How will AI Impact the Future of Learning and Teaching

Traditional approach to education, somewhat primitive and archaic in nature, and the pedagogies associated with this form of method see teachers as instruments through which knowledge is communicated and the students are expected to passively and submissively receive the answers and accept them as truth or fact. Students, therefore, became docile learners with oral recitation, rote memorization, assignments and examination as a major part of their schooling.

At the turn of the 21st century, came the modern system of education, relying on computers and the internet. Online learning, flipped classroom, blended learning, over-the-shoulder learning, virtual schools, mobile learning, social media learning, networked learning, project-based learning, IDL and such as approaches to teaching and learning became possible. This system turned the learners to be self-regulated towards accomplishing their academic goals and changed their role from passive learners to active participants. The learners’ needs became complex and simultaneously, the teachers’ work increased manifold, their working hours how spent on activities that could be automated using technology, thereby achieving teaching satisfaction as well. 

The future of education is interlinked with the development of new technology. In this field, advances in artificial intelligence open to new promises and encounters for teaching and learning in higher education. Artificial Intelligence is possibly the fastest-growing development in the world of technology and education. It is renovating the nature of almost everything which is associated to human life e.g. economy, communication, warfare, ethics, healthcare, etc. 

One of the major aspects of human life that AI has an impact upon is education. It is one of the key high-tech innovations which, in its present state, has an inherent influence on learning and teaching. Under this influence, the learning and e-learning landscape of education has seen a significant transformation. AI systems are now engaged in smart content such as video conferencing and video lectures, formulating topic intensive digitized textbooks attracting the attention of students across all ages and academic grades.

These textbooks are more wide-ranging and easier to navigate with synopses of chapters, flashcards and hands-on tests. Educational boards are encouraging teachers to utilize AI to the best of their abilities, by implementing it for tasks such as customizing home assignments, projects and examinations according to learners’ abilities and capacities. 

AI is filling gaps of the usual classroom learning through algorithms, big data, clever coding, allowing students to select subjects that satisfy their demands and interests rather than imposing subjects they would rather not pursue. With the help of advanced AI analytics, a learner can determine his/her own understanding of the concept in its entirety. If a student drops out of a subject, the teacher can determine the reason for the same with the help of AI’s analytical system.

The world is now a global village wherein the learners have moved beyond the boundaries of their classrooms without physically leaving their classrooms. AI, along with internet, encourages students to communicate with the world. Using translation tools powered by machine learning, students can now be a part of global classrooms wherein AI translates learning resources in real time, and as a result, the learners amplify their knowledge. This addresses educational obstacles around illnesses, physical danger, or location. 

AI also unburdens the teachers of tiresome administrative work. Teachers spend a lot of time assessing answer papers, preparing lesson plans, grading assignments and such. Machines are growing progressively sophisticated at appraising written answers in tests to determine if they correctly addressed the questions asked and are helping authorize teachers to build more customized lesson plans in less time. The same tools are used to assess a student’s performance and can make recommendations for improvement. A research on the impact of AI on learning and teaching was done by Dr. Ilkka Tuomi, Founder and Chief Scientist of Meaning Processing Ltd. He expresses his concern over the fact that there is a risk that AI might be used to scale up bad pedagogical practices such as mechanical instruction with summative assessment playing a central role. 

UNESCO is now ensuring inclusive and equitable use of AI in education globally, encouraging learning beyond borders and enhancing the process using AI, thereby accelerating progress towards SDG 4 (Sustainable Development Goal 4). UNESCO is dedicated to supporting Member States harness the potential of AI technologies for achieving the Education 2030 Agenda

Policymakers of the nations of the world need to formulate a strategic framework for changing the education system at a national level to avoid the risk of imparting inferior education to the youth and leaders of tomorrow. AI promises to pave the way for a striking new era of human history, where the machines we create will be smarter and faster than their creators. This era will have profound consequences on education that will reshape it along with society.

This article has been co-authored by Riya Jadhav, Chirec International School and Dr. Raul V. Rodriguez, Woxsen School of Business