November 23, 2020

4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming the Current E-Learning Landscape

Rahul Varshneya
Brain lightbulb brain (Emphasizing different sides of the brain)

From social media to healthcare, writing to retail, customer service to coding—artificial intelligence (AI) has undergone rapid advancements to become part and parcel of urban living. In the pursuit to make life easier and comfortable, modern society has tapped into AI’s potential and invented truly exhilarating technologies.

AI-enabled inventions are taking the field of education by storm and replacing traditional methods as we speak. A recent study from eSchool News discovered that the use of AI in the education industry will grow by 47.5 percent through 2021.

In this piece, we will be looking at a few ways artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the current e-learning landscape.

1. Personalized Learning

Delivering similar content to every single learner is a standard approach in education. It can be overwhelming for an educator to cater to and meet the needs of every learner. However, this one-size-fits-all mindset needs to be changed as every individual’s pace of learning, and following a schedule is different.

Artificial Intelligence is all set to be a part of the technological advancements of the learning landscape in 2020 and beyond. AI can be easily leveraged to study historical data and used to alter the current learning material, thus providing a personalized learning experience. AI can help continuously monitor learners’ progress and pinpoint the areas where each learner falls short of understanding.

Skillshare, an online learning community that provides hands-on online classes in design, business, technology, and more is an excellent example of how AI can be leveraged to enhance personalization within e-learning. As the platform’s user base expanded and the class catalog rapidly grew, so did the need for it to deploy a scalable solution to engage students with personalized experiences tailored to each one’s individual goals and interests.

2. Increased Speed and Efficiency

The most fundamental driver for AI in e-learning is its potential to make learning a simpler, faster, and more agile process without the educator having to compromise on quality. Expect nothing less than a streamlined and more enriched learning experience, enabling learners to evolve their expertise, avoid common errors, achieve results faster, and spend their time on furnishing the skills they’re lacking.

This would also imply lowering of costs, given that one single training session can now be delivered to a wide variety of students. Furthermore, the e-learning experience can now be broken into various modules, enabling simpler utilization of data within practical timelines. Finally, learning can also be undertaken in any location.

Audio-to-text transcription happens to be an excellent example of how AI is optimizing eLearning for enhanced speed and efficiency. Using natural language processing (NLP), audio-based educational content can be converted into a more convenient text format or vice-versa, making it easy for students to learn through the medium they prefer most. Learners who are visually impaired, or have reading disabilities, benefit the most because audio accessibility is their primary channel of taking in information in most cases.

The speed and efficiency-related benefits of AI in e-learning not only go a long way in helping students do more with less, but they can also offer a more appealing learning experience when implemented the right way.

3. Aiding Educators in Repurposing and Building Relevant Content

AI can aid e-learning platforms by enhancing the classification of elements of content. As knowledge seekers increasingly expect content to be offered on a variety of platforms and in multiple formats, many learning and development teams might find themselves repurposing content to enhance engagement on their e-learning platforms. A piece of information might be presented, say, in an infographic, a video, the text file containing the video transcript, or even a quiz that offers feedback.

This is the very reason educators are constantly on the lookout for the places a concept is mentioned and explained to build content around it and reuse later. Alternatively, an AI-based tool can easily sift through huge troves of content, identifying and efficiently locating the most suitable option, thus enabling the educator to reuse it right away. Automating this process augments the consistency of materials across platforms while also saving time.

From customized learning interfaces and digitized guides to tailored curriculums, AI-enabled smart content can be created across mediums ranging from audio to online assistants.

Duolingo, one of the most popular apps for learning foreign languages—with more than 300 million registered users—dedicates a lot of attention to artificial intelligence and the ways it can be applied to improve education. Using Second Language Acquisition (SLA) Modeling, they analyzed a history of errors made by learners of a second language to predict errors that they are likely to make at arbitrary points in the future.

Burr Settles, research director at Duolingo, says: “The difficulty of the words, the grammar, and the way we present it to you in the test, all play a role to pick the exact configuration so that in less than five minutes we have a really good sense of where you’re going to start the course.”

4. Helping Educators Create New, Immersive Environments

Machine learning in artificial intelligence is essentially geared toward producing meaningful lessons, not simply passing a quiz. AI systems are able to identify each student's needs and build models which focus on reasoning rather than bald facts.

Leticia Ahumada, a primary education teacher who uses Minecraft: Education Edition to empower teachers to deploy game-based learning in their classrooms, observed how this use of technology increased student engagement by fostering a sense of immersion. She recalls that when she asked one of her students why they enjoyed studying history with Minecraft, they answered that, with Minecraft, they weren’t studying history, but living it.

I believe this is the real power of Minecraft and other immersive technologies. For younger students that are used to playing on their tablets and watching videos on their devices, such games are their reality, so the learning is more real for them in this environment than reading a book, for example,says Leticia Ahumada.

Such predictive logic and analysis can be adapted to any format where the goal is that of maximizing the student’s grasp of a particular concept and problem solving. Students learn better when they are challenged.

AI is helping educators create new, immersive environments that not only help students understand the subject better, but also embed the concept within the learner’s mind to gain excellent understanding of its practical implications.

The benefits of artificial intelligence within the e-earning landscape are far-reaching. It is capable of going way beyond any text book ever will.