Data is Powering the Future and the Now of Digital Learning

Published October 11, 2017

Artificial intelligence and adaptive technology are making learning today more effective, efficient, and personalized.

The power of data to enhance the learning experience is no secret. Long before computers were considered indispensable tools in the classroom, educators relied on data to help set performance expectations, provide remediation, and differentiate instruction for groups and individuals. But the recent rise of artificial intelligence and computerized adaptive learning has dramatically changed the dynamics of how students and educators interact with technology.

At McGraw-Hill, we believe that the best technology shouldn't be designed to replace teachers, but to make their lives easier and augment the learning experience. Every day we use the power of learning science to make this happen. At the 2017 ASU GSV Summit our Chief Digital Officer, Stephen Laster, joined a panel of tech leaders to discuss the potential for AI to revolutionize higher education.

In K-12 classrooms, artificial intelligence-based learning systems are helping provide all students with content and instruction catered to their individual learning needs. Teachers are no longer required to spend time reviewing each student's daily progress and scores to provide personalized instruction for the next day of class.

Interactive assessments and instructional platforms like ALEKS and Redbird adjust content and gather data in real-time to provide a complete picture of students' abilities across a wide range of skill areas spanning multiple grade levels. This lets teachers spend more meaningful, individual, one-on-one time with each student, and give students extra instructional support exactly when and where they need it.

In higher education, artificial intelligence-powered systems like LearnSmart are empowering instructors with tools and insights to architect and implement highly-customized learning experiences. Digital placement tests can automatically adjust course content to put each student on the most efficient learning pathway. Remediation can now be delivered with surgical precision instead of full courses/tracks, which keeps students on track to graduate -- saving them both time and money.

Stephen Laster quote

Artificial intelligence is also helping make collegiate instruction a more readily available and economical choice for students. Arizona State University uses ALEKS in combination with edX's MOOC platform as part of its Global Freshman Academy program to accelerate first year student achievement, and Georgia Tech is using SmartBook to offer credit-bearing computer science courses to remote undergraduates.

At the professional level, a variety of advancements in the application of artificial intelligence are making training more modular, personalized, and objective-focused. When coupled with adaptive learning technology, this can greatly accelerate employees' progression through on-the-job training and professional development courses. This means that corporate training and learning is no longer static and delivered in one-size-fits-all bundles. Learning systems can efficiently cater to each employees' preferred style and deliver instruction in varied formats to provide more efficient, on-demand instruction.

It's an exciting time for research and innovation at the conflux of data, technology, and education.