AI Can Revolutionise the World of Education

World of Education

India has the largest youth population – a little over 350 million. Due to this, education has been the centre of attention for the government and other private organizations. The Indian education industry is valued at $100 billion, and is growing every day. The emergence of ed-tech startups has only begun to make contributions to this industry. The ed-tech industry in India is expected to grow almost eight times to hit $1.96 billion by 2021, with the number of paid users rising six-fold to 9.6 million. Which is why, entrepreneurs and investors see a bright future a vast playing field for edtech startups.
The country is moving towards the digital age. However, apart from this trend, why is there a need for technology in a $100 billion education industry?
The simple reason is, due to a high population, limited resources, and poor quality of available resources, traditional education cannot provide the quality required to make our youth employable. Why are these resources limited? Why can’t students just learn outside of school in coaching classes?
Here is some truth about the true state of the Indian education system:
Lack of quality inside the classroom: The Right to Education act made education a fundamental right of every child between 6-14 years of age. This brought in many students into schools. However, the quality of education has not seen much improvement. India has a very high student teacher ratio. Not only is it higher than developed countries like USA and UK, but it also lags behind when compared to developing countries like Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Teachers cannot give personal attention to a large class of students and eventually adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Due to this, the learning process of many children takes a hit.
Expensive but ineffective coaching classes: Since schools are not enough to help students get good grades or crack competitive exams, students look for help outside of schools. This becomes a monetary burden for many economically weak families. They end up grappling with loans and mortgages in an effort to give their children a better future. However, the issues like large student teacher ratios, lack of personal attention are still not addressed. Students may end up receiving mediocre quality of education and unnecessary peer pressure at a premium cost of after school education.
Reputed institutes are concentrated to metros: Students living in the outskirts of cities and in tier 2 and 3 cities do not have access to quality education. They either end up wasting time traveling between home, school, and classes, or move away from their parents to bigger cities.
How can AI, ML, and Big Data help?
When advanced technology is used to take education up the digital route, they can create wonders and solve the problems that the education industry is facing today. Simple barriers like distance from quality education centres are solved automatically since a digital platform can be accessed anytime, anywhere. AI can provide a better learning experience to students. Here’s how:
Personalised learning and feedback: Advanced technology like AI, ML, and Big Data is used to observe the learning speed of individual students. It then adjusts the pace of learning content depending on these observations. This maximises understanding and retention of concepts for students. Due to a tailored pace, students will neither get bored by a slow pace, nor will they play catch up with a fast paced lecture. It can provide a subject wise strength and weakness analysis, along with highlighting areas where they have been repeatedly going wrong. It can also show students where they stand amongst their peers.
Adaptive learning paths: Advanced technology is used to analyse the learning pattern and test behaviour of every student. It deduces topics that a student finds difficult or easy. It can create unique learning paths for every student. Due to this, children will always learn in a structure designed for them, instead of trying to fit their learning style into a predefined box.
Solving doubts instantly: Natural language processing (NLP) combined with optical character recognition (OCR) among other algorithms can solve doubts of students instantly. A student just has to send a picture of the doubt on a chat application. The bot will sift through millions of data points to suggest a similar question and provide its answer. The bot will learn and store more information with every doubt and query uploaded by students. Thus it can provide reliable and accurate answers in just a few seconds at any point of time and students don’t need to wait for their professors to be available.
India can use technology to ensure than within a very short span of time, high quality education is available for any and every child in the country.
About the Author
Zishaan graduated from IIT Bombay in 2005 with a masters degree in Civil Engineering. His career started with Indian FMCG giant ITC Limited. He later worked with consulting firm Opera Solutions to advise Fortune 100 clients across North America, Europe and Asia. In 2008, Zishaan co-founded, an e-commerce marketplace, which was acquired by Future Group. He co-founded Toppr in 2013. Today, Toppr is India’s leading online learning app with over 4.5 million students.

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