With the ever increasing advance of AI, in particular machine learning (ML), one particular area that seems ripe for exploitation is in the education sector with the co-ordination of course material to meet the specific requirements of course learning outcomes and learning criteria / assessment criteria.
There is a vast amount of information and content already available (just think Wikipedia!) – either open source or proprietary – and much of this is most likely lying unused in relation to many courses due to it being written for a previous course, has been forgotten about, or wasn’t linked or signposted to a course in the first place because that wasn’t its intended purpose or audience.
With course learning outcomes and assessment/learning criteria being routinely updated or created from fresh, then except for current developments, new technologies, working practices, concepts etc. a significant bulk of suitable material will already be in existence: it’s just a (simple?) matter of working out how to identify relevant contexturalised content, and have this available as course learning material.
Clearly someone could ‘tag’ learning content to enable this to be more readily found by a search engine, or incorporated into a database, or JSON files, for more effective search capability, but time wise this will be a vast exercise, may already be undertaken by some people anyway and won’t be nearly as extensive as that achieved by ML. The AI (ML) approach will have the ML programme analyse content and identify appropriate material for the specific context.
In practice what would happen is this:
I have a course with some learning outcomes and a greater range of assessment/learning criteria, and also a course leaning time of x hours. I tell the ML programme to identify, find and make readily available (either by say collecting or signposting via hyperlinks) specific material which meets these requirements and which can be ‘packaged’ as the complete set of learning material for the course.
The ML programme will need to distinguish between different knowledge levels and depth of learning material to ensure the context is just right for the learner. There is little point returning material that is degree level, when the course was comparable to a GCSE level: the context would be significantly wrong.
Where gaps exist in learning content – as identified earlier, this would typically be at the leading edge of things – this would be clear and it would be these areas where new material would need to be written. As a time saver this would be significant and would allow tutors, teachers, trainers and course developers to better focus their valuable time resource on delivering the best outcome for learners.
Just a thought.
Chris Gray, 22nd December 2018