How A.I. Can Transform Academics Into Immersive Learning Experiences
Why academia needs to adopt faster-paced technologies to ensure all types of students are learning immersively and effectively.
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One of the biggest challenges facing today’s educational infrastructure is the inability of current technology to deliver quality courses to students. With the growing power of cloud computing and video conferencing, educational institutions have been keeping themselves in a “dark age” that only serves to inhibit student education and learning habits.
If academia would turn its attention to cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and immersive learning beyond Blackboard and video conferencing solutions, it will enhance student learning in ways that speak to numerous learning patterns.
Dr. Tieren Zhou is the CEO and Chief Technology Architect of Kloud, an interactive meeting and collaboration platform that also serves as a plug-in solution that can be easily integrated with any business software or platform. When Zhou founded Kloud eleven years ago, he invented a new technology to conduct online meetings and lectures, which allows for a reduction in panic and anxiety when it comes to the natural pitfalls of today’s live-streaming technology that was essential during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For over 25 years, Zhou has been considered a leader in the IT industry, while delivering a full-suite of leading project management tools, IT services, and helpdesk tools used by over 2,000 customers across 45 countries.
DZone spoke with Dr. Zhou about why A.I. can take the current academic infrastructure to the next level as we continue navigating through the ongoing variations of the pandemic.
Teachers Aren’t Readily Equipped for E-Learning
When the pandemic first hit, we witnessed a major switch in the pace at which educational institutions were willing to experiment after moving everything they could online. With over 124,000 schools closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, teachers were doing their best in an unprecedented and uncertain period of time.
Most teachers collectively shared that the biggest problem they had was not having enough time to do the training that they needed to understand how to teach online. What institutions were doing throughout the pandemic was providing a Band-Aid to minimize the stress.
Since 2020, institutions, including law schools, have begun to adopt a hybrid model, mixing virtual with in-person learning, requiring courses to be set up with the proper hardware to accommodate a smooth experience.
Prior to the pandemic, institutions were notorious for their slow adoption of new technologies. Teachers just weren’t ready to tackle e-learning, whether due to their own ineptitudes or inability to properly manage the time it takes to put a full learning lesson together, including both lecture and application.
Dr. Zhou shared that after having the ability to work with these schools and universities, there is a willingness for faster adoption, referencing the University Canada West and LMS Pulse as two examples of institutions who have experienced the benefits of Kloud’s LiveDoc technology.
“Teachers and administrators alike are looking into ways to gain an edge and remain relevant in the digital age, and they do this by providing their students with platforms that are interesting, innovative, and foremost digital,” he said.
Video Conferencing Was a Short-Term Solution
Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant changes in the way people work, specifically how academia was able to (somewhat) adapt to drastic changes of keeping students connected with the curriculum outside of the classroom.
One of these changes was the rise of video conferencing and how it served as a solution for communicating, screen sharing, and holding work meetings.
By April 2020, Zoom had experienced over 350 million daily participants, with over 90,000 schools using Zoom at the height of the pandemic — a sharp increase from the 10 million in December 2019.
In 2020, the platform witnessed a $2.6 billion annual revenue, with over $671 million in profit. Other platforms like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet also experienced significant growth.
However, what we are now seeing as we are navigating through the Omicron variant of the pandemic is that video conferencing was only a temporary solution for maintaining some semblance of a “status quo” in educational curricula.
While it is likely that video conferencing will continue long after the pandemic ends, the current usage of these platforms is extremely limited and challenging for users, who often complain of exhaustion and fatigue — both mentally and physically.
“For a long time, education needed to evolve to adapt to the digital lifestyle, and we’ve now been driven into it at high speed,” Zhou explains. “The next step will be for companies to innovate and create tools that will enhance the learning experience as we know it today and really make a significant change in the way we deliver content and engage with it so we can continue to motivate students to learn.”
With newer technology, teachers are able to prepare highly interactive online courses that adapt to the knowledge level of different students. For example, one document can have many different exploration paths with expandable knowledge bits such as videos, voice recordings of the teacher, memos, sticky notes, and animated annotations that each student can discover on their own.
Another example is the ability for teachers and educational institutions to have an all-in-one platform that differs from Blackboard, Isidore, and similar systems — which create a fully streamlined cloud-based “school” where all meetings, documents, courses, and conversations can be hosted.
This ultimately eliminated the requirement to jump back and forth between different tools to accomplish the teacher’s requirements, which keep current platforms stagnant and confusing.
By providing teachers with the proper cloud-based and A.I. tools to put a fully immersive learning lesson together, it will position students to be better suited to learn and absorb information in new ways that today’s generation can truly appreciate.
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