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AI Is Changing The Education Industry — And Advertisers Should Embrace This

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has undoubtedly made its way into every aspect of society, from small daily activities to giant industry processes. In the context of education, AI refers to the use of computer systems and algorithms that process and analyze vast amounts of data to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. 


With the introduction of AI into the classroom, the education space has experienced some changes. AI introduces new tools such as virtual tutors, interactive simulations and adaptive learning platforms. AI can also customize curriculum content and pacing to suit each student's abilities and learning style. 


Advertisers must understand this cultural shift and embrace the adaptation of AI to give clients in the education industry a competitive advantage.


The Education Industry Is Changing


Larger, macro changes brought by AI to the educational system have to do with the language model. These powerful algorithms use words as data points and assign weighted probabilities to understand and interact with human language. This serves as the foundation for many AI-powered educational tools and systems, such as Chat GPT, Perplexity and Bard. 


Educational psychology distinguishes between two thinking systems: System 1 and System 2. System 1 is fast, instinctive and emotional, while System 2 is slow, deliberate and logical. AI often mimics System 1 thinking, enabling it to provide quick responses but also falling trap to flawed human thinking. For example, language models tend to follow the same confirmation biases and logical fallacies that humans exhibit.


AI is able to handle those routine, System 1 tasks, and thus indirectly encourages students to engage in deeper, critical thinking (System 2). For example, while multiple choice questions in the past have purely tested memorization and recall, AI creates a need to test more critical thinking because it can cover the memorization and recall on its own. The “distractor” in a multiple choice question used to be an answer close to the correct answer. Now, the “distractor” can be something that truly mimics flawed human thinking. 


School tests have historically measured memorization as the primary metric for success simply because it is the easiest dimension of intelligence to standardize. AI removes the need to memorize, so we might see a change in our metrics of success and a shift away from memorization and regurgitation. GPA has already seen a decline, and with this movement it might disappear altogether. More broadly, we might see a shift away from the importance of grades as a whole. 


Many teachers are worried that AI will increase at-home cheating, but it may do the opposite in the long run. In order to reduce cheating, educational systems will have to find ways to integrate AI directly into the classroom and swap the quantitative metrics of student success for more qualitative ones. This may look like assigning less busy work and more interactive work for in-classroom activities.


Addressing AI When The Education Industry Is A Client 


This cultural technology will change the way advertisers work with clients in education. 


The incorporation of AI in education is not the first time technology has altered the learning landscape. When calculators came about, educators worried about the decline of arithmetic, but it instead brought the rise of higher level math and real world applications. AI might bring a similar effect. 


The education industry is shifting its values and creating a more fluid understanding of what it means to learn. This creates a need for consumers in the education space that advertisers can address. Teachers are looking for tools that will help boost their students’ learning and decrease their cheating, so they are starting to look at AI as a friend rather than an enemy. 


AI has created a pocket of innovation where educators will be open to new ideas and products, and advertisers can help their clients take advantage of this opportunity. They have the ability to help new key players in areas such as TechEd find their footing. Our predictions are a growth in the TechEd industry, but also the creation of new niches within this market. 


As consumer attitudes change in this industry, advertisers must also find new ways to appeal to their target audience. Advertising professionals have the potential to create a new education narrative, one that is innovative and embraces AI fully.


This new narrative can even be built using AI. By understanding language models, advertisers can use AI as an analytics tool that — paired with employees’ System 2 thinking — can create powerful messaging. It can also help mimic speech patterns that a specific demographic or consumer profile uses, thus creating messages that resonate with a specific audience.


As AI changes the education space, advertisers should step up to tell this story.


By: Rosario Buitrago

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