Tutoring may be a ‘good way’ artificial intelligence can help us

Nov 27, 2023, 2:00 PM

a woman sits with her son at a computer...

FILE: Susan Kalasic goes through a tutorial lesson with her son Bryan at the Rippy Literacy Center in Lehi, Utah. (Keith Johnson, Deseret News)

(Keith Johnson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A computer science professor sees artificial intelligence eventually helping students beef up their own intelligence, in the form of tutoring.

David Wingate, an associate professor in Brigham Young University’s Computer Science department, sees AI tutoring as a natural progression in education.

Artificial intelligence tutoring would begin with human input

As with most things involving AI, the process of tutoring would begin with a human evaluating what a student already knows. The human would also figure out how the student learns best, and then they’d feed that information into an AI program.  

“Absolutely I think AI could do. I think it will happen, eventually,” Wingate told KSL NewsRadio. He sees what he calls a tremendous amount of potential for AI-assisted learning.

“The algorithms can ideally collect and analyze data at a scale that humans can’t. And then, trying to personalize a curriculum, trying to adapt a curriculum to a specific individual, I think that would be fantastic and totally within the realm of possibility.”

And here’s where the real power of AI can come into play for modern students.

“Not just grading you, but analyzing the reasons that you got things wrong, and then crafting some sort of training that specifically targets a misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge, or whatever it might be,” Wingate said.

Artificial intelligence is already in classrooms

In a way, AI is already helping people learn. It’s called adaptive testing.

“Where you’re taking the test and as you get questions right or wrong the difficulty of the questions adapt.

The caveat is the expense. Someone will need to invest in order to usher AI further into the realm of education.

“While the general idea is, I think, quite straightforward, the devil is usually in the details. I think there’s a tremendous amount of investment that would have to happen to take the general idea of an adaptive or personalized curriculum and turn it into something that really moves the needle educationally.”

For Wingate, wrangling those details and finding the funding to advance AI in education is worth the effort. He said it would add to the positive ways artificial intelligence already influences our lives.

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Tutoring may be a ‘good way’ artificial intelligence can help us