Artificial Intelligence to Play Instrumental Role in Future of Higher Education

Many researchers believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has more potential to change higher education than any other technology. The potential and impact of AI on teaching have prompted some colleges and universities to take a closer look at it, accelerating its adoption across campuses.

For perspective, the global AI market is projected to reach almost $170 billion by 2025. By 2028, the AI market size is expected to gain momentum by reaching over $360 billion, registering a growth rate of 33.6 percent between 2021 and 2028, according to a research firm Fortune Business Insights’ report. The market is mostly segmented into Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), image processing, and speech recognition.

Other research conducted by Klutka et al. back in 2018 listed the following goals for AI in higher education, all of which are now emerging as reality:

  • Increase outcomes
  • Increase access
  • Increase retention
  • Lower cost
  • Decrease time to completion

AI technology and Machine Learning (ML) can increase the level of education bringing countless benefits to both students and faculty. One of the most important benefits of AI in higher education is personalized learning, tailored to each individual’s needs and interests.

Automated grading systems, conversational AI chatbots, AI teaching assistants are just a few of the trends that we are witnessing as they rise in education. All in all, the benefits attached to the incorporation of AI into the academic curriculum as well as in management and in administration are going to place education on the right path toward a new kind of learning. Indeed, AI is crucial to the future of higher education. 

Some benefits AI brings to higher education include:

  • AI as an enabler of education anytime, anywhere: With the use of multiple mobile devices students can use AI-based applications to study in even short blocks of time --such as fifteen or twenty minutes-- while commuting, or while waiting in a dentist’s office. In addition, these applications can give feedback to students in real-time, which allows them to advance faster to the next study block; this also reduces the anxiety waiting for results brings
  • AI as virtual mentors: AI mentors bring together Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to help students be mentored in what they need to learn in order to reach their goals. AI virtual mentors can optimize learning by helping students identify and fill knowledge gaps, thus delivering a rather personalized and unique form of education. An AI mentor adapts to the student, not the student to the mentor
  • AI and mass-Personalization: One of the most important benefits of Artificial Intelligence in higher education is that it offers a kind of learning that leans toward mass-personalization, tailored to each individual student. AI educational platforms that adapt to each student’s needs, level of knowledge, topics of interest, pace of understanding, and pace of learning become paramount in order to decrease time to completion of courses. Learning materials adapt to the student rather than the student to the learning material

AI is not going to replace educators. However, it is changing the way educators work with their students. AI mentors are also challenging educators to become better, which is always a positive thing. AI mentors might soon be replacing teaching assistants, though, as AI continues to take over some tasks of teaching and Machine Learning becomes even better.

In a not so distant future, every student will count with a personalized and advanced AI mentor that will reinforce difficult concepts at the student’s pace, especially those in mathematics and the hard sciences. Struggling students will become something from the past, and in this sense, AI is going to bring a major benefit to the future of higher education.