Future of Education

AI in Education: Tackling the Two Sigma Problem with Walter

Imagine an AI teaching assistant that can mark papers, help students with their homework, and even offer one-on-one tutoring. This isn't science fiction – it's already happening at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) in Singapore amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

What is the Two Sigma Problem in Education?

In 1984, Benjamin Bloom identified the Two Sigma problem, a term describing the difference in performance achieved through one-on-one tutoring compared to conventional classroom teaching. He found that students with individual tutors outperformed their peers by two standard deviations. However, personalised tutoring remains impractical and expensive, leading educators to seek cost-effective solutions to bridge this gap.

Meet Walter: The AI Teaching Assistant Revolutionising Education

Designed to reduce marking fatigue and streamline the grading process, Walter assists with creating, administering and marking practice assessment papers, including closed- and open-ended answer questions.

Beyond marking papers, Walter also functions as a private tutor. Students can use it on any device to ask questions, access textbook materials, and learn at their own pace. Crucially, Walter provides immediate feedback upon submitting answers, enabling students to learn and correct their mistakes in real time.

How Effective is Walter in Improving Learning Outcomes?

To test the effectiveness of Walter in a realistic scenario, ITE carried out a nine-month pilot study involving 1,000 students, 26 classes, and 24 lecturers. The results are as follows:

  • Over 80% of students and teachers found Walter effective and were willing to continue using it.

  • 87% of students valued the timely feedback provided by Walter.

  • 84% of students found Walter's platform user-friendly and easy to navigate.

  • Lecturers saved up to 75% of marking time and could dedicate more attention to students who needed it most.

Glimpsing the Future of Personalised Learning at EduTech Show and Tell

In 2022, Shalyn Tan, Head of eLearning from the School of Business and Services at ITE College Central, showcased Walter's capabilities and potential at the EduTech Show and Tell event. This was a vivid illustration of how AI-powered teaching assistants can revolutionise education and directly address the Two Sigma problem.

Check out the talk here: 

How Does Walter Address the Two Sigma Problem?

Walter embodies the characteristics of an effective personalised learning system:

  1. Engaging students through prompt responses, interactive learning, and customised content.

  2. Reinforcing learning with immediate feedback and error correction.

  3. Allowing students to practice and master topics at their own pace.

  4. Providing personalised learning materials tailored to each student's needs.

Walter's success exemplifies how AI and personalised learning can provide a scalable and affordable solution to the Two Sigma problem, bringing high-quality education and outcomes to students from diverse backgrounds.

The Future of Personalised Learning Awaits

By harnessing the power of AI, ITE has taken an essential step in addressing the Two Sigma problem. Through tools like Walter, education enters a new era, empowering students and educators alike.

Who is Walter and How Can You Try It?

Walter is Noodle Factory's AI teaching platform, designed to empower educators to effortlessly create learning addresses, address educators’ time constraints and enable personalised education for students.

If you're interested in experiencing its potential, sign up for our free lifetime plan to get started! 

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