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Nolej’s AI-powered classroom tools are a force multiplier for educators

The idea of ​​bringing Incorporating AI into the classroom isn’t for everyone, but the team behind Nolej believes that generative AI can supercharge learning, while keeping teachers at the forefront. Nolej AI is an AI-powered tool that allows teachers to quickly generate interactive learning modules such as quizzes, flashcards, games and interactive videos.

“We are focused on teachers, we put them in the driver’s seat and we want to make sure they have the tools they need to teach our children, with the right tools and in the right way,” said Vincent Favrat, executive president of Nolej, at TechCrunch.

Today at the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield competition, the Nolej team is launching the first version of Nolej AI, which will work in multiple languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese. Nolej AI integrates with learning platforms including Google Classroom, Moodle, Microsoft Teams, and Canvas by Instructure, with more planned in the coming months. These integrations mean Nolej AI connects directly to many teachers’ existing workflows.

In both online and in-person classrooms, interactive materials distill traditional textbook teaching into bite-sized chunks that make it both more engaging and more likely to stick with learners. But developing a parallel curriculum of crosswords and multiple-choice quizzes is a job in itself, and yet another task that time-strapped teachers are forced to juggle. Using Nolej AI to generate this type of material takes seconds or minutes instead of hours, and teachers can review it quickly rather than manually creating each interactive learning module.

Bodo Hoenen, co-founder of Nolej AI, believes that AI can bridge the gap between the present and the near future of education. “We help educators generate programs in real time,” Hoenen told TechCrunch.

“We are designing something for the future of learning. There aren’t many institutions capable of creating these types of experiences today, because they rely on infrastructure designed 20 or 30 years ago.

AI is far from perfect, which is another reason why Nolej is designed to keep teachers in the driver’s seat. The team sees the phenomenon of AI hallucination – in which generative AI gives reasonable but completely wrong results – as a “huge challenge” and built its product with this in mind from its 2021 debut.

While the large language models that tend to be synonymous with AI these days rely on the entire Internet to produce content with a simulated human touch, Nolej AI tackles its task in much smaller parameters, relying on user-contributed materials rather than the Internet. in general. This model, which the Nolej team calls “ground truth,” allows educators to feed a curriculum, lesson, or set of information into generative AI, which then builds additional materials designed solely using that input.

“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we take what works,” Favrat said. “Even the format that we use, the models – they’re proven, they work – are used by hundreds of millions of people. But we want to improve the system so that it meets the needs of learners.

Favrat notes the upheaval in education caused by the pandemic as inspiration for developing tools through Nolej. The ubiquity of online courses and even online materials for in-person courses requires new learning formats, many of which are well established at this point.

“You can’t just download a PDF and have your students read it; it doesn’t work anymore,” Favrat said. “Students want something interactive and fun. We now know what works for learners, so it’s not like the 19th century when science didn’t know exactly. We know what works best for memorizing, for performing as a learner.

Knowledge aims to improve not only knowledge retention and engagement, but also course completion rates. Massive online courses are infamous for their high dropout rates, but interactive learning optimized for an online environment can keep students connected.

“It means they get to the end of the course, instead of saying, ‘Hey, I’m bored, I gave up,’ and that’s it,” Favrat said.

Nolej AI is the company’s first core product, designed for e-learning in a somewhat traditional classroom setting, whether online or offline. But the team is also working on another tool geared more towards autonomous learning, called Nolej LX. Hoenen uses the analogy of Lego building blocks: if Nolej AI generates the Lego pieces, then Nolej LX designs experiences from all the bricks.

Self-directed learners can set a learning objective with Nolej LX and the tool will map the learning nodes needed to cobble together an understanding. The goal could be simple, such as learning French for a grand tour of the wine region. But it can also be complex – like learning a skill so specific or so advanced that the curriculum doesn’t yet exist.

“I can question Nolej, [which] can then generate you a map of ignorance, essentially all the Lego bricks, all the concepts you need to learn to build, wherever you are, whatever your current understanding is, and whatever your learning goal is,” a explained Hoenen. “It really has to do with the intrinsic motivation of the learner.”

“I have kids and they keep asking me, ‘Why am I learning this?’ Why am I learning this? Why is this important?’ And you know, by suddenly providing these learners with a map of their ignorance, they understand, “Okay, this is why I’m learning this, because this is part of this concept, or this idea. » So there are many mechanics that make everything much more engaging and exciting. »


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