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Machine Learning in Education Opens a World of New Possibilities

By CIOReview | Thursday, October 20, 2016

From alarm’s snooze in the morning to watching television at night, and all the activities in between – human life is increasingly influenced by machines. Today, machine learning has transformed devices with static pre-programmed software into smart machines driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), giving them the ability to learn by themselves based on gathered data. Machine learning focuses on developing computer programs that can teach themselves to grow and update the program embedded in a device by analyzing incoming data.

Defined as the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed, Machine learning is aiding human life by paving the path towards smart technologies such as self-driving cars, practical speech recognition, and effective web search. It has also improved the concept of understanding human genome in the field of biotechnology. From problem solving to forecasting to security, machine learning is making strides in driving the technology evolution. Teaching and learning process enabled through machine learning also helps to improve the knowledge base of an individual.

Globally, there are many events transpiring with each passing day that are linked to the internet so that the knowledge can be shared across the globe. For instance, to enable students develop curiosity in pursuing the machine learning while improving the quality of education, IBM and its education partners are augmenting the education system by integrating machine learning. By building innovative digital classrooms, aka smart classroom, advancement in quality of education is being pursued to make the learning process engaging.

As smart classrooms are brought closer to machine learning, these efforts are supported by unique learning opportunities such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that have been implemented to make educational content widely available over the internet. Anyone with internet connection can access the publisher’s content anywhere anytime through digitized education system. The digital approach provides quality education while simultaneously analyzing the students for their performance. Educational institutions adopt cloud-based systems to collect and analyze data. The analysis displays the number of students at risk and needs special attention. Educational authorities can offer students with personalized learning experiences. And such intelligence in education system can help teachers and parents to make a positive impact on student performance and overcome the challenges faced during pursuing education.

As the capabilities of machine learning scale high, it has made an impact in forecasting the interests and orientations of each student. With forecasting as a function, machine learning couples the learning capabilities and the interests of a student so that they can chart a roadmap to learn more about themselves and achieve milestones early in their life. The fundamental step towards such smart education system can be placed by implementing machine learning into the system.

Machine learning also provides deep question and answering capabilities by automatically tagging the content on the internet. Tagging allows students to spend less time in reviewing the content when learning. Today IBM is working with Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia with a purpose to use big data analytics and cloud-based cognitive technology. The focus is to identify and predict the performance and learning needs of 170,000 students of the district.

Not just Education, machine learning can be coupled with various different landscapes. It is also optimized by Google to enhance its search engine optimization through a knowledge base called as ‘Knowledge Graph’. In October 2016 Google announced that as of now the Knowledge Graph now holds 70 billion facts. For an enterprise leveraging machine learning, CIOs should know that architecting an efficient knowledge base is an iterative process for enterprise and it can only be accomplished with greater insights and experiences over time.