AI in Digital Learning

By: Priyanka Kadam,

Things move fast in the AI sphere. With Elon Musk and other influencers calling for a ban on automated death bots, and AI now able to beat humans at complex games, a distant future of sentient robots doesn’t actually seem that distant at all. But how could these developments be harnessed to improve organizational or individual performance through digital learning?

The design and development of truly transformative corporate learning is a long, considered, often-painstaking process. It can be sped up, at the cost of quality, by rapid development authoring tools, but it usually relies on the expertise of instructional designers and developers combined. As AI becomes more competent, however, these roles could be entirely superseded by AI in the near future. Even if it doesn’t entirely take over the creative process anytime soon, AI could begin to assist it in various ways by working together with human creators. Of course, we’re going to get into the debate over whether AI will ever be able to be truly creative, but the possibility of the automatic crafting of learning is there!


AI in learning doesn’t have to be restricted solely to the creation of content and the automation of coding. Personalization and curation are more important than ever, especially as learners are becoming more and more accustomed to it in their daily lives as consumers. Vast amounts of automatic processing of user data goes into the personalization of services such as Google, and a similar approach could just as easily be taken to learning.


It’s already done, to an extent; by using data collected through frameworks such as xAPI, but it could be harnessed far more powerfully. Advanced curation wouldn’t just recommend different parts of a course based on learner data, but could actually bring in content from outside the course, whether from other courses on an LMS, or from the wider Internet.


Related to this is the concept of AI-driven adaptive digital learning. Still in the vein of personalization, this would mean that the course could be adapted in terms of difficulty based on the learner’s progress. This may initially have to be combined with the creation of different levels of content by the designers, but ultimately AI would be able to vary the difficulty of the course itself, providing an optimal experience for each and every learner.


All the data collected and analyzed by the AI in this process would reveal insights about the course structure and usage that would allow the course to be modified, potentially in real time. Is there a certain part of the course that learners are struggling with way more than they should? The AI could flag it to designers, or smooth it out and provide more assistance to learners. This could all take place in real time, a continuous process of tuning and repair. Combined with the kind of insights behavioral science has already given us into the learning process, learning could really be taken to the next level.


Another way in which the AI could aid learning is by functioning as a virtual assistant; as Siri gets more useful every day, and chatbots are becoming prevalent in every aspect of consumer life. At our company, Saffron ,we often use a virtual mentor figure in our online courses. This helps guide learners along the journey, as we believe it makes a difference to interact with a friendly face.


Just imagine if the mentor could hold a conversation with you – all automatically translated by another AI.


So as you can see, there is an abundance of potential applications for AI in learning, and we’ve only really begun to just scratch the surface. At this stage, it’s all rather predictive and theoretical, but the capability of AI is advancing at an ever-increasing rate and it is definitely going to dramatically impact the world of learning.

© 2018 by Evolve Magazine