Pearson has announced a global education partnership with computing platform IBM Watson Education to give college students "a more immersive learning experience."
The collaboration will see Pearson's online courses embedding adaptive learning technology to offer a "virtual tutor" that has the ability to engage in "natural" conversation with students to help them with coursework.
The virtual tutor can ask questions, guide students with hints, and give feedback and explanations about key concepts. It also provides instructors insights about when and where their students are struggling the most, allowing them to better manage the course and flag students who need help.
The feature is being piloted in 2017 with the potential to be rolled out thereafter.
Harriet Green, general manager of Watson's Cognitive Engagement & Education business, said: "With Watson and this incredible collaboration with Pearson, we are changing the way college students learn. The idea of having a built-in study partner to help tackle the challenging questions college students get stuck on is amazing. Our goal is for college students to feel empowered, improve study performance and assist educators with breakthrough academic content."
Tim Bozik, president of Global Product at Pearson, said: "Digital learning opens up exciting new possibilities to improve access and outcomes in education. Our partnership will use the power of Watson to help students stay engaged and deepen their learning, complete their degree and be better equipped for their careers. Teachers are the most important factor in delivering a great education. The partnership will support teachers by providing better digital tools and enabling personalized learning for their students.”