Hi there, founder of StudyWand.com here.
Since a 2020 university grant (15k) we’ve been working on applying AI in the classroom, including some aspects in other non-english languages.
You can use AI to cheat on essays, but also to formulate practise exercises and to personalise learning for content; this is what studywand does - converts Youtube videos and PDFs into AI quizzes, automatically.
In terms of how learnings behave, I studied the psychology of learning and in one experiment, found that users more or less preferred in this order:
- 1-2-1s with teachers
- Studying with materials made by class mates
- Studying with AI flashcards
- Making their own flashcards to study /studying alone
- Writing assignments/essays
If you incorporate AI-created flashcards, you can ensure you prioritise solutions that emphasize accuracy (like studywand, which quotes your text and allows you to review cards), and help students adjust to the new age where they will rely on LLM content.
In terms of policies, I think it depends greatly on your philosophy with open or closed exams. Essays will not be as powerful or useful in the future, and might diminish in their proportion of assessments.
I entirely believe in the benefits of flashcards, as they helped me study at a top university, coming from a less than academic start. Specifically, I wrote a dissertation on flashcards and would suggest your policies certainly permit AI-generated flashcards. One of the key unconsidered benefits for teachers of retrieval practise with AI over creating cards for students or students creating cards is insights into students knowledge gaps, and in particular, addressing foresight bias - the fact that particularly in some subjects like Physics, students don’t know what they don’t know (watch this amazing Veritasium video, it also explains why misconceptions are so handy for learning physics): Khan Academy and the Effectiveness of Science Videos - YouTube - basically, if you use AI quizzes (or any prepared subject-specific right/wrong system), you learn quickly where your knowledge sits and what to focus on, and reduce your exam stress. As a teacher, AI learning can make learning more of a “gradual hill climb” then a “storm the trenches”, if you can convince your university along this path. It has worked for flipped classrooms, and worked way back in 2002 when Frank Leeming demonstrated students learned better, and preferred learning, with regular quiz questions every few days - rather than a big final exam.
Lastly, for teachers, the constant preference for 1-2-1 learning and socioemotional support that can scaffold will become more important, and be irreplaceable by AI; you can’t trust AI to be looking out for you. Teachers of tomorrow will build two parts character, one part knowledge, where in the past they built two parts knowledge, one part character.
To quote from my dissertation experiment on background reading for retrieval practise, which is being enabled by AI today… this is a requote of a comment I’ve just left on HackerNews this afternoon, but I think you’ll find it insightful: Retrieval practice – typically, quizzing - is an exceedingly effective studying mechanism (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006; Roediger & Butler 2011; Bae, Therriault & Redifer, 2017, see Binks 2018 for a review), although underutilized relative to recorded merit, with students vastly preferring to read content (Karpicke & Butler, 2009; Toppino and Cohen, 2009). Notably mature students do engage in practice quizzes more than younger students (Tullis & Maddox, 2020). Undertaking a Quiz (Retrieval practice) can enhance test scores significantly, including web-based quizzes (Daniel & Broida, 2017). Roediger & Karpicke (2006) analysed whether students who solely read content would score differently to students who took a practice quiz, one week after a 5-minute learning session. Students retained information to a higher level in memory after a week with the quiz (56% retained), versus without (42%), despite having read the content less (average 3.4 times) than the control, read-only group (14.2 times). Participants subjectively report preference for regular Quizzing (Leeming, 2002) over final exams, when assessed with the quiz results, with 81% and 83% of participants in two intervention classes recommending Leemings “Exam-a-day” procedure for the next semester, which runs against intuition that students might biases against more exams/quizzes (due to Test Anxiety). Retrieval Practice may increase performance via increasing cognitive load which is generally correlated with score outcomes in (multimedia) learning (Muller et al, 2008). Without adequate alternative stimuli, volume of content could influence results, thus differentiated conditions to control for this possible confound are required when exploring retrieval practice effects (as seen in Renkl 2010 and implemented in Methods). Retrieval practice in middle and high school students can reduce Test Anxiety, when operationalised by “nervousness” (Agarwal et al 2014), though presently no research appears to have analysed the influence of retrieval practice on university students’ Test Anxiety. Quizzing can alleviate foresight bias – overestimation of required studying time – in terms of students appropriately assigning a greater, more realistic study time plan (Soderstrom & Bjork, 2014). Despite the underutilization noted by Karpicke and Butler (2009), quizzing is becoming more common in burgeoning eLearning courses, supported by the research (i.e. Johnson & Johnson, 2006; Leeming, 2002; Glass et al. 2008) demonstrating efficacy in real exam performance.