The learning machine—or automated learning—first emerged in the artificial intelligence sector in the second half of the 20th century. It has henceforth completely rethought the way we perceive automation and learning. The machine takes results, data and experiences to derive a model.

Let’s take a closer look at what Machine Learning is, what its advantages and limits are, and how it can be linked to eLearning.

Machine Learning is a sub-sector of artificial intelligence that entails the creation of machines that behave and operate intelligently or simulate intelligence to provide results based on data transmitted to the machine.

Automated learning plays an important role in data mining, image processing and language processing. It can’t always provide an accurate analysis or precise results, but it determines a predictive model based on the data provided to make decisions.

Now, what are some of the advantages of this method of learning?

·       Personalized content for more efficient programs: it allows proposal of specific online courses, both in form and in content, by using data specific to the student (performance, goals, etc.)

·       Better resource allocation: students get the courses they need, which benefits not only the student but also the business financing the training.

·       Improved return on the eLearning investment: for students this means less time spend on the training and a more personalized experience. For the business, this means a higher profit margin.

·       More motivation in students: thanks to an individualized experience and not a generic course, students feel increased motivation. Automated learning systems in the future can be combined with a private virtual tutor, offering the classes students need when they need them.

We must take into account the importance of data protection, which could be a hindrance to Machine Learning. With this desire for personalization and prediction, user data could be used in ways they don’t consent to and is easily shared between businesses.

All things considered, Machine Learning is qualitative and personalized method which homes in on user expectations. It can be integrated in distance learning to favour student knowledge acquisition. Its implementation in eLearning will help not only teachers, but also students to benefit from more effective education programs.

Caroline Irrmann, web editor