Tech major IBM and leading learning solutions company Pearson announced Tuesday a new global education alliance intended to make Watson’s cognitive capabilities available to millions of college students and professors.
Combining IBM’s cognitive capabilities with Pearson’s digital learning products will give students a more immersive learning experience with their college courses, said the companies.
Importantly, it provides instructors with insights about how well students are learning, allowing them to better manage the entire course and flag students who need additional help.
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For example, a student experiencing difficulty while studying for a biology course can query Watson, which is embedded in the Pearson courseware.
Watson has already read the Pearson courseware content and is ready to spot patterns and generate insights. Serving as a digital resource, Watson will assess the student’s responses to guide them with hints, feedback, explanations and help identify common misconceptions, working with the student at their pace to help them master the topic.
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The IBM Watson-Pearson collaboration aims to help address the challenges students face as they balance busy work and course schedules with the demands of advanced learning.
IBM informs that more than 60% of all job openings by 2018 are predicted to require some college education, but 40% of students in four year public universities don’t complete their courses on time, and many of these don’t complete at all.
This is creating a need for a flexible virtual resource that college students can access when they need it. With the combination of Watson and Pearson, students will be able to get the specific help they need, ask questions and be able to recognize areas in which they still need help from an instructor.
The goal of this always-available approach to tutoring is that it may become the difference between a student successfully completing a required course or dropping out.
The idea of adaptive learning systems delivering personalized education has been around for a long time. Most of the current systems, however, use measures such as multiple choice and fill in the blanks questions that offer only a partial view of a student’s understanding.
Through conversation and the use of natural language, the Watson-based adaptive learning technology will help students gain a better understanding of the subject material, IBM says.
IBM said that Pearson currently reaches 75 million students of all ages around the world across its full range of services including books, software, English language teaching, assessment, qualifications and online learning.
In the US College sector, IBM says Pearson reaches 13 million students per year with digital tools and content.
Photo / Video courtesy: IBM
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