Education in 2017: How Will It Be Transformed by AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized various industries, and now it is expected to revolutionize the education industry in 2017. According to the statistics, the majority of industries like insurance, banking, hospital, and others invested a hefty amount in AI in 2016. According to the analysis done by the Forrester, the investment in AI is expected to increase by 300% in 2017. It is because of the huge potential of AI in the business.

Education has followed the same pattern for centuries, and many people are now realizing the need to change the way people are educated. As the quality of education is directly proportional to the generation of quality manpower, AI has the huge role to play in the field of education.

Key trends

There are three segments in the education market, and they are K-12 education, higher education, and corporate training. All of them are in a transition period. Newer and more rigorous academic standards are observed in the K-12 market. The focus is shifting towards making students successful and prepared for college by developing a system to test their critical thinking and the capacity of solving the problems. Talking about higher education, the focus is shifting towards Small Private Online Courses (SPOC) and Massive Open Online Courses to tackle the problem of huge student debt. On the other hand, corporate training is moving towards virtual training to cut costs.

Education industry consists of three primary players, and they are content, platform, and providers of assessments. Each one of them is in a transition period. The content providers are facing the challenges of the print-to-digital transformation and providing resources for open education. The learning platforms are trying to bring change in the personalization, Adaptivity, and analytics space, whereas assessment providers are trying to develop more innovative questions instead of multiple-choice questions.

How will AI contribute?

There are plenty of changes required in the education industry. The dynamics developed by the key players and trends demand disruptive innovation in the field of education.  We are already observing many industries investing in avatars and other AI technologies. The budget is shrinking while the sizes of classes are increasing. It is critical to deploy advanced technologies to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the overall education system.

In 2017, we can expect these applications in educations.

  • The written answers of the students graded by AI.
  • Bots to answer the questions of the students.
  • The use of an intelligent virtual assistant to guide students.
  • The use of virtual reality and computer vision to enhance immersive, hands-on learning.
  • Extensive use of simulation and gamification combined with rich learning analytics.

For an instance, we can look at the grading system. Open-ended questions are regarded as a better way to measure student’s intelligence; however, it is less frequently used due to time and cost required to grade it. We are still using traditional multiple-choice questions to grade students.

Conversational Edtech

There is a natural language processing problem while assessing open-ended questions of the students. There are two syntactic and semantic structures found in these answers, which is quite similar to product review and status updates in the social media.

There is a possibility of training AI to measure and grade the answers written by the students. They can be as accurate as human beings. Furthermore, it costs relatively cheaper than human grading. AI has been successfully used by ETI to grade SAT and GRE essays, replacing 1-2 humans.

The study shows that the use of bots has significantly risen over the past few years, and bots could be pretty useful to scale online learning. These bots can be used as an intelligent virtual assistant for a teacher to answer students’ problems. That model could be flipped. It won’t be students who will be asking the questions first, but it will be AI who will ask the questions to the students. The students will be required to answer the question in a natural language, and it will be analyzed by AI. The student can expect an immediate feedback as well. This is called formative assessment because it is designed to enhance the student’s level of understanding of the concept.

The extensive use of Artificial Intelligence will not only benefit the business houses. In fact, it will benefit each and every stakeholder in the education industry. In the case of students, they will be able to educate themselves in a better manner. Their time will be saved as they will be getting an instant feedback thanks to AI. The rich analytics and insights will help the instructors to personalize instructions for the students.

Parents can analyze the results and see the better career prospects for their kids at a reasonable price. The educational institutions will be capable of scaling high-quality education. The government will be able to deliver affordable education to the students. These benefits will attract more and more investment in AI in the near future.

Final verdict

The study shows that 80% executives believe that AI will boost the productivity of the organization and reasonably so. No one can actually deny the tremendous benefits AI can offer to the particular industry. The return of investment is very high as well. The schools and colleges are desperately trying to improve their efficiency at a reasonable cost. The best way to do it is by investing in AI. We can expect more schools, colleges, and universities adapting to AI technologies in the future, as many of them are trying to come up with advanced online strategies.

According to the report released by the NMC/CoSN, AI and VR were considered to be the top technology trends that are expected to transform the education industry in the upcoming years. Moreover, the AI market in the field of education is expected to rise at 39% over the next few years, according to the market research report released by the Technavio. As AI is gaining more popularity in the education industry, conversational education will be a key application in 2017.

Vivian Michaels

Vivian Michaels is a health and technology expert, who has written several articles for various websites. He is a Fitness coach by profession and likes to help people achieve their individual fitness goals.

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