ATLANTA—The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today that it is investing $20 million in a collaborative effort by Georgia universities and other partners to leverage artificial intelligence to transform adult learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
Led by the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), the effort unites experts in computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive science, learning science and education from Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, the Technical College System of Georgia, Arizona State University, Boeing, Drexel University, Harvard University, IBM, IMS Global and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Wiley.
The 5-year NSF grant will establish the NSF AI Institute for Adult Learning and Online Education (ALOE) to be headquartered at Georgia Tech, one of 11 NSF AI research institutes.
The ALOE Institute will develop new AI theories and techniques as well as new models of lifelong learning, and evaluate their effectiveness at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, multiple colleges within the Technical College System of Georgia, as well as with corporate partners IBM, Boeing and Wiley. The multinational company Accenture joins NSF as a funding partner of ALOE.
Georgia State will be responsible for the learning analytics portion of the grant, said Scott Crossley, a member of the research team and professor of Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language at the university. Min Kyu Kim, assistant professor in Learning Sciences in Georgia State’s College of Education & Human Development, will serve as co-lead for learning analytics.
“We will be developing algorithms to help better identify successful learning interventions, educational assessments, and opportunities to better engage learners in the educational process,” Crossley said. “A specific focus of interest will be on natural language processing techniques.”
Crossley said the approach will allow for the development of personalized educational technologies and could radically develop adult education.
Myk Garn, the project’s principal investigator, said online education has “enormous implications” for workforce development.
“Yet, serious questions remain about the quality of online learning and how best to teach adults online,” said Garn, a GRA senior advisor and assistant vice chancellor for New Models of Learning at the University System of Georgia.
“Artificial intelligence offers a powerful technology for dramatically improving the quality of online learning and adult education.”