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Three Ways That Machine Learning Can Make Education Smarter

According to Pedro Domingos, author of The Master Algorithm, “Machine learning is the new switchboard for Higher Education”. And Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer at McGraw-Hill Education stated, “By committing to a more open collaborate future (i.e., EdTech Interoperability), we can accomplish our goals of putting students and educators in a better position to achieve their own goals”.

But how exactly can machine learning be used to make education smarter and how can it create better outcomes for all students?

1. Customized learning modules:

One of the underlying problems in our current educational system is that educators are often forced to use a “one size fits all” approach. Instead of a customized strategy that treats each child as an individual, teachers don’t have the time, permission, or resources to vary their materials and methodology on a case-by-case basis. Machine learning can change that.

One example of this is McGraw-Hill Education’s ALEKS, a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system which uses algorithms to create predictive learning paths for students. Each student receives customized content based on their foundational knowledge of the topic. Students can then proceed at their own pace and move on if they have mastered the topic or receive additional study materials as required.

2. Game based learning:

Companies like Mangahigh believe that game-based learning approaches can transform the educational experience. Learning becomes entertaining and can be used to encourage healthy competition among students or between schools. According to one study, 99% of boys and 94% of girls aged 12 – 17 play games at least 7-10 hours per week so it’s no surprise that game-based learning is proving to be an effective classroom tool.

Studies also show that game based learning can help students retain more of the information because it relies on problem solving techniques and is done in a pressure-free way where students are receiving rewards for getting to the next level. Rather than simply memorizing materials, students have to actively participate in the learning process and their decision-making skills improve as a result.

3. Digital books that can learn from the reader

Instead of traditional hard cover text books, digital books have the capacity to not only relay information, but also to incorporate feedback from readers and customize the content that is delivered accordingly. For example, additional materials on a topic or a link to an intelligent tutoring system can be suggested to a user who is struggling with a particular subject. And unique types of content (i.e., infographs or podcasts) could be provided to another student who might be more responsive to visual or audio materials.

However, in order for digital books or other content delivery platforms to continue to evolve, educational materials need to be created on open source platforms so that schools across the country can take advantage of feedback and aggregated data. IMSGlobal, a non-profit member collaborative, is committed to doing just that by contributing to the future of educational and learning technology. As part of their mission, they are creating common standards that educational providers can use to develop products and services that operate effectively together.

There is no doubt that the United States has the technological prowess to reinvent our educational system. We have long dominated the technology revolution when it comes to inventing better, faster and more user-friendly consumer and business products. However, it is time to turn more of that brain power towards advancing our society as a whole, and education is an area that can benefit greatly. This next phase of the information age, through the use of big data, can boost access to personalized learning and power low cost school models so that education can finally be as smart as our phones.

* Article originally published at Edsurge News

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