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Leverage Natural Language Processing in Education


Trinh Nguyen

Oct 16, 2023

In the rapid technological advancement era, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into various facets of our lives is inevitable. The education sector is no exception to this transformative wave, with a host of education-related benefits for both teachers and learners.

According to Forbes, artificial intelligence will be an integral part of 47% of all digital education tools by 2024, reflecting the growing significance of NLP in shaping the future of the learning and education world. What’s more, as of 2021, the NLP market was valued at $20.80 billion and is projected to expand exponentially, reaching $161.81 billion by 2029. This meteoric rise is a testament to the profound impact NLP is poised to have on education and beyond.

But what exactly is Natural Language Processing (NLP)? How can we take advantage of it in the education sector? This article will delve into the multiple benefits and applications of NLP in education.

So, without further ado, let’s jump in!

What Is Natural Language Processing?

What Is Natural Language Processing?

Natural language processing (NLP) is a machine learning technology that makes it possible for computers to interpret, manipulate, and understand human language.

NLP integrates computational linguistics, which is the rule-based modeling of human language, with statistical, machine learning, and deep learning models. These technologies, when combined, enable computers to interpret human language from text or voice data to comprehend its whole meaning, including the speaker’s or writer’s intention and attitude.

Through NLP, computer programs can quickly summarize enormous amounts of data, translate text across different languages, and respond to spoken inquiries. Chances are you have already utilized NLP in various forms, such as voice-operated GPS systems, virtual assistants, text-to-speech synthesis/ dictation software, customer support chatbots, and more.

Particularly, NLP has played an increasingly important role in the education area since the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, let us see what natural language processing offers within the realm of education.

Benefits of Natural Language Processing in Education

Benefits of Natural Language Processing in Education

1. Resource Accessibility

By allowing remote completion of online learning sessions, NLP narrows the resource accessibility gap. Additionally, NLP solutions enable educators to expand their digital learning platforms rapidly, boosting the level of engagement, as the setup doesn’t require any significant infrastructure from learners.

Furthermore, the ability to divide lengthy sessions into shorter ones lets students learn comfortably, keeping their attention throughout their learning journey.

2. Intelligent Teaching Systems

NLP in education is being used to change static teaching methods into dynamic, flexible, and intelligent teaching and learning environment that quickly respond to the changing needs of student learning.

For instance, chatbots adapt lessons to learners’ skill levels in an effort to give individualized support.

Furthermore, NLP is the driving force behind Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs), which are proven to be potent tools for revolutionizing how students learn by offering them personalized teaching and supervision without a human teacher.

Top universities like Carnegie Mellon have been actively utilizing NLP in ITS development to create good one-on-one learning interaction channels.

3. Flexible Learning Conditions

NLP may easily collect messages that indicate repetitive interactions, such as submitting assignments, taking exams, or taking courses. Such tedious and repeated administrative tasks can be effectively managed by ever-evolving NLP-based solutions. As a result, teachers may be able to concentrate on their main instructional tasks.

Also, learners are able to directly interact with teaching systems, which assess their performance using a range of mediums, including images, videos, and texts. Thus, NLP provides the dynamism that is essential in today’s learning contexts.

4. Contextual Assistance

Teachers sometimes find it challenging to accommodate the particular needs of students. That’s where NLP comes in handy.

It assists educators in conceptualizing approaches that effectively cater to impaired students’ special requirements. Similarly, LNP can serve as a data-feeding mechanism for deep learning algorithms that use students’ psychometrics.

5. Language Learning Support

Students learning a language as a second language, struggling with pronunciation, or having grammatical errors can greatly benefit from NLP language learning technology.

To be specific, conversational NLP, voice synthesis, and text-to-speech technologies give language learners a helping hand in communicating with foreigners and together learn each other’s languages.

Reading literature written in a second language becomes a piece of cake, especially when NLP with optical character recognition enables annotations like part of speech, meaning, and synonyms to be shown in real time on e-learning tools.

On top of that, NLP-based language learning applications may customize themselves to a student’s learning preferences and produce appropriate suggestions for reading material and other activities.

6. Ease of Development

The nicest thing about employing NLP-based teaching solutions is that they are quick to install and do not require a lot of infrastructure. In fact, a chatbot may successfully work  as a teacher for only 10% of the expense of creating a full-featured e-learning platform.

Applications of Natural Language Processing in Education

Applications of Natural Language Processing in Education

1. Grammar Checker Solutions

Among the most common applications of NLP in the educational sector is to identify student grammar errors and fix them using autocorrect, better synonyms, refined grammar, and spelling correction. These grammar checkers also prove helpful in making the text easier to read and of better quality.

One of the outstanding natural language processing examples is Grammarly. This software produces clear and error-free writing by utilizing technology that evaluates text and offers editing suggestions. Other options like QuillBot AI, Paperpal, or Sapling are worth your consideration, too. Not only do these automatic writing evaluation tools correct your grammar, but they also improve your writing skills significantly. The content piece will sound more natural.

2. Question and Answering

Although essay-style exams, quizzes, and flashcards are extremely well-liked by both students and instructors, creating them manually challenges overloaded educators.

A question-answering model may assist students in this situation by quickly creating questions and answers for your course material, as well as assessing essays’ syntax, structure, semantics, and logic. Moreover, by tailoring the questions and evaluation to students’ specific reading levels and learning rates, NLP can thus provide effective personalized learning.

3. NLP-based Chatbots

Chatbots built on NLP technology are transforming how students interact with educational institutions. They offer personalized suggestions for courses and extracurricular activities, answers to commonly asked questions, and even tutoring and assistance for students. Because chatbots are available 24/7, students can receive prompt guidance and support from them anywhere, anytime.

Since some chatbots even support speech recognition, they understand student’s spoken questions and provide answers at their fingertips.

Common cloud-based NLP platforms for chatbot development include Amazon Lex and Google Dialogflow.

4. Semantic and Sentiment Analysis

Natural language processing systems categorize texts depending on the level of disagreement they convey using machine learning models for sentiment analysis. The analysis can classify passages in one of three categories – positive, negative, or neutral – as well as in the middle, where there are nuances of opinion.

In educational institutions, administrators and faculty can utilize NLP semantic and sentiment analysis to look at how students feel about a particular course or teacher. This can assist in determining how well-received a certain curriculum or teaching method is, as well as finding students who may be struggling of some kind.

Sentiment analysis is particularly helpful in lengthy courses where instructors may find it hard to get feedback from each student individually.

5. Smart Data Analysis

NLP algorithms can process huge amounts of data, including student performance data, to find trends and patterns that might improve their learning efficiency.

Through data analysis, teachers can learn about areas where students need more help and then create lessons that address those needs. Thus, educators can create instructional materials customized to the requirements of certain students, including their learning preferences, speed, and style.

6. Automated Feedback

NLP technology not only provides automatic feedback for students to help them directly identify weak areas but also offers tailored comments to enhance their understanding of a subject.

As a result, teachers may save a ton of time while students can receive feedback promptly to help them improve.

7. Text Summarization and Paraphrasing

To aid in the reading comprehension of any educational content you create, you may incorporate two features: summarization and paraphrasing.

The act of summarizing condenses a chapter, article, or lecture into a shorter version that only includes key points and data. In contrast, paraphrasing provides a summary using a different set of words that have been selected for their clarity, correctness, geographic variety, dialect, or cultural sensitivity. Both of these features are beneficial for specialized fields where students must quickly digest enormous amounts of knowledge, such as law and medicine.

Transformer neural networks have made this possible. The transformer architecture is a sort of deep neural network with an attention layer system that allows it to incorporate higher-level intangible elements like semantics, tone, and emotions as well as long-range context dependencies.

Today on the market, LEGAL-BERT is a typical model for legal NLP tools trained on legal case studies, and BioBERT is a good example of a biomedical NLP model trained on biomedical research articles.

8. Machine Translation

Natural language processing (NLP) technologies for machine translation (MT) employ deep learning neural networks to translate speech and text into a variety of languages. Examples of generic machine translation services include Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, and the Facebook Translation App.

For more specialized or targeted educational applications, machine translation systems based on natural language processing are available. These systems can be trained to understand the jargon and terminology of particular fields, such as law, finance, or medicine, or they can be created for a single linguistic domain.

Natural language platforms with machine translation capabilities could prove especially beneficial for English Language Learners since they enable students to study English as a second language to practice outside of the classroom.

9. Enhanced Reading

The use of NLP in education can also assist pupils who are having trouble reading aloud in class. The NLP algorithms are able to spot issues with a student’s reading skills rapidly and may offer immediate, automated feedback on how to improve.

Normally, a teacher would not have enough time or resources to go around and provide each and every student with this type of feedback, which is why NLP solutions are growing in popularity.

Another amazing aspect of NLP in education is its ability to match pupils with reading material that is both challenging and beneficial for them.

Additionally, it has been proven that NLP technology, such as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test, can evaluate student reading scores far more correctly than conventional methods.

Transform the Education Industry with Natural Language Processing

In conclusion, the transformative power of NLP in educational settings is undeniable.

NLP-driven applications, such as question-answering systems, chatbots, semantic and sentiment analysis, and smart data analysis, are revolutionizing the learning process, making it more personalized, efficient, and accessible to students of all backgrounds.

As we look to the future, the continued evolution of NLP technology promises even greater innovations in education. With many years of experience and a profound portfolio of projects in the educational sector, we’re confident to help organizations stay at the forefront of these advancements and create tailored solutions for your specific needs. Contact us today and shape the future of education together.