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December 11, 2019

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Students turn to AI for virtual lessons

Artificial intelligence is widely recognized and accepted by online learners in Shanghai, according to a research report released by Shanghai Open University yesterday.

The report, based on responses from 6,500 local residents, said workplace competition in Shanghai is fierce and employees had a desire for new knowledge and skills, such as AI.

There are more than 1,100 AI-related companies in Shanghai with their industry scale exceeding 130 billion yuan (US$18.4 billion).

According to the report, more than 80 percent of online learners in Shanghai are aged between 20 and 50 with those aged between 31 and 50 more likely to invest in study.

About 68.8 percent of the people surveyed accept online classes for learning AI.

More than 90 percent of those aged between 31 and 40 are willing to pay for courses on AI with half of them willing to pay 1,000 to 5,000 yuan. Of those aged from 41 to 50, nearly 23 percent are willing to pay 5,000 to 10,000 yuan and 5.57 percent are willing to pay over 10,000 yuan.

But the survey also found the public lack a deep understanding of AI.

About 95 percent of online learners knew or had used AI products, such as those for image and fingerprint recognition, voice assistants, intelligent electronic equipment and online learning. But nearly 85 percent of them said they knew AI but did not understand it and 15 percent said they had really used AI in online classes. Only 0.25 percent said their work was related to AI.

Most of the learners only use basic AI functions, such as smart learning apps and smart assessment, while advanced technologies, such as smart supervision in class teaching, smart tutors, virtual labs and educational robots are rarely used.

Two-thirds of those surveyed believed the main advantages of using AI in education are to support teaching, reduce teachers’ workloads, help analyze learner performance and improve learning efficiency.


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