AI report

Brace yourselves: AI is set to explode in higher ed in the next 4 years


As AI grows in the education sector, its impact could be felt in student learning programs, websites and admissions programs

A new report predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) in the U.S. education sector will grow 47.5 percent through 2021.

The report, Artificial Intelligence Market in the U.S. Education Sector 2017-2021, is based on in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts.

One of the major trends surrounding AI and education is AI-powered educational games. Because games have the potential to engage students while teaching them challenging education concepts in an engaging manner, vendors are incorporating AI features into games to enhance their interactivity.

Educational games that include adaptive learning features give students frequent and timely suggestions for a guided learning experience.

Machine learning technologies in the AI field are designed in such a manner that they can interact directly with students without any human intervention, according to the report, and such technologies are capable of teaching varied subjects, such as mathematics, languages, physics, law, and medicine.

They are different from traditional computer-aided instruction systems owing to their ability to interpret complex human responses while simultaneously teaching. This system can analyze student learning patterns and they can adjust their content focus and feedback.

(Next page: What the experts say about artificial intelligence)

The growth of AI in the academic world leads to the need for new policies and guidelines.

And as noted in the annual Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition, as academic and research libraries begin to uncover ways in which AI can improve patron services, research processes, and learner outcomes, there is a need to develop guidelines informed by research to ensure ethical use of student data.

AI hasn’t gone mainstream quite yet, but many forward-thinking institutions are exploring how its basics can enhance their offerings and operations. This type of exploration could be buoyed by AI’s predicted rise.

Because AI can be very user-centric, it helps deliver relevant answers and feedback to students in any number of situations. It also can personalize a student’s learning lifecycle, including academic information and job applications.

“With some simple input, AI mechanisms can assemble all sorts of narratives for students—about their future, job applications, and ways to make an impact down the road—to inform pursuits now that will lead to desired results,” said Ralph Lucci, cofounder and user experience director at Behavior Design. “In these ways, it is a guide for the student and can act as a concierge or an ambassador for an institution.”

Examples of personalized pathway guides include digital student guides for prospects and accepted students which provide checklists of what students need pre-application, how to connect with teachers, get housing, apply for financial aid, etc. “This helps craft an experience for future students before they even arrive on campus.”

AI also can better support online learning programs by increasing feedback in online or blended learning programs. And as it becomes more mainstream, it could help schools and campuses distinguish their programs and services.

“If an institution is embracing AI, students know there’s support and structure around these kinds of technologies and modernized learning; which is a good thing. Students will hold the school in higher regard and in turn the institution can attract more diverse and like-minded audiences, including professors and teachers. It’s a win-win situation,” Lucci said.

Laura Ascione