Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming and improving the ways that industries like healthcare, banking, energy, and retail operate. However, there is one industry in particular that offers incredible potential for the application of AI technologies: education. The opportunities — and challenges — that the introduction of artificial intelligence could bring to higher education are significant.
Personalized learning as a cornerstone
Today’s colleges and universities face a wide range of challenges, including disengaged students, high dropout rates, and the ineffectiveness of a traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach to education. But when big data analytics and artificial intelligence are used correctly, personalized learning experiences can be created, which may in turn help to resolve some of these challenges.
With a personalized learning experience, every student would enjoy a completely unique educational approach that’s fully tailored to his or her individual abilities and needs. This could directly increase students’ motivation and reduce their likelihood of dropping out. It could also offer professors a better understanding of each student’s learning process, which could enable them to teach more effectively. Here’s what this might look like: AI-based learning systems would be able to give professors useful information about their students’ learning styles, abilities, and progress, and provide suggestions for how to customize their teaching methods to students’ individual needs. For example, some students might be experiencing learning difficulties or challenges that require extra attention or tutoring to keep up. Others might be advancing so rapidly that they are not being intellectually challenged and would benefit from additional study materials or assignments. In both of these hypothetical scenarios, AI learning systems would be helping students to reach their full potential, quite possibly preventing them from dropping out by identifying problems early enough to allow the appropriate corrective measures to be taken.
For this type of AI-based learning system to work properly, big data would be needed in order to train it. As discussed later in this article, that data would need to be used ethically, and students would need to be informed about how their personal data might be shared and used by AI algorithms.