3 reasons why AI is education’s future

By Meris Stansbury
August 17th, 2016

UX innovator discusses what forward-thinking schools are doing now, and what AI in education will look like in the near future.

blockchain technology

If you ask kids today why phrases like “hang up” the phone or “roll down” the window exist, chances are they’ll have no idea. Fast-forward to the near future and “search the web” may also cause a few head scratches.

“We’re evolving, but remain electronic ‘hunters and gatherers,’” explained Ralph Lucci, cofounder and user experience director at Behavior Design.

But that’s about to change thanks to today’s quickly emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technology for practically every industry, including education. “The day will soon come when we’ll sardonically ask ourselves: ‘Remember when we had to visit a website and look around for what we needed?’ Now the data comes to us.”

And while mainstream AI isn’t at that level just yet, innovative industries and some schools are already either beginning to implement AI basics or planning to structure entire departments or services on the potential power of AI.

3 Reasons Why AI is Education’s Future


1. It will revolutionize the competition.

Almost every school or institution is currently vying for recognition among students that have become incredibly choosy consumers, and AI could be an effective way to stand out from the crowd, said Lucci.

“If an institution is embracing AI, students know there’s support and structure around these kinds of technologies and modernized learning; which is a good thing. Students will hold the school in higher regard and in turn the institution can attract more diverse and like-minded audiences, including professors and teachers! It’s a win-win situation.”

One of the more immediate ways Lucci sees AI working as a differentiator is via school portals or college and university websites. As he explains, AI provides a much different UX (user experience) than sites today are currently capable of.

According to Lucci, users consume online content in three ways–what behavioral designers call surgical, casual and assisted means. “Most websites employ solutions for quick access (surgical) and the ability to search, browse, and peruse (casual). The notion of guided (assisted) experience is typically only employed when necessary or relevant to the subject matter, e.g. wizards or calculators.” But Lucci noted that with the mainstreaming of AI, websites and portals will allow for this last tier to emerge as a means to simplify experiences and interfaces.


“It may begin as a complementary offering, much like a customer service representative or live chat agent, but eventually this strategy can be front and center in any interface,” he explained. “In either case, a simple “What can we help you with today?” can generate a response in many forms – whether that is a direct answer with next steps or a potential list of results/matches – that initiates a personalized path akin to a choosing-your-own adventure experience. Institutions can ‘test pilot’ AI and adjust accordingly after gleaning feedback about how it may best serve student and school goals.”

Next page: Can AI be personalized?

Add your opinion to the discussion.