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Artificial Intelligence and Adult Learning

According to Business Wire’s analysis of the report Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Sector 2018-2022, the artificial intelligence (AI) market in U.S. education will grow by 47.77% from 2018-2022.

To date, AI in education has consisted primarily of tools that help develop skills and testing systems.

However, an article in Forbes titled “How AI Is Used in Education” states, “As AI educational solutions continue to mature, the hope is that AI can help fill needs gaps in learning and teaching and allow schools and teachers to do more than ever before.” One of the most exciting ways AI can be used as it gets more sophisticated is to customize curriculum for every student’s needs.

AI and Adult Learning

Adult basic skills education, including English language learning, is seeing an evolution of AI. A report from market research firm HolonIQ, recently posted on LINCS, addressed the role of AI in adult basic skills education. The report noted six areas in which AI technology is creating value in education:

  1. Learning processes, which covers intelligent classrooms, personalized content, robotics and language learning
  2. Automating assessment and feedback on written work
  3. Streamlining learner/talent acquisitions by finding qualified students and employees
  4. Easing the burden of administrative and business processes
  5. Assessing students’ current knowledge and capability in language learning, delivering adaptive content, and providing feedback
  6. Revolutionizing corporate training with personalized, adaptive support, real-time monitoring of workflow, and by closing gaps between training and performance

A recent interview with Dr. Topi Litmanen of the education start-up Claned addressed the question of how AI can be used in adult learning. Dr. Litmanen said, “You cannot just offer a standardized one-size-fits-all ‘learning funnel.’ You need to personalize the delivery, which is exactly what AI can achieve.”

Intelligent Tutoring Systems

BeaconLive recently published a post titled “3 Ways AI Is Influencing Adult eLearning Programs.” The first is through intelligent tutoring systems, in which computer software emulates a human tutor. When the student answers a computer-driven question, the AI analyzes the answers and provides customized feedback. “The primary objective of these systems is to go beyond simply identifying whether a response is correct or incorrect. Rather the goal is to learn and recognize why a particular response is incorrect and provide guidance as to how to arrive at the correct response.”

Tutoring and study programs that are customized for each student are being integrated into existing learning management systems and eLearning platforms. Both tutoring and support are convenient, accessible, and available whenever and wherever the student has the opportunity to log in.

Personalized Learning

As with K-12 students, no two adults learn material the same way. People have different learning styles and learn at different rates. Machine learning algorithms have the capability to look at past performance data and learn about an individual’s progress as they work. The computer program can make adjustments in content, pace and feedback, providing personalized learning through a tailor-made program for each participant.

Assessment and Feedback

One of the most frustrating experiences for a learner is receiving a grade on quizzes, tests, and written work with no further explanation. At the same time, providing personalized feedback for every student is time-consuming.

AI is capable of automating that process, assessing the work and progress of each learner, and providing personalized feedback. The detailed feedback helps the student understand what they did well, where they need improvement and how to make changes. It also helps the instructor assess student achievement and customize content and pacing to meet each student’s unique needs.

Up and Coming AI Innovations in Adult Education

According to Forbes, the market size for artificial intelligence in education is forecast to be worth $6 billion dollars by 2024. On-demand learning is the next innovative use of AI in adult education. When programs can be fully self-paced, traditional semesters and class times will become obsolete.

While automated skill assessment is already part of AI in education, it is improving rapidly. An AI review of skills can be helpful in determining life experience and self-study achievements that can “jailbreak the degree,” allowing adult students to receive real credit for existing knowledge and experience.

Although some predict that AI will completely replace teachers at some point in the future, most educators disagree. AI provides useful tools that benefit learners while allowing the teacher to provide more personalized instruction and successfully manage more tasks.

Lead Learning Experiences for Adult Learners

Southern Oregon University offers a 100% online degree program for educators who want to obtain a Master of Science in Education with a Concentration in Adult Education. This program prepares educators to create, support and lead learning experiences for adult audiences in higher education or in the workplace.

Learn more about Southern Oregon University’s online Master of Science in Education with a Concentration in Adult Education program.


LINCS: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Adult Basic Skills Education

BeaconLive: 3 Ways AI Is Influencing Adult eLearning Programs

Business Wire: Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector 2018-2022

Forbes: How AI Is Used in Education—Real World Examples of Today and a Peek Into the Future

Getting Smart: 10 Current and Emerging Trends in Adult Learning

Forbes: Here’s What’s Next At the Explosive Intersection of AI and On-Line Education

EPALE: Artificial Intelligence Can Customise Adult Learning

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