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Pearson today signaled an increased focus on artificial intelligence and personalized learning with the appointment of former Intel executive Milena Marinova.
Marinova joins the company as senior vice president for AI products and solutions.
Pearson already has an R&D team that works on AI, but Tim Bozik, global head of product at Pearson, said that the company would be expanding and accelerating its AI work under Marinova’s direction. “We’re doubling down our effort and investment,” said Bozik.
In addition to leading development of new AI tools and techniques, Marinova will act as a spokesperson for the role of AI in education. Marinova said that currently education is “not realizing a lot of benefits of AI that I’ve seen in other industries.” She added that Pearson “wants to be a leader in the space.”
AI can improve the efficiency of homework grading and give students a more tailored education experience, said Bozik. Pearson is currently developing a tool that can pinpoint where students go wrong when solving math problems. The company is also working on automated essay scoring and incorporating virtual tutors into its learning platforms.
Though a goal of AI is automation, Marinova stressed that Pearson's intent is not to replace instructors, but to help them. “AI-assisted decision making is better than human alone,” she said.
Ethically applied, AI techniques could help solve pervasive problems in education such as low completion and retention rates, said Bozik. “We have big ambitions,” he said. “But this is early days.”