How AI will transform education, Coursera founder shares insights at a Startup Conclave

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AI, Education & Coursera

BENGALURU: Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, a U.S.-based massive open online course provider, shared his views at the Moneycontrol Startup Conclave, on the topic of ‘Navigating edtech in the AI era.

On being told by his engineers, “Hey Jeff, this stuff is getting pretty powerful”, Jeff said how he then had to get his hands on ChatGPT by early December of 2022. Since then, Coursera has moved pretty aggressively to integrate a ChatGPT implementation of a personalized learning assistant called Coursera Coach. It works on 5000 courses.

On being asked whether he thinks AI will save or destroy education, Jeff said, “I think education has to adapt. Every time the world is changing, everything has to adapt. Relationships, institutions, everything. We’re all going to have to change the way we use tools and even the way we use technology as a thought partner.

“We’re using a large language model, we are not actually doing a lot of fine-tuning right now, and we are constructing prompts that have the kind of context that a tutor would need to give you personalized prompts. So, it allows the language models to be really good at language, but the domain expertise comes from the university and the professor. We are rolling it out and, a little over 25% of our learners have access to Coursera Coach.”

On the impact of generative AI on kids’ learning abilities, Maggioncalda said, “The capability of this technology is quite remarkable, and I was worried that it was giving me too good of an answer. So, we are all figuring out how you can support a learner without letting them cheat. Cheating is a very big threat to the way people learn. So, we want to lend assistance, not give them the whole answer. The student still has to do all the work.

The pandemic was a major accelerator in the adoption of technology for teaching and learning. But even now as people go back to school, we are seeing really strong adoption of online learning in physical classrooms. I think we will never go back to a world of printed textbooks, with every student and every teacher in the same class. So, I think it’s going to be a hybrid world. Even students on campus are taking courses on Coursera, and our courses becoming a part of the curriculum. So, it is a hybrid world, and we all need to be pretty agile because the world is changing pretty quickly,” he added.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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