NTT Data
Index Award 2021 Finalists
AI Learning Helper
AI Teachers guiding homeschooled kids

What’s the design in a nutshell?
The AI Learning helper is a personalised digital teacher helping kids to learn how to read in a fun and engaging way in their own environments.

Why is it needed?
The need for online learning tools propelled during the pandemic, but the demand was always there. There are several circumstances that make home-schooling ideal: for kids with disabilities, psychological problems and temporary illnesses, it’s key to continue learning in a safe, comfortable environment. On a greater scale, access to education becomes more democratised as nations get access to the internet and thereby thousands of ways to get educated. In creating their solution, NTT Data looked to AI to make a society-wide solution:

“Imagine a reading buddy that you can read to, that can help you with pronunciation, and that can ask you questions about the text. A learning friend who is accessible at any time on any device, and who has all the time in the world for each child. This is exactly what we have created with the AI Learning Helper,” says Thomas Nørmark, Global Head of AI & Robotics hos NTT DATA.

How does it work?
Just like a real teacher, the AI Learning Helper helps children learn how to read. It’s designed to both understand what a child says and pick up on his or her emotions. If the child is disengaged or expresses frustration, it can change its teaching strategy. It puts all its focus on one child only and personalises education through recommendations and even tailored appearances.

The focus of the solution is to teach kids how to read and it does this through AI disciplines like micro expression and body language detection, emotional feedback, summarisation algorithms and Q&A generation, to name a few.

"In war zones, rural areas and low-income families, an AI Learning Helper would be an invaluable tool to give kids access to education."

How does it improve life?
The project to develop the AI Learning Helper already began in 2019, back when Covid-19 hadn’t entered our lives. The goal was to help children that for some reason could not attend school and had to learn from home – and that mission is still at the core as AI Learning Helper continues its journey to impact.

It intends to be a widespread solution for providing education. In war zones, rural areas and low-income families, an AI Learning Helper would be an invaluable tool to give kids access to education. For kids who are struggling in school, the solution can provide inexpensive tutoring. With an undeniable new normal in education, the AI Learning Helper proves to be a design that addresses many of the challenges within the online learning space in a helpful, engaging and personal way.

What’s the impact to date or projected impact?
While testing the design, NTT Data has been interviewing kids who used AI Learning Helper. In general, they rated it positively, and especially dyslexic kids found it very helpful since they would normally be laughed at while reading in class. Others described it as a “risk-free” and inclusive environment, where there was room to make mistakes and take your time.

The next steps will be making the AI Learning Helper generally available by the end of 2021 and extending the skill sets to include writing and math as well.