We are investigating the impact of Generative AI in Higher Education

We are investigating the impact of Generative AI in Higher Education

The Challenge

Generative Artificial Intelligence is a branch of artificial intelligence that uses deep learning algorithms, trained on large datasets, to generate content such as text, images, videos, and music. Open AI’s ChatGPT – a type of generative AI - has disrupted many aspects of industry in a very short space of time, leading many decision and policy makers to question existing processes and traditional job roles.

Generative AI has numerous applications in various sectors, including marketing, legal profession, creative industries, software development, manufacturing, healthcare, and gaming. Generative AI can create new works that challenge traditional notions of creativity and authorship. In music, it can generate new melodies and even entire songs. In the software industry, generative AI can create blocks of code in many different languages. In the healthcare sector, Generative AI can predict the effectiveness of new drugs, reducing the time and cost associated with drug development. But what impact will Generative AI have on Higher Education?

The Method

Professor Yogesh Dwivedi, Dr Tegwen Malik and Dr Sandra Dettmer from Swansea University's School of Management and Dr Laurie Hughes from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia are working to identify the impact of generative AI in Higher Education and across a range of industries.

Recent research outputs have focussed on AI in Higher Education, assessing the impact from the staff and student perspective and how generative AI could transform assessment, learning environments, academic integrity and traditional pedagogical approaches.

Professor Dwivedi, Dr Hughes, Dr Malik, and Dr Dettmer aim to better understand how staff and students feel about generative AI, identify current use and practice, and formulate a research agenda and policy recommendations, as well as discuss the impact from a higher-level societal perspective.

This work follows on from Professor Yogesh Dwivedi and his team's previous research into the the emerging challenges and opportunities of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The Impact

Through his research Professor Dwivedi has identified how Generative AI, including ChatGPT, could potentially have a significant impact on higher education in a number of ways:

  • Language learning: ChatGPT could be used to help students learn a new language by providing a conversational partner that can understand and respond to their questions in a natural and engaging way.
  • Personalized learning: Generative AI could be used to create personalized learning experiences for students by generating content that is tailored to their individual needs and learning styles.
  • Content creation: ChatGPT could be used to create educational content such as lectures, quizzes, and assessments, which could help to reduce the workload of teachers and provide students with a wider range of learning materials.
  • Inclusivity: ChatGPT and other generative AI models could help to improve accessibility for students with disabilities by providing alternative methods of communication, learning and support.
  • Research and data analysis: Generative AI models could be used to generate data and analyse research findings, which could help to advance academic research in various fields.
  • Challenges ahead: Generative AI stirs concerns about academic integrity and the true nature of learning, questioning whether the ease of access to information might undermine the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The challenge lies in harnessing ChatGPT's capabilities to enhance educational outcomes while safeguarding the core values of scholarship and intellectual growth.

Outside of Higher Education, Professor Dwivedi believes that the societal disruption and job displacement could be significant, and more so, at a faster pace than at any time in history.

How people further develop and adopt the capabilities of generative AI is likely to shape the future in more ways than we know, and as society comes to terms with the disruptive impact from generative AI, empirical research that offers insight into the many and varied complexities of widespread generative AI is vital.

Read more about this in the much cited 2023 opinion paper "So what if ChatGPT wrote it?” Multidisciplinary perspectives on opportunities, challenges and implications of generative conversational AI for research, practice and policy.

The text reads United Nations Sustainable Development Themes
UNSDG 9 Industry innovation and infrastructure
Text reads Swansea University Research Themes