Attempts on distance learning have been popping here and there for some years. After all Udemy, Coursera (and vast DYI YouTube flood) have been here for years. Still, few months back, remote learning turned into billion students’ issue over the night. Along with somewhat rude shock (to parents) on how rudimentary (or non-existing) the contemporary education-over-distance in reality is.
This all has been happening with AI training its edu-tech muscle in background, mostly unnoticed. It’s a bit ironic it took pandemic to reveal that the gap between human- and machine-teacher is not that big after all (not to the machine’s blame). With parents seeing teachers to struggle with establishing zoom call first place (or even sending and collecting the hard copy assignments via post), it only takes some courage on edu-tech side to tip the avalanche down the valley. And examples there are …
Chinese online education company named VIPkid has launched project with 700 000 students that received online courses with embedded AI elements (like fun characters “assisting” the actual human teachers in videos). AI’s is always cooking the extra content uniquely (and specifically) to progress of the individual student. More strikingly, VIPkid also did A/B test of some classes taking human-only content and other exposed to enhanced, AI-supported content along the very same teacher. The results speak for themselves: in AI-supported classes the correct answers on final examination went from 50% to 80% and passing the course went from 80-tish to 90-tish percentage points.
Well, it makes all of the sense, after all. Each individual student accumulates “learning gaps” in different topics of the curriculum. Human teacher, however skilled or eager to help, can stop to re-explain only that many concepts per given learning hour. Thus, having the general, common content, supported with individual support on what you specifically didn’t get, must inevitably lead to better overall class result.
There is one important caveat to notice here, though. From the essence of the thing, this AI supported content will primarily come in major world languages (first). This might breed inequality in education standards for communities where none of the most widely used languages is spoken (or even taught). So if you can read between the lines, … , yes English, Chinese or Spanish would be good.
What this means for teachers? That will be follow in one of my 2021 soon-to-come blogs. Stay tuned.
Publikované dňa 10. 1. 2021.