AI: The Force Multiplier of Modern Education 

The profitability of AI in education is clear to investors and stakeholders.

GUEST COLUMN | by Steven Toy

IVAN RYABOKON

There are many ways to think of AI in the world today, as the AI boom is in full swing. For education specifically, thinking of AI as a force multiplier for educators and education systems is one of the more useful and positive mental constructs for one to consider. 

Education has always been challenged by the reality that people learn in different ways, at different speeds, and with different things that hold their attention. Educators have long had to ‘herd the cats’ to get everyone to achieve their learning goals at more or less the same time. 

This is hard to do. The laws of time and space prevent educators from bringing their creativity to each individual, not to mention the administrative burden they continuously labor under. 

The Power of Personalization 

AI allows teachers and teaching systems to personalize learning experiences and scale educational impact in previously unimaginable ways. In other words, AI can allow educators to conscript an army of tutors to assist them in accomplishing the education goals of their classes and users. 

Specifically, AI can customize a general lesson plan or curriculum for each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning preferences. This enables the creation of bespoke learning paths tailored to individual needs in pursuit of the goals teachers and learning systems define. 

‘AI can customize a general lesson plan or curriculum for each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning preferences.’

Imagine a classroom where students work toward a common learning goal by receiving AI-driven, real-time feedback and guidance tailored to their individual situations, providing more practice in challenging areas while advancing more quickly through familiar material. This level of customization enhances learning efficiency, making education more accessible and engaging for all students. This scenario is particularly valuable where teacher-student ratios are unfavorable. 

Education’s “Backend” 

Beyond the classroom, every teacher must deal with the sometimes oppressive list of administrative tasks that come with the job. AI systems can assist educators by grading assignments, tracking progress, and providing initial feedback. This allows them to dedicate more time to personalized interactions with students or have a more ideal work/life balance.

The Unintended Consequences 

A boat departing England and sailing to New York City could land in Florida if it is even a fraction of a degree off course at the start. This results from the compounding nature of a slight miscalculation left unchecked across a long voyage. 

However, this problem can be solved by making constant, but slight course corrections along the way. 

AI is such a force multiplier that it can quickly transport learners to a place very far from their original destination if not monitored along the way. 

While educators can multiply their effectiveness with AI, they can also multiply the negative effects of an ill-defined curriculum or learning goal. This unintended consequence will happen quickly if educators set and forget their AI assistants. 

The Intersection of AI and Profitability in Education 

The integration of AI in education is not only about enhancing learning experiences, but also about creating sustainable and profitable business models. Edtech companies leveraging AI can offer subscription-based services, premium content, and personalized coaching, driving revenue while providing high-value educational experiences. The data-driven nature of AI allows for continuous improvement and optimization of these services, ensuring that they meet the evolving needs of learners. 

The profitability of AI in education is clear to investors and stakeholders. The global edtech market is booming, and AI-driven solutions are at the forefront of this growth. By improving learning outcomes and operational efficiency, AI enhances the value proposition of educational products, attracting more users and generating higher returns. 

AI’s role in education is transformative, offering unprecedented personalization and scalability while driving profitability. However, its implementation must be carefully managed to avoid potential pitfalls and ensure it truly enhances educational experiences. By leveraging AI thoughtfully, we can create a future where education is more effective, inclusive, and accessible for all. 

Steven Toy is CEO of Memrise, a language learning system with over 70 million users. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn. 

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