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Fusing Human Intervention with AI to Create Inclusive, Scalable Learning Environments


This is a session recap from the 2024 ASU+GSV Summit, featuring WGU’s Hank Humphreys. Watch the full session below.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay, revolutionizing how we approach learning. At the 2024 ASU+GSV Summit, Hank Humphreys, vice president of product and portfolio management at Western Governors University (WGU), and Rajen Sheth, founder and CEO of Kyron Learning, delved into innovative solutions that are not only enhancing student outcomes but also lowering barriers to make education more accessible and practical for every learner. 

Empowering the Underserved through Technology-Driven Learning 

With more than 175,000 active students and 330,000 graduates as of April 30, 2024, WGU is a large university serving diverse learners with unique needs. The student body is comprised of 43% first-generation college students, 21% low-income individuals and 33% historically underrepresented races and ethnicities. Additionally, 15% of WGU's student population are members of the armed forces or veterans. 

Hank Humphreys, vice president of product and portfolio management at WGU discussing the fusion of human expertise with AI solutions at the 2024 ASU+GSV Summit.

However, as WGU's student population increases, the university faces the challenge of maintaining the personalized touch central to its mission. Humphreys explained, "The problem we have is we're starting to scale very rapidly from a student population, and we have to keep hiring tons and tons of humans to manage the expansion of our student base, and we're worried about losing that personalization at scale." 

That’s where a partnership between Kyron Learning and WGU comes in.

Amplifying Educators through AI 

Rajen Sheth, the founder and CEO of Kyron Learning, shared the company's mission to leverage AI to amplify educators' impact. Sheth's personal experience with a transformative teacher in his own education inspired him to find a way to extend the reach of exceptional educators to more students.  

Kyron Learning's multimodal AI lessons, built with care by educators, engage each student in their unique needs. This approach focuses on protecting the students and empowering the educators, who maintain complete control over the content and delivery of the lessons. The visual and guided experience, combined with discussion-based assessments, allows students to interact with the material in a more personalized and meaningful way. 

Fusing Human Intervention and AI for Inclusive Learning 

Humphreys emphasized the central role of humanity in the educational experience, drawing from his own transformative encounter with a teacher who made him feel seen and supported. This belief in the importance of human connection and intervention is the driving force behind WGU's approach to integrating AI into their learning model. 

The concept of "transitional AI" is critical to WGU's strategy, where AI is a tool to augment and enhance the educator's role rather than replace it. By automating administrative tasks and facilitating personalized information sharing, the university aims to empower its instructors to focus on the most critical human interactions with students.  

Pilot Results and the Path Forward 

WGU's initial pilot of the Kyron Learning platform has yielded promising results. The engagement data shows consistent student activity even during non-traditional hours, indicating the platform's ability to provide on-demand support and personalization. Furthermore, the student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with 95% reporting a positive experience and 98% stating that the lessons helped them learn the material better. 

As WGU and Kyron Learning continue their collaboration, the focus is on expanding the use of the platform to more instructors, courses, and students. The goal is to measure the quantitative impact on student outcomes, such as engagement, completion rates, and academic performance to further validate the effectiveness of this transitional AI approach. 

In the rapidly evolving educational technology landscape, the fusion of human expertise and AI solutions holds immense potential to create inclusive, scalable and personalized learning environments that empower educators and students. WGU and Kyron Learning's pioneering work in this space is a shining example of how innovation can transform the educational experience for the benefit of all learners. 

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