Bootstrapping kit to self-learn


Guy Claxton identified “ taughtitis” as an unintended consequence of learning at School ( ). 

Thomas Fray ( ) said if we insert a teacher between us and what we need to learn, we can’t learn fast enough to be ready for the future. 

Yuval Noah Harari has drawn attention ( ) to the possibility of falling into the “useless class” without a concerted effort …..

The NEP 2030 at para 4.6 has emphasised the criticality of “ learning to learn”, but not much help in how to become an autonomous learner has been made available. 

To respond to this need I have developed a WhatsApp course on “ Learning to Self-Learn” (

I have developed this approach to becoming an independent learner, that is based on a providing the learner with a number of resource kits to learn on one’s own a variety of subjects/skills. 

Self-learning is listed as “ Swadhyaya” amongst the 5 Niyamas of Patanjali Yoga, and is therefore our tradition long before the distortions created by the British rulers. In order to succeed and flourish in the future we need to embrace the emerging technologies of AI and machine learning on our firm foundations.  

One can get a sense of what is involved in becoming a successful self-learner by perusing the bootstrap kit for self-learning. This kit contains the following information, made available as a set of WhatsApp posts. Item 8 is the most useful in these, as it is a curated list of a number of very useful resources for self-learning: 

1: What is this kit for?

2: What this kit contains?

3: Quotations on self-learning

4: How to use this kit?

5: How AI changes things?

6: When teachers were humans

7: Levels of AI empowered self-learners

8: Resources for self-learners 

9: Threshold Concepts

10: What next?

To buy the kit please remit Rs 500/- through PayTM to mobile number 9810073724 or deposit into the following Bank account:

Name: Madan Mohan Pant

HDFC Bank Account No. : 26451000000301*

*(The account number is 26451 followed by six zeroes followed by 301)

IFSC: HDFC0002645

Address: HDFC Bank, Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon

Should you desire to know more, please WhatsApp, your query to :

 Prof. M. M. Pant  at +91 98100 73724

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Learning to Self-Learn:

Today marks one year of the NEP2020. One of its key recommendations is “ Learning to Learn”. These 5 videos give a glimpse of the future for which education should be preparing you. For everything that the education policy may not equip you with, you will have to find your own path, ( become आत्म निर्भर) if you want to avoid being a member of the ‘useless class’: 

1: Humans need not apply: CGP Grey (15 minutes)  :

2: Robots and AI: every job at risk (15 minutes) :

3: Yuval Noah Harari : automation and the useless class (4 minutes)  :

4: Guy Claxton on Learning Power (15 minutes)  :

5: Thomas Frey : 2030 and the future of education (3 minutes)  :

An hour spent watching these 5 videos could be life-changing. As the Buddha had said “ Be a lamp unto yourself”. 

In the Patanjali Yoga framework, it is listed among  the 5 niyamas as Swadhyaya ( स्वाध्याय)meaning self-learning as well as self-reflection, and resonating Socrates that “an unexamined life is not worth living”. 

Get started with :

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Educating Oneself for an unknown and uncertain world:

“Educating oneself for an unknown and uncertain world”

One of my favorite stories that I have been sharing these days is about Albert Einstein and his teaching assistant when he was teaching at Princeton University. He had just wrapped up administering a test to a group of second year physics students when his teaching assistant approached him and asked, “Dr. Einstein, wasn’t that the same exam you gave to this sameclass of students last year?”

Einstein paused for a moment then replied, “Yes, it was the same exam.”

Perplexed by that answer, his teaching assistant then asked, “ How could you give the same exam to the same class two years in a row?”

“You’re right, these are the same questions as last year”  Einstein replied– “but the answers have changed.”

The point Einstein was trying to make, was that due to the number of insights and discoveries in the field of physics, the correct answers at that moment were very different from what they were even a year ago. He had himself during the year published 4 pathbreaking papers, on Brownian movement, Special Theory of relativity, General theory of relativity and the photoelectric effect. And people like Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Neils  Bohr, Max Planck, Paul Dirac, Wolfgang Pauli and others were laying the foundations of Quantum Mechanics as the theory to describe the world. 

I love this story because it’s so reflective of how education has fundamentally transformed over just a year. Our Bharata Ratna Prof CNR Rao had said in a meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2015 that 90% of our University Curricula were out of date ( Heads of 114 institutions where the President is the visitor were participating in the three-day Conference. But no one took note. 

Now a virus about 100 nm in diameter ( has shaken up the entire education system during the last year. 

The Questions regarding teaching are the same but the answers have changed, and many of you will agree, over the past one year. 

The same questions :

  • Who teaches?
  • Where do we teach? 
  • How do the learners access learning? 
  • How do we support learners ( pastoring)?
  • How do we assess learners? 
  • What learning resources do we deploy? 
  • How do we manage their credentials?

 What has changed? 

  • The mobile learning infrastructure : Reliance-Google collaboration with Android Go… the new Operating System. This was scheduled to be announced at the Reliance AGM on 24th June 2021, but there may be some hiccups according to reports. This phone is expected to reach 900 million users ( learners). 
  • From being banned in educational Institutions, the mobile device will become the key learning device. 
  • The 4th Industrial revolution : Klaus Schwab in WEF 2016. 
  • In January 2021 WEF estimated that a billion people have to be re-skilled by the year 2030. 
  • The 4th Education Revolution : Anthony Seldon 
  • The AI recommendation and personalisation engines 
  • Learning Software like AlphaGo Zero and self-driving cars
  • The Pandemic………imposed restrictions in movement and proximity….

What will be the new educational ecosystem?

10 Elements of the new educational eco-system: 

1: Educators who are AI empowered self-learning facilitators

2: Lifelong self-learning communities ( as opposed to age and stage based learning) and co-learning spaces. 

3: AI supported HelpDesks

4: A personal learning chatbot for every learner

5: AI powered learning Apps.( Duolingo, iMath etc.) 

6: An AI powered personalised assessment, monitoring and feedback system 

7: Learning Prescriptions, Learning Capsules and Learning Pills

8: Mobile Learning ( not desktop). 

9: Wearables for self-learning ( AR and VR) 

10: Blockchains and badges for credentials 

Like the development of Quantum Physics, each of these elements are being developed and explored by many entrepreneurs and innovators. From Sugata Mitra’s explorations in SOLE ( Self-organised learning environments: Child Driven Education  )to Teacherless software professional development as in Ecole42 (  and Elon Musk’s recent Synthesis initiative ( ) are all progressive steps that give glimpses of the future of education. In due course, they will merge into a new  Science of learning that will be able to function together, and address its  key challenges: the challenge of numbers, the challenge of quality, the challenge of access, the challenge of relevance and the challenge of costs.

The matter is urgent, because various reports have suggested the mismatch between what is expected of educated persons and what we have, to the extent that Yuval Noah Harari has warned of an emerging “useless class” (

As was said by William Gibson, almost 20 years back in an article in the The Economist, December 4, 2003…..” The future is already here  – it’s just not evenly distributed”


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Learning Prescriptions:

Learning Prescriptions: 

For about 5 years, since the World Economic Forum in January 2016 described the present era as the 4th Industrial Age, and Anthony Seldon used the phrase “ Fourth Education Revolution”, I have been exploring disruptive innovations in education. While using mobile phones as access devices and WhatsApp as the messaging platform was relatively easy to arrive at, the real disruptive thought was that the emphasis on teaching has to give way to focus on learning. British Universities have a long tradition of two formats, where most undergraduate courses are delivered through taught classes, but Masters degrees can be either postgraduate taught programmes (PGT) or research programmes (PGR).

In today’s time, with an  abundance of digital resources, especially AI powered learning Apps such as Duolingo, the alternative to ‘being taught’ is perhaps more desirable as Guy Claxton says in this video, traditional education causes “ taughtitis”

 I have created a WhatsApp course on “ Learning to Self-Learn”. For details follow this link :

This has been followed up by the concept of “ Learning Prescriptions” for what is not traditionally taught or not accessible to you. I had been earlier espousing the idea of a “ to learn” list in analogy to the “ to do “ list that is well known in project implementation. Prescriptions have a better possibility of being acted upon and followed, than mere suggestions or exhortations. I am developing this concept, as learning is eventually personalised. It builds upon the concepts of “ Bibliotherapy” and “ CBT: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” to create a product for self-directed learners, who would want to follow the 5- hour rule and try to stay away from joining the useless class predicted by Yuval Noah Harari 

I just did a short one hour WhatsApp fast a-synchronous session scheduled from 4pm to 5pm on 26th May 2021 for about 70 participants to explain this concept and share a sample Learning Prescription for “ Visualising the world in 2030”. 

In future, this program will be on offer, every Sunday from 4pm to 5pm. To know more, kindly send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724

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The Transformational Term:

The Transformational Term: 

The phrase “ Transformational Term” refers to the period of transformation from adolescence (~15 years) to adult/ youth ( ~18 years)of an individual. It also refers to the transformation from ‘education for the past’ which could be about the Vedic times, the 5th Century, the 15th Century or even the last two decades of the 21st Century, to the future beginning with the 3rd decade of the 21st Century. Most progressive thinkers agree that the future, even the present decade itself, is very different from the entire past. The “Transformational Term” is also very crucial for adult learners, getting ready for the rest of their lives. It is important to appreciate that Future readiness isn’t expensive. It’s priceless. But only around 5% of the youth and their parents are aware and informed about this. 

While there are many evolutionary and disruptive changes taking place before our eyes, I have made a small endeavour to facilitate this transformation for those who wish to future proof their learning and career. 

I have developed and have on offer from June 2021 through WhatsApp a set of six one month long course modules that can be pursued during this transformational term. They are :

1: Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) :

2: Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU):

3: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI):

4: Readiness for a Quantum Future (R4QF):

5: The Foundations of Biology (TFOB):

6: Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM) :

The duration of this transformational term can be customised by  each person and can range from 6 months to 2 months, depending upon the learner. 

A: The six month default plan is to pursue the 6 courses in the listed order. Alternatively after doing the first course in the first month, the remaining 5 courses may be done in any order. So there would be 5! or 120 different routes to do the 6 month program. 

B: The four month plan would have course 1 in the first month, 2 courses each in the next 2 months and 1 course in the 4th month. In this model, the second month courses can be chosen in 10 different ways and the  3rd month courses can be chosen in 6 ways, leading to 60 choices for this model . 

C: The three month plan would have the first course in the first month, 2 courses in the 2nd month and the remaining 3 courses in the 3rd month. the 2 courses for the second month can be chosen in 10 different ways. Even that is a lot of choice. 

D: For the really enthusiastic ultra-learner, this suite of 6 courses may be done in 2 months. The first month pursuing these 3 courses concurrently : 1: Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) ; 2: Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU) and 3: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI). Then during the second month the remaining 3 courses may be pursued concurrently :4: Readiness for a Quantum Future (QR); 5: The Foundations of Biology (TFOB) and 6: Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM). 

Compressing the 6 courses into a shorter time frame is not recommended, and the first month should always begin with course 1: Learning to Self-Learn. 

We are offering a big choice in the sequence/ path that the learner may choose to structure “ The Transformational Term”. 

Brief descriptors of the courses: 

1: Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) :

This course begins with drawing attention to the significance of self-learning, describes the attributes of successful self-learners, and explains the techniques ( or you may call them the toolkit) for becoming a successful self-learner. It concludes with sharing how technology in general, and AI in particular can help in making a better self-learner

2: Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU) :

There are several reports that indicate the widespread job losses for educated workers and professionals. The title of this course is a reaction to the 2017 statement by Yuval Noah Harari that the rise in AI technologies would create a “useless class”. The WEF in its January 2020 meeting estimated that about a billion people have to be reskilled by the year 2030. The key to prospering, flourishing and thriving in the future will be to continuously enhance your value and become the most ‘invaluable’ person in your niche. This 4 week course helps build a general ‘immunity’ against knowledge obsolescence by fostering skills considered valuable by various think tanks and forward looking organisations. But the foundation for becoming invaluable is “ Fostering a Scientific Temper”, a fundamental duty cast upon all Indians by Article 51A(h) of the Constitution of India. 

3: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI):

We are now in the 4th Industrial Age and while Artificial Intelligence has been compared to being the new electricity, it’s availability through the cloud and mobile devices is much more universal. Since AI helps automate tasks which were earlier done by humans, it’s potential to enhance almost all human activities is enormous.  This is an introductory course for anyone who is curious to know what are the various aspects of AI. That is why it has been given the title ” Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence”. This course is a fascinating introduction for the curious, with substantial guidance on more for the serious. 

4: Readiness for a Quantum Future(R4QF):

After the nuclear race, the space race and the AI race, it is the Quantum race that has the spotlight. Quantum Technologies will shape science and the world economy, re-defining the speed, and scale of scientific and technological progress in the future.  Google achieved ‘ Quantum Supremacy’, on 23rd October 2019.

Quantum readiness, therefore, is a very crucial element of future readiness.     

Thus students of all streams, engineering, medical or business are well advised to get an early start on appreciating the quantum world. 

5: The Foundations of Biology (TFOB) :

Biology is the science of life. Its name is derived from the Greek words “bios” (life) and “logos” (study). Biologists study the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution of living organisms. 

The customary introduction of fundamental biological entities such as individual organisms, cells, genes, catalysts and motors remains largely descriptive. This new introductory course attempts to  describe the foundations of biology in terms of a certain unity of human knowledge that transcends discipline boundaries. 

6: Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM) :

Galileo said that the book of nature is written in the language of Mathematics.  

Mathematics is humanity’s best tool for trying to describe how the world works; indeed, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics at explaining the world is a bit of a mystery. It is therefore said to be the Queen of Sciences. 

This unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics is both an asset and a curse. It’s clearly an asset in that it generates interest in the subject to have key problems solved. On the other hand, it’s a curse because it leads people to misunderstand the reason for doing mathematics is its present day utility.


My Scheduled posts time :

Around Lunch-time:

12:30 to 1:30 pm : Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) 

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm : Readiness for a Quantum Future (R4QF)

During afternoon tea-time:

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm : Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU)

4:30 pm to 5:30 pm : The Foundations of Biology (TFOB)

Over Dinner: 

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm : Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI)

8:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM) 

Scheduled dates in June 2021:

1st week : Tuesday June 1st to Saturday June 5th

2nd week: Monday June 7th to Friday June 11th

3rd week: Monday June 14th to Friday June 18th

4th week: Monday June 21st to Friday June 25th

Scheduled dates in July 2021:

1st week: Monday July  5th to Friday July 9th

2nd week: Monday July 12th to Friday July 16th

3rd week : Monday July 19th to Friday July 23rd

4th week : Monday July 26th to Friday July 30th

The schedule for later months will be shared nearer the course offerings, as there may be other changes as well.

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Learning Prescriptions:

Learning Prescriptions:

During the last year, it has become clear that we need new innovations in education. One such innovation is the “ Learning Prescription”. I had been earlier espousing the idea of a “ to learn” list in analogy to the “ to do “ list that is now well known in project implementation.

The five-hour rule was coined by Michael Simmons, founder of Empact, who has written about it widely. The concept is wonderfully simple: No matter how busy successful people are, they always spend at least an hour a day — or five hours a work week — learning or practicing. And they do this across their entire career. For more read here : ……

When you make learning a habit, you’ll very likely be more successful and productive across different areas of your life. By investing in a reading habit, you can ensure you’re growing yourself — and your company — every day.

Prescriptions have a better possibility of being acted upon and followed, than mere advice or exhortations. I am developing this concept, as learning is eventually personalised.

To get a flavour of what “ Learning Prescriptions” might look like, here is a sample 5-hour learning prescription to use during the coming week. Prescription to be carried out to build ‘ learning power’. 


Videos: (5) ~ 3 hours

1: Ken Robinson : The element (40 minutes) :

2: Paul Nurse : What is Life? (60 minutes) :

3: The map of Mathematics (11 minutes ):

4: The usefulness of useless knowledge: (55 minutes) :

5: Why most people will remain in mediocrity (12 minutes) :


1: The Sabre tooth curriculum:

2: The Dragon Slayer Curriculum:

3: The parrots tale:

4: ElDorado :

5: On being the right size:

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Success Skills for School Leavers:

Later in the day, I am in conversation with a group of students who should be completing their School education soon. Unlike their seniors who had a rather predictable and deterministic future, these children of the 21st Century are witnessing that what lies ahead is a VUCA ( Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous ) world. While the details of the courses and career paths will be unique to each person, here are some general suggestions for them to prosper, flourish and thrive in the coming age of Intelligent Machines. Inspired by the 8 sutras of Patanjali Yoga and the 8-fold path of Buddhism, I have prioritised 8 skills. The first 4 of them are generic skills and the other 4 are more specific. They are: 

1: Learning to Self-Learn

2: Pursue Mastery Learning 

3: Fostering a Scientific temper 

4: Developing Foresight 

5: Fluency in Mathematics 

6: Fundamentals of Biology

7: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence

8: Become Quantum Ready

To explore these further, feel free to seek guidance from Prof. MM Pant. 

e-mail :

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Learning to Self-Learn:


Certified Master Trainers Training Programme (Learning to Self – Learn)

🎙️ Resource Person – 

Prof. M M Pant Madan Pant Former Pro Vice Chancellor, IGNOU & Brand Ambassador – CED FOUNDATION ( and 


National Institute of Education (Maldives) & GTEF -Training & Assessment Unit Registered under MSME, Govt. of India

📚 Programme Schedule –

🗓️  Date : 05th April 2021 – 30th April, 2021(Except Saturdays &  Sundays)

⏰  Duration : 04Weeks | Timings : 04:00 PM – 05:00 PM(IST)

💻  Delivery Platform : Zoom

👩‍🏫 Who should join the programme ?

For Trainers, Teachers, Counsellors & School Leaders

👉 #RegistrationLink – LIMITED SEATS          

Training Unit

#CEDGlobal Ced India

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What is worth learning?…in the age of intelligent machines

What is worth learning? 

……..In the age of intelligent machines: 

The Backdrop: 

One of the most important questions that we face these days regarding education is—- what’s worth learning? What’s worth learning for the present times? What’s worth learning for the next decade? And the trouble is this very, very important question is really not asked nearly often enough. Discourse around education tends to be about the method. I think that we need to think in terms of educating for the unknown.

Up until now , most people were not confronted with this question because knowledge was accessible in very limited ways, according to social norms or legal requirements. Starting from the stories of Eklavya and Karna in the Indian tradition to Thomas Hardy’s  ‘Jude the Obscure’. Fast forward to present times when you can’t access an IIT education or a medical education unless you fulfil certain conditions, and some young people even commit suicide because they were not able to get admissions to the courses of their choice. 

Even nursery admissions are a very complex process with occasional judicial interventions and not simply a matter of choice. 

But there is another world taking shape that many persons including policy makers are not seeing. This is an example of the now famous ‘Gorilla in the room’ experiment carried out in 1999 by the Harvard psychologists Christopher Chablis and Daniel Simons. 

This is the world of MOOCs, educational Apps and chatbots that we fail to recognise as ways to learn almost anything. As Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University in his 2018 book “ The Fourth Education Revolution” says that today a person can learn almost anything that he or she really wants to learn. 

And the most visible proof is how this country learnt to use the mobile phone, and that too without a National Policy on how to use the mobile phone formulated by a committee of 10 over 4 years. And now that we have learnt how to use the mobile, the next step is to use the mobile to learn. 

This gives rise to a new and very important question : what is it that is worth learning? And as every person is unique, there cannot be the same answer for everyone. 

There is a delightful story of how Albert Einstein as a Professor at the Institute of Advance Study at Princeton University one day gave his students a final exam that was a year old. In fact, Einstein had given his students the exact same final exam the year before. His teaching assistant noticed the “error” and timidly made the famous physicist aware of his mistake. Einstein looked closer at the newly distributed sheet and answered: “You’re right, these are the same questions as last year – but the answers have changed.”

One question “ What is worth learning?”, now has a very different answer than it had in any of the earlier decades. This is the decade when according to IBM and other leaders, Quantum Computing would have moved out of research into the world of applications. 

The World Economic Forum has listed the top 10 most important Skills for 2020 and beyond. Jeanette Wing has drawn attention to learning Computational Thinking and Elon Musk has emphasised the criticality of First Principles. And there are lists of trending technologies. So the focus must shift to learning itself: mastery learning, self-learning and lifelong learning. This ne hour session has information about and links to various resources that will help you to be better prepared to prosper and flourish in the coming decade.

This one hour WhatsApp interaction responds to this fundamental question and  can be accessed through a mobile phone, independent of location, on an  evening of any 3rd Saturday of the month that suits you. The next batch for this course is on Saturday 20th  March 2021.

To register for this course :

First pay the fee of Rs 500/- by PayTM to MM Pant ( mobile number : 9810073724). 

Then send a Whatsapp message to MM Pant ( 9810073724) with the following information :

1: Name : First and Last

2: Mobile phone number linked to Whatsapp 

3: PayTM transaction number/ screenshot

4: Your brief profile ( optional)

If you would rather pay to a Bank through electronic transfer, then the required information is : 

Madan Mohan Pant, HDFC Bank, 

Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon 

A/c 26451000000301



To know more, send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724

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AInEd Supremacy:

AInEd Supremacy

Recently China announced that it had achieved Quantum Supremacy. Google had made the same claim in October2019. The phrase ‘ Quantum Supremacy’  was coined  in 2012 by the Caltech Professor John Preskill to describe the  situation when a Quantum Computer could solve a problem that no classical computer of the day could solve in a reasonable time. 

In a similar spirit I have coined  the phrase “ AInEd Supremacy” to describe the situation when the AI technology of the day in conjunction with a human educator will achieve learning outcomes that no traditional teacher with traditional technology could achieve. This may also be seen as the solution to the 2 sigma problem identified in 1984 by Benjamin Bloom.

About a decade earlier, while teaching at IIT Kanpur, I had explored Mastery Learning with Personalised Instruction, for which I had published a paper : M.M. Pant, “Experiment with self–paced instruction in undergraduate Physics”, J. of Phys. Education, 3, 1 (1975).

The AInEd supremacy will be achieved during this decade, perhaps much earlier with the use of Chatbots, Face and emotion recognition, recommender systems, text to speech, speech to text and machine translation. And of course technologies like GPT3 which were explained in this group earlier by Dr. RC Sharma. 

The 2018 book by Anthony Seldon “ The fourth Education revolution” explains how AI will fundamentally transform education. He says that so far education has been the Cinderella of the AI story. 

Terrence Sejnowski, Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, says that “ Education is going to be the killer app for deep learning”. 

Sir Anthony Seldon illustrates how each of five traditional factors in teaching will be transformed by AI over the coming decades: 

  1. Preparation of material will be done by ‘Curation specialists . . whose job it is to work with AI machines to author and identify the most appropriate material for particular student profiles.’ 
  2. Organisation of the learning space: ‘Separate classrooms will disappear in time and replaced by pods and wide open, flexible spaces which can be configured for individual and flexible collective learning. Sensors will monitor individual students, measuring their physiological and psychological state, picking up on changes faster and more accurately than any teacher could.’ 
  3. Presentation of material to optimise learning/deeper understanding: ‘The flexibility of visual representation with AI allows material to be presented to students which renders much teacher exposition redundant.’ 
  4. Setting assignments and assessing/self-assessing progress: ‘Advances in real-time assessment enabled by AI will virtually eliminate this waiting period [the time lag between students being assessed and them receiving feedback on their performance} and ensure feedback comes when most useful for learning.’ 
  5. Preparation for terminal examinations and writing summative reports: ‘All this will be swept away by AI. . . . In its place will be attention to continuous data reporting, and real time feedback that will help students discover how to learn autonomously and how to address any deficiencies on their own.’ 

Will we need teachers in the future? Seldon is clear ‘We do not believe that it is either possible or desirable for AI to eliminate teachers from education’ but he goes on to point out that ‘the application of AI places more responsibility for learning in the hands of the student, for how their time is spent and on what, even from a young age.’ AI will change however the job of the teacher forever. By supporting teaching in all their five traditional tasks, AI will usher in the biggest change the profession has ever seen.’ We will see the emergence of the AI fluent SmartEducator. 

Interestingly Seldon recognises that remote teaching is a distinct possibility: ‘Imminent advances in virtual technologies will mean too that teachers no longer have to be physically present to offer their services.’ 

The technology to deploy ‘holograms’ for professor’s presence anywhere ( watch this 4 minute video) already exists. With time it will become more readilyavailsble:

Technology powered by AI could even hel on resurrecting dead professors :

In addition to the help that AI will provide to facilitate the tasks of a teacher, there are a few more results that learning analytics will provide that enhance the teaching quality and the learning effectiveness. For example when the learner is transacting the content, data will automatically be recorded for the time spent at various sections. With permission granted to record facial expressions, there will be very useful data that indicates the level and nature of engagement with the content. The qualities of grit, perseverance etc. referred to by Paul Tough in his seminal work “ How children succeed” can now be observed and analysed quantitatively. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.

To help with his class the spring of 2016, a Georgia Tech professor Ashok Goel, hired Jill Watson, a teaching assistant unlike any other in the world. Throughout the semester, she answered questions online for students, relieving the professor’s overworked teaching staff.

But, in fact, Jill Watson was an artificial intelligence bot.

Ashok Goel, a computer science professor, did not reveal Watson’s true identity to students until after they’d turned in their final exams.

With more human-like interaction, Goel expects online learning could become more appealing to students and lead to better educational outcomes.

Just as professors may use AI as teaching assistants, students could use a chatbot to facilitate individual mastery learning, the technology that Bloom suggested in his 1984 research….the two sigma  problem. It would have taken about 40 years to realise Bloom’s vision. 

AI and related technologies can help bring the Oxford/ Cambridge tutorial system to any University that chooses to adopt it. While a good deal of the teaching in Oxford is provided in just the same way as elsewhere – through lectures, seminars, fieldwork and practicals – the tutorial system is what sets Oxford (and Cambridge!) apart.

Universities in future will have a physical campus as well as a campus “in the cloud”. Former faculty and graduated students can continue to take part in the “cloud events” when they have left the Campus. 

Universities will continue to support their students with lifelong learning even after they have received their degrees so that they continue to ( in the words of Alvin Toffler) learn, unlearn and re-learn. In addition to the traditional degrees, such micro-credentials may be given as ‘digital badges’, which in due course may be managed as ‘ Blockchains’. 

In about a decade from now, the impact of the science of learning empowered with Artificial Intelligence will be seen on many features of the present educational landscape that we take for granted. Every student would have access to the best education in the field of choice, in a time schedule that is optimised for the learner. It is extremely tough to determine as to which teaching method resonates with most of the students. A well designed tutoring programme, with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, can overcome this roadblock in the swiftest possible manner. As a matter of fact, a few tutoring programmes based on AI are already in place and they cater to students across different levels and subjects, such as science, mathematics, writing etc. Though such systems and programmes are not that effective when it comes to high-order creativity, they are extremely efficient for clarity on fundamentals and concepts.

The various School leaving Board examining bodies will become irrelevant, as will the entrance examinations such as the various incarnations of the JEE-IIT, NEET, CAT, LSAT etc. Just like the technologies of CAT-scan, MRI or PET did not replace doctors, but made them more effective, the science of learning with technologies of the 4th Industrial Age will help educators to be a very important element of the success of the country and its people in the emerging knowledge economy. 

The current state of assessment:

Of the various formats of questions that are used for assessments, multiple choice questions, fill in the blank or match entries from 2 columns are easily capable of being automated and evaluated with computers. Not only can a large number of students be graded automatically, the items can be evaluated on features such as facility, reliability and discrimination index. With good quality items for the bank of questions, it is relatively straightforward to implement an adaptive testing system.

The essay type questions are a formidable challenge to automated machine testing. But recent developments in machine learning, have made grading and assessments of essay type questions possible. 

This is also a time that shows up the irrelevance of the monolithic terminal examinations. Sir Anthony Seldon in his 2018 book “ The fourth education revolution” has analysed why such examinations will no longer be relevant. Sir Anthony, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, added that continuous assessment would sound the death-knell for exams: “The all-conquering cumulative exam is going to die and we should celebrate its death…The monolithic exam is drawing to a spluttering end.”

Micro-credentials are one of the hot rising idea in the education space. To understand the basics, go look at your child’s Xbox or PlayStation.

For most of the major games, there is an accompanying set of achievements, or badges. Every time a player achieves a particular task (kill 50 zombies without reloading, drive over every tree in the enchanted forest, smash every Lego fire hydrant, etc.) they get a small digital badge on their big page of achievements.

Micro-credentials take a similar approach to education. The root of the idea is simple–you demonstrate a very specific skill, and a badge certifying that micro-credential becomes part of your personal digital file. Some of the earliest micro-credentialing involved computer programming skills, but it has grown far beyond that. To see just how many types of micro-credentials are out there, take a look at Digital Promise. 

It offers micro-credentials of its own, but it also provides a platform for other entities to offer their own sets of micro-credentials.

To answer the question of what is worth learning, we need to balance between ‘pure’ learning and ‘applied learning’. The Usefulness of useless knowledge by Abraham Flexner, founding Director of Institute of Advanced Study Princeton: There are many reports that refer to the decreasing half-lives of useful knowledge. 

To have an experience of what AI can already do for language learning, please explore Similar AI powered learning apps are available for some other subjects also. To appreciate how Duolingo uses AI in its design and delivery see :

These are a few educational applications that harness the power of AI to improve learning in students of all ages – from primary school through to college – and empower both learner and teacher with more avenues for reaching their educational goals.

  1. Thinkster Math:20 Thinkster Math is a tutoring app that blends real math curriculum with a personalised teaching style. They use artificial intelligence and machine learning in their math tutor app to visualise how a student is thinking as they work on a problem. This allows the tutor to quickly spot areas in a student’s thinking and logic that have caused them to become stuck, and assist them through immediate, personalised feedback.
  2. Brainly:21 Brainly is a platform where students can ask homework questions and receive automatic, verified answers from fellow students. The site even allows students to collaborate and find solutions on their own. Brainly uses machine learning algorithms to filter out spam.
  3. Content Technologies, Inc.:22 Content Technologies, Inc (CTI) is an AI company that uses Deep Learning to create customised learning tools for students, such as JustTheFacts101, where teachers import syllabi into a CTI engine. The CTI machine then uses algorithms to create personalised textbooks and coursework based on core concepts. Cram101 is another example of their AI-enhanced offering, where any textbook can be turned into a smart study guide, providing bite-sized content that is easy to learn in a short amount of time. It even produces multiple choice questions, saving students time and helping them learn more effectively.
  4. MATHiaU:23 Similar to Thinkster Math, Carnegie Learning’s MATHiaU offers AI-based tutoring tools for higher ed students who feel lost in lecturer-sized classrooms. The app is guided by each student’s unique learning process, keeps them aware of their daily progress, and helps teachers tailor lessons to meet each student’s specific struggle.
  5. Netex Learning:24 Netex Learning allows teachers to design and integrate curriculum across a variety of digital platforms and devices. The easy-to-use platform allows teachers to create customised student content that can be published on any digital platform. Teachers also get tools for video conferences, digital discussions, personalised assignments, and learning analytics that show visual representations of each student’s personal growth.

These should be seen not as the best that AI can do, but as illustrations of the enormous activity in the field, and to form the view that this is not far away. A co-operative symbiotic pursuit by educators and technology developers may achieve AI Supremacy in a short time, by July 2022, when we will be celebrating India@75.


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