ChatGPT is Disrupting the EdTech Market & It’s Time to Stay Ahead of the Curve
Ever since IBM’s Deep Blue defeated chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov in 1997, there has been a mix of excitement and fear around each subsequent AI advancement. When OpenAI introduced ChatGPT, a powerful language model that generates human-like conversational text, the education industry was among the first to feel the disruption. The new technology has sparked debates similar to those when the first calculators and the internet entered the education world.
The education industry must realize that the new generative AI is transforming not only how students do their homework but also how EdTech companies and institutions will be delivering education from this point on. There are sure to be legal and ethical issues to address, but it’s also clear that generative AI represents a transformative force multiplier for lifelong learning.
The First EdTech Services that Felt the Threat
Currently, many EdTech companies are trying to understand how ChatGPT could potentially disrupt EdTech services and business models. The most obvious areas include homework services, language learning and virtual tutoring. ChatGPT can be used as a virtual homework assistant, answering questions, providing examples, explanations, step-by-step guides and tutorials; and recommending additional resources. For language learning, ChatGPT could replace conversational bots for practicing foreign languages and receiving feedback on grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Similarly, in virtual tutoring, the model can interact with students, providing personalized feedback and helping them work through challenging concepts.
With its intuitive chatbot-like user interface, ChatGPT’s language model could offer extraordinary hyper-personalization of the learning experience disrupting or potentially replacing many personalized learning products.
Generative AI Potential in EdTech
EdTech businesses learned during the pandemic that with great disruption comes great opportunity. ChatGPT is one of many generative AI tools emerging every day in the market, such as DALL-E, Midjourney, Synthesia, Replica, Copy.ai, Jasper and more. These tools can produce human-like content not only in a textual format, like ChatGPT, but also with images, audio and video. How can EdTech companies leverage this technology to advance their businesses?
First, AI could potentially accelerate the speed of content development and provide critical efficiencies in production. Second, it offers opportunities for real-time personalized content generation. Such real-time, AI-generated learning content could be used to enhance a variety of EdTech products, including personalized assessments, language learning, adaptive learning products and learning assistants. Moreover, it could translate learning content in real-time for worldwide availability and generate alternative texts or voiceovers for enhanced accessibility. The possibilities are endless.
In addition to hyper-personalization, generative AI offers numerous other potential benefits, including improved engagement and better learning outcomes. By analyzing a student's learning data, generative AI can provide tailored recommendations to strengthen their performance where needed. Furthermore, with the right tooling for educators, we can eliminate routine tasks, freeing up more time for education and potentially reaching more students.
Embracing Generative AI Opportunities
While some EdTech companies have already started implementing generative AI technology, others are at risk of missing the opportunity to get ahead of the curve. To properly evaluate any AI project, it's critical to assess its feasibility and return on investment. Companies can develop AI capabilities in-house, but it takes time to build expertise in both EdTech and AI. Finding a partner with an established AI practice, evaluation methodology, and frameworks can be helpful in supporting the learning of the technology, experimenting, developing ideas about new products and business models, and creating a proof of concept for a product that ensures ROI.