Education Has an Engagement Problem, and AI can Help Fix it 

May 1, 2024 6:35:26 PM


In the fight for attention, education is outmatched. Social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube leverage millions of creators and advanced AI to create ultra-personalized, highly retentive, and incredibly engaging experiences. In classrooms worldwide, students seem more captivated by the endless scroll of social media feeds than the lessons.

To confront this challenge, educators must acknowledge that traditional methods of instruction can’t compete with the draw of social media platforms. Despite the rise in self-paced, virtual learning, simply digitizing existing practices isn’t enough. 

In today's digital era, where engagement, personalization, and effectiveness are paramount, there's a pressing need to embrace the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI) while guarding against its misuse.

Closing the Technological Gap

The traditional ways students are taught in the U.S. classroom have remained largely unchanged for decades. Students are lectured on new subject matters and then tested shortly after, creating the problem of retaining that information after the test.

As more students turn to Generative AI systems like ChatGPT, it’s clear that they need personalized, on-demand review sessions beyond regular instruction to truly understand and master concepts. Traditional classroom instruction often fails to address individual learning needs, leaving students struggling to retain information—in part because teachers don't have the capacity. While personalized one-on-one tutoring has historically been a privilege reserved for a select few, AI now offers the promise of accessible supplemental learning tailored to each student's pace and requirements.

Students increasingly demand digital-integrated learning experiences, and recent research shows that 92% of teachers believe technology positively impacts student engagement in their classrooms. With our education system relying more on technology than ever, now is the perfect time for educators to fully adopt AI's untapped potential to close the technological gap and ensure students have the appropriate tools to navigate today’s ever-evolving digital landscape.

Scalability and Personalization

As class sizes grow and resources available for educators continue to shrink, teachers are struggling to provide the personalized attention and tailored instruction required for each student to master a subject.

This issue is exacerbated by the traditional lecture approach to education, which often doesn’t engage students or create memorable interactive learning experiences. Paired with curriculums that allocate the same amount of time for each subject matter, regardless of how well the students comprehend it, the one-size-fits-all learning format fails to accommodate the individualized learning pace and preferences of all students, making it difficult for educators to ensure equitable access to quality education for all.

Through AI-generated interactive content, students can actively engage with subjects from English to all branches of the STEM tree in a personalized, unique way, creating a dynamic learning experience that makes education enjoyable and more memorable. AI also can provide real-time progress feedback and tailored guidance to individual students. Educators who leverage technology to engage students better will also be able to understand how they learn better.

Personalized Feeds Enters Education

As the VP of AI at Meta for nearly five years, my team was focused on using AI to make Meta products safer and more valuable.

Before taking the leap into education, I knew there was a better way to leverage AI for more than just advertisements and content recommendations—a way that would truly benefit society. If you and I each created a new TikTok account and spent 30 minutes scrolling, we would have two entirely different social media experiences. If that kind of personalization can be used for social media, why can’t it also be applied to education?

Just last month, Sizzle AI introduced the Sizzle Feed, a personalized learning feed within our mobile app that curates bite-sized exercises tailored to any subject. By leveraging AI technology, Sizzle turns any syllabus into targeted practice problems, enabling continuous and active learning opportunities at the users' convenience—whether at their classroom desks or on the go.

In addition to creating countless personalized learning content, we’ve ensured that the platform provides positive reinforcement and overall motivation to ensure every user remains motivated throughout their learning journey. 

Looking Forward

Social media platforms have embraced AI to make their products ultra-engaging. To compete for students' attention, educators must also embrace AI, viewing it not as a threat but as an empowering tool that can close educational inequities rather than widen them.

AI is now enabling personalized learning experiences to a degree once thought impossible, tailored to meet the needs of every student, whether at home or in school. This is a unique opportunity to redefine education and ensure every student thrives in our rapidly changing world. Let's seize it!

Jerome Pesenti

Jerome Pesenti is the CEO and founder of Sizzle. Previously, he served as VP of AI at Meta, focusing on making Meta products safer and more valuable. Before Meta, Jerome was co-CEO of BenevolentAI, which develops novel AI technologies that will change how drugs are discovered.

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