Here's How AI and Emerging Technologies Can Bring About Changes in the Ed-Tech Space
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There was a time when education outside the classroom meant getting private tuition or tuition centres with varying standards in teaching and learning, limited to the physical space. But ‘tuition work’ almost always remained ‘at tuition’. Most students found themselves scurrying off to finish last week’s written assignment a few hours before the present week’s class. What was missing in this scenario was a system of continuous engagement, effective learning outcomes, and the consequent motivation that comes with it.
From Then to Now, for the Future - The Changing Landscape
Over 200 million students are preparing for exams in India every year, there is a vast pool of information available online, and these students are looking at these resources for their studies. But learning outcomes are still suffering because of the quality of education that is delivered. Because a lot of is just uploading of offline content in online space, which is not engaging or interactive, hence unable to do justice to students’ needs. This is majorly due to factors such as lack of funds, access and information about how to implement new technology.
With artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other emerging technology, it is now possible to monitor and control the online education scenario more than ever before. There is, therefore, a need to redesign and realign processes by effectively leveraging technology to improve the efficacy of learning. This will help to improve standards of learning at a large scale while optimising costs at the same time. There have been many advancements in e-learning over the years, but there is still a long way to go.
Online Live Classes – The Way Forward
While earlier-used methods of learning via content on CDs and pen-drives and other offline solutions may have worked to deliver one-time content, they did not facilitate a continuous learning environment for students. With online live classes, students basically have access to a virtual classroom environment with instant teacher-student interaction. They can clear their doubts, or take tests and benchmark themselves with their peers. Live classes have also proven to be more effective in driving student activity, with 4X higher engagement compared to recorded videos and lectures.
This becomes a formidable model when it's combined with structured planning & methodology to offer a day wise study plan, that helps student approach their preparation in a more effective way.
Increased Scope and Reach
In the past, services such as one-to-one interaction with teachers for direct doubt-solving were only available to students in top cities. These were usually very expensive to deliver because of the individual attention component. Now, as the internet has reached a number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, these services can be taken to a larger number of cities and at a much lower cost. Further, with advancements in technology, high-quality services can thus be delivered to more students in otherwise out-of-reach places.
Virtual Learning Environments More Conducive to Teachers
Students need the right guidance from mentors to be motivated and engaged. This is not possible without expert faculty who are invested in what they are teaching. It has been noticed that there is an acute shortage of quality teachers within the Indian education system, especially the remote areas. For online learning, the pool of teachers can be expanded by getting part-time or full-time experts to come on board as teachers & amplifying their reach across the country. Another way to do this is by encouraging existing teachers to reach more students with quality education. Technology will play a major role in both cases.
The first approach will need to offer teachers the flexibility they require in terms of online class timings. China-based online English language teaching platform VIPKid is doing this. On the platform, anyone with proven native English language skills can sign up to teach school-going kids English language based on a pre-designed curriculum for every class. The second method to get teachers on board will require assisting teachers will actionable data insights, so as to maintain the personal attention factor even amongst larger batches of students. This is where AI can assist and segregate information. Machine learning can implement the basics functions such as providing facts and grading homework in order to allow teachers to focus on more specific tasks such as live sessions and individual time with students.
Technologies Like Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are Upping the Game
With new developments in ed-tech such as online learning platforms that are incorporating AI, both teachers and students can track learning and course effectiveness. Data tracking, based on students’ interaction and feedback during and after the sessions, can help learning platforms determine what works and what doesn’t, based on the insights garnered from this data. They can, then, design adaptive assessments that focus on students’ weak areas and gradually help them improve. This also helps create new courses to address any existing learning gaps.
Technology is one of the primary driving forces in the dynamic education space in India and around the world. It will enable platforms to reach millions of students and experts within a short time. For education providers, it is important to keep the focus on providing quality education and learning outcomes. This will happen only when advanced technological solutions used by platforms are aimed at catering to specific needs and goals. The meaningful insights and actionable results gained through the use of these tools are what will matter in the long run.