The impact of artificial intelligence on education

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It’s hardly breaking news to suggest that artificial intelligence will play a significant role in most industries within the next ten years. However, it may come as some surprise to you that in its Future of Jobs Report 2020,” the World Economic Forum predicts the displacement of 85 million jobs across 26 countries by 2025. The WEF goes on to highlight a rapid digital acceleration resulting from COVID-19. The organization speculates that by the mid-2030s, as AI advances, becoming more autonomous, 30% of jobs and 44% of workers with low levels of education will likely be replaced by a robot or artificial intelligence. Wow. 

Countering these staggering statistics, the World Economic Forum is keen to add that the result of this ‘great reset’ will involve the creation of 97 million new jobs. The question is: Which industries and jobs will be a part of that 30%? Which industries would benefit most from automation, and of course, what verticals and roles make up this emerging tranche of 97 million new jobs? This article speculates solely on how artificial intelligence will affect education. However, you can find a great deal more information on the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset reskilling and upskilling plans here

How artificial intelligence will change education

So the think tanks say we’re about to witness exponential change, where artificial intelligence will replace many repetitive jobs (e.g., data entry or assembly line manufacturing). But, it doesn’t end there since integrating artificial intelligence into many other industries would allow workers to focus on higher-value, high-touch tasks which still require human intervention. So the world is the AI’s oyster, but what about the world of education?

According to Market Research Engine, by 2025, AI in the global education market will reach $5.8bn at an annual compound growth rate of 45%. This massive growth will come from many areas, including the automation of administrative and organizational tasks. For example, a 2019 Ofsted (UK) survey discovered that teachers only spend 43% of their time teaching. The rest of the time, teachers are responsible for filing paperwork, resourcing, managing materials, producing regular progress reports, and more. There is no doubt that artificial intelligence could significantly improve this situation.

Personalized Learning 

The technical options provided by digital personalization have been readily available in the fast-evolving financial services (fintech) and marketing (martech) industries for years now. Finally, the education sector (edtech) acknowledges these opportunities, as there can be no doubt that customized learning improves students’ success at all levels.

From Studyum’s perspective, this is a massive opportunity since we fully recognize that no student’s learning style is the same. And in fact, we ought to embrace and nurture differences rather than attempt to beat students into submission by forcing them all to learn the same way. Is it any wonder that over 80% of students with learning difficulties remain undetected their entire school career?

Alas, teachers cannot effectively personalize their methods for an entire class, nor can they spread their energy evenly among students. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, can. Not only that, but it can do so objectively, without fatigue or any other human traits affecting consistency and results.

As we dig deeper into the opportunities presented by AI in education, it becomes clear that AI can also provide recommendations to students and teachers based on real-time analysis of a student’s learning experience. The introduction of facial recognition software, in this instance, can make a world-changing difference to the delivery of smart content to students.

This combination of AI technology reviews individual students’ class data, adapting and revising course content (smart content), enabling students to learn more effectively, improve performance, and (most importantly) learn in a way that best suits them.

In this scenario, have we just put all teachers out of a job? 

Of course not! Teachers would have an incredible opportunity to add their flavor of teaching — their unique methodologies; and, of course, they could analyze data-visualized dashboard reports generated by the AI. This approach could indeed mean that teachers were freer to spend much-needed one-on-one time with students without the rest of the class sitting idly or experiencing varying levels of attention. 

Smart Content 

Another way AI can help students achieve success is by way of “smart content.” Different kinds of content, including video conferencing, digitized guides, video lectures, explainer videos, interactive infographics, are all emerging as excellent ways to enhance and deliver a customizable learning experience. Of course, the delivery of this smart content can apply to all students, learning all subjects at all levels. 

Content is easy to digest, carved into microlessons, highlighting and summarizing salient and critical points to students. With the Studyum sports fitness app, one example of this smart content will be students’ interaction with state-of-the-art 360-degree footage of educators demonstrating moves and actions. The Studyum learning experience interface will allow students to pause, zoom, and interact with this content. The system will, of course, highlight key learning points throughout. 

In this scenario, teachers become content creators and managers, updating and delivering content to one place. The ultimate goal? Easier access to materials, faster learning, faster achievement. Above all, highly interactive, intuitive, and impactful learning experiences for students, whereby gamification and other features can encourage competition in a healthy and balanced way. 

Remote and virtual learning environments

In a post-COVID-19 world adapted to remote working, AI allows students to access educational platforms from any device, from anywhere, and at any time.   

We have a new and exciting opportunity to stream on-demand learning. There will be an entirely new and flexible way to train, where time zones, attendance, and scheduling issues no longer exist. Thus, creating opportunities for many more students to learn at their pace, at times that better suit them.

The prominent next stage in evolution for this kind of learning is to create an interactive student community of all ages, studying countless subjects. Studyum plans to develop such a community — a micro-world of learners and educators, where assistance, camaraderie, knowledge sharing, and support, are available around the clock. Artificial intelligence machine learning chatbots will also play their part in these forums, developing and encouraging healthy interaction. In this scenario, students have support and additional resources 24/7, without the need to wait for help or teacher assistance the next time a physical class resumes. Naturally, this presents all manner of efficiencies within the educational process. 

The future of learning

More than a billion jobs are likely to be transformed by technology in less than a decade. So how can we ensure that people around the world are not left behind? First, let’s not forget: When we talk about education, we’re not just talking about children and schools. We’re talking about higher education, vocational and technical education, arts education, sports, fitness, and on and on it goes. We’re talking about the future of learning. 

“We must come together — governments, businesses, and society – to provide education, skills, and jobs for at least 1 billion people by 2030.” 

— World Economic Forum 

As jobs and tasks evolve, so will the skills needed to perform them. And since it’s expected that 42% of core skills could change as early as 2022, there can be no doubt that artificial intelligence will change the way people learn and train forever. As a result, AI in education is no longer a possibility but a certainty. 

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