student reach his or her full potential. Teachers are also beginning to see their learning content engage students even more through multimedia and conversational formats. AI will continue to accelerate and refine the creation of new learning technologies.1
Register for the webinar to learn more about how AI is being successfully applied to digital learning, and how the technology will continue to evolve.