Alexa, Siri or the common Sat-Nav. Most of us already all use nascent forms of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives, without realising that we’re calling on exceptionally programmed assistants for a wealth of information and to complete countless menial tasks. AI is an already an enormous and possibly the most innovative new area of technology today, belonging to a market predicted to be worth over £6 billion by 2024. Already prevalent in the motor and music industries, smart virtual assistance has proven its diversity, but does it really have a place in every single sector? The future of intelligent assistants could take many forms, however the following are the key ways in which intelligent assistants might be fully adapted to suit the developing elearning market.
Teachers will always be required in the education sector, but it is questionable whether non-human instructors could do just as good a job. Certainly, many tasks that are completed with human effort could be passed to intelligent assistants, for example grading and improving learning methods online. With this in mind, surely teachers everywhere will be waiting in line for their own virtual digital helpers taking much of the drudgery of their roles a thing of the past.
With no in-person tutor online, students can struggle to understand concepts when there is simply no one to ask. Intelligent assistants in online training can fill this gap by offering support which suits each individual learner’s needs. For example, assistants could suggest topics to improve a weak spot in each learners’ skillsets. Furthermore, an intelligent assistant would be of utmost importance where a learner has special needs, for example, due to visual or audio impairment. Alternative techniques according to the learner’s needs could be delivered, such as reading a text out loud or also providing visual cues.
3.Locating and interacting with information
Well-known platforms like Google and Amazon have set precedent on how we can easily locate information, as well as using our past experience to suggest future actions or purchases. This could be translated in online learning whereby AI helps learners find answers based on questions they have previously asked.
4.The virtual morale booster
As eLearning already tracks learners progress and notes their achievements, intelligent assistants could remind students of in-course successes along the way, serving as an excellent morale boost often needed when feeling particularly stressed or unmotivated to continue. This may be obvious if they have performed poorly during a specific recent assessment and could offer an opportunity for assistants to provide words of encouragement. They may also be particularly useful in self-paced courses where there may be little to no human instruction at all.
The possibilities of machine learning in online training are endless, yet the ability to completely replace real life human interaction must be questioned. Will such assistants have an insight into our thoughts and feelings during the learning process? It is intriguing whether a robotic assistant will be able to instantly adapt according to our emotional hierarchy, something that heavily dictates the learner journey and ultimately impacts course success. Nonetheless, assistants will surely lighten the load for real-life tutors and help make learning more accessible to all. How long before truly effective and integrated Intelligent Assistants become fully part of the ‘background’ of our eLearning experiences is debatable, but there is little doubt its careening rapidly towards us.