Informa Australia is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Education | Technology

What to consider before developing an educational AI tool

8 May 2023, by Amy Sarcevic

When Associate Professor and software designer Dr Hassan Kohsravi invented his AI-powered teaching tool, he wasn’t expecting to rack up a series of globally-recognised awards and make an imprint on the, formerly ‘AI-hesitant’, higher education sector.

These accolades, however, mean less to him than the satisfaction he gained from improving his own teaching practice.

His RiPPLE tool, which leverages insights from learning science, helps Dr Khosravi and his colleagues transform student learning into an active, social and personalised experience.

Using the technology, instructors can partner with their students to create pools of high-quality learning resources. Personalised content is then recommended to students based on their mastery level.

“When we set out to create the tool, we were addressing genuine issues and challenges we experience in everyday teaching. We wanted to help students develop competencies in novel content creation, critical thinking, feedback literacy, and communication, all in a collegial environment.

“With the tool, instructors can bank large pools of resources for their courses without the intense time commitment this usually requires. They can offer tailored learning experiences at a very low cost, which benefits students, the teacher and the university as a whole.”

Dr Khosravi says other AI solutions should follow a similar approach and ensure they are addressing genuine issues within education.

“Many tools currently out there act as a vitamin rather than a pain killer. They provide enhancements rather than solving a true pain point, like reducing the time it takes to mark assignments. This limits how well they are received and how widely they are adopted.”

Software development companies should also avoid getting too excited by the technology, without considering the pedagogical science, he says.

“It doesn’t matter how fancy your machine learning or AI technology is. It needs to support teachers in their quest to deliver current, evidence-based teaching methods.”

Once these criteria are satisfied, Dr Khosravi says companies need to consider the Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics (FATE) of their technology.

“Transparency is one of primary things we focussed on in designing RIPPLE. We wanted to create a tool that was clearly supported by empirical research; and which could easily demonstrate its evidence base. We have incorporated various strategies from the literature to make RiPPLE more trustworthy, based on these principles.”

Dr Khosravi says an ethical, pedagogically-sound product that addresses a genuine industry pain-point stands a strong chance of success, with the higher education sector now starting to embrace AI more readily.

However, he warns it can still take many years for products to become mainstream. He and his team developed their tool in 2018 and only started winning recognition in 2021. Four years on, their prominence has exploded.

“We are now feeling very blessed and excited to have our technology noticed on an international level, but it certainly took time to get here,” he said.

“In education, AI has been around since the 1980s, but it is only now being recognised as an important concept. There certainly seems to be more hesitancy here than in other sectors.

“That said, it is certainly worth pursuing. We are in an exciting era for AI and the solutions for education are showing genuine promise. Let’s hope the road for other software developers is shorter than ours!”

Dr Hassan Khosravi is an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland. As a computer scientist by training, Hassan is passionate about the role of artificial intelligence in the future of education. In his research, he draws on theoretical insights from the learning sciences and exemplary techniques from the fields of human-computer interaction to design, implement, validate and deliver technological solutions that contribute to student learning.

Hear more from expert tips from him at the Artificial Intelligence in Education conference due to be held 24 May 2023 at the Swissotel Sydney.

Learn more and register your place here.

Blog insights you may like

Get all the latest on Informa news and events

Informa Connect Australia is the nation's leading event organiser. Our events comprise of large scale exhibitions, industry conferences and highly specialised corporate training.

Find out more

Subscribe to Insights

Join Our Newsletter
Informa Insights

Stay up-to-date with all the latest
updates, upcoming events & more.