AU prof discusses integrating new technology into post-secondary education
Simulated, AI-powered characters are being used to help teach business communication skills at Athabasca University (AU).
Dr. Glen Farrelly, Assistant Professor with Athabasca University Faculty of Business (AU-FB) discussed how AU-FB is integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and experiential learning into courses. It is a part of his research and a topic he will be presenting on at the upcoming Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the end of the month.
Working hand-in-glove with traditional instructors and course designers, AU-FB has partnered with Ametros Learning to integrate AI into courses, including ADMN 405, the virtual cooperative learning experience. Farrelly teaches two of these courses—ADMN 233 and COMM 243—that also integrate this new technology. Both of these courses use Ametros’ AI-powered platform to help learners develop essential skills to be workplace ready and promotion worthy, in a fresh and interactive way.
“It enables us to provide simulated learning experiences that gives students hands-on opportunities to learn and then actually apply some realistic skills,” said Farrelly in his recent interview on 630 CHED/770 CHQR.
Listen to the full interview
Course-takers interact within the platform with the fictional AI-powered characters to progress through a series of simulated, realistic workplace tasks and assignments. Students are given a role to play within the simulation narrative of a fictional company facing various challenges. They are tasked by the virtual characters to learn key course concepts and then immediately apply them to resolve related, realistic challenges. The platform enables the professor to use experiential learning techniques to effectively engage learners in the material and further mentor them in mastering new skills.
Of course, learners have support as they work through the course from humans too. From faculty to academic and student support services, AU-FB ensures that the learner is supported while being challenged to apply their skills and knowledge in this innovative environment.
As the learner progresses through the course and works with the AI, they learn techniques and theories to resolve and avoid communication problems. This enables the learner to better harness their soft skills—something that employers are looking for.
“Not only are student honing the communication skills they need in a safe environment that will help them to get ahead in the work world, but they are also getting hands-on experience with AI, which is a skill that is becoming increasingly relevant as the technology becomes more ubiquitous.”– Dr. Glen Farrelly
Work-ready, promotion-ready graduates
Integrating this technology is a truly innovative example of how that team at AU-FB is working to help graduates become even more work-ready and promotion-worthy, while having a memorable experience in these online courses. AI is helping post-secondary education forge a future of virtual education.