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VIEWS & OPINION What will learning look like in the year 2040? Comment by NIKOLAS KAIRINOS, Founder and CEO, Soffos


The coronavirus has upended our established routines. Activities that were once reserved for the physical domain were abruptly rendered impossible when governments implemented nationwide lockdowns, forcing us to consider how digital solutions could plug the gap. The education sector


serves as a prime example of this. And more generally, many people have now had their eyes opened to how technology can completely revolutionise the way people of all ages learn. Indeed, I would assert that the seeds for a digital revolution in the


education space have well and truly be sown over recent months. In particular, one technology is set to reshape the way we learn – artificial intelligence (AI). Some educational professionals will have already had a taste of what AI


can do if they have ever utilised online education portals or assessment software. However, we have only just scratched the surface of what is possible. Looking to the future, then, now is the opportune moment for us to ask what will “learning” look like in 2040?


detect that a student is struggling simply by reading their facial expressions.


Learning tailored to student need Sophisticated software will tailor learning according to each pupil’s needs and deliver lessons in a way that resonates with the individual learner; after all, everybody learns in their own unique way, and a one-size-fits all approach to education has consistently proven ineffective. For visual learners, AI software will offer videos, while others will be


provided with interactive games to solidify their knowledge. Not only will this support students’ strengths and weaknesses, they will be able to master subjects at their own pace.


Leave the grunt work to the machines Instead of submitting homework and assessments to teachers and waiting weeks for feedback, this task can be completed in mere minutes with the assistance of AI-powered software. Some students today may have experienced the benefit of autonomous grading already, but until now this was limited to multiple choice tests and simple questionairres. As the technology advances, lengthy essays and complex assignments


will be marked in the same way, with AI soon being able to process both subjective and objective answers. Not only will this free up time for teachers to dedicate to more valuable responsibilities like engaging with their students, but admission boards will enjoy streamlined applications when paperwork and classifications can be processed automatically.


Learning outside the classroom Most importantly, the age of social distancing has taught us that we do not have to be physically present in a classroom to learn. AI software that can be accessed online or via mobile apps will mean that people can learn remotely, and at any time. Bad weather, long distances, illness or pandemics will not stop us being able to access personalised learning tools. In this way, AI will democratise education and give everyone the


opportunity to receive tailored 1:1 learning. AI software can be rolled out universally and affordably; so, as long as people have a good internet connection, they can receive the same world class learning experience regardless of where they are in the world or how rich they are. Learning in 2040 will look like people in their living room gaining access


to leading teaching solutions, whether that is a middle-aged person taking lessons in cooking or a new language, or a five-year-old learning to read and write.


Adaptive learning Let us start with schools. Imagine this scenario: a child is sitting in a classroom, struggling to understand the topic at hand but too worried to ask a question out of fear it will slow down the lesson or make them look foolish. Having failed to properly engage with the course material, they leave the classroom none the wiser. This scene will be familiar to all those who passed through a formal


education system. Thanks to innovative technology, however, such experiences should become increasingly rare. That is because technology can help us move away from the traditional methods of one person teaching large groups in the exact same way, regardless of the individuals’ wants and needs. Using predictive analysis, for example, AI can recognise problem areas


for learners and thereafter provide tailored assistance. It will unearth gaps in a student’s knowledge, concentrate on these problem areas, and provide continuous personal feedback. With time, AI will even be able to


July/August 2020 www.education-today.co.uk 25


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