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Rethinking debate-powered learning in the age of AI

By Soffos Team
April 19, 2021

Debate requires a skill set that translates directly into academic, social and professional application. Its power to develop creative thinking, problem-solving, active listening and critical analysis is what makes this a popular device in educational circles, and helps learners develop the skills they need to reach their potential.

The good news is that the value of debate in the contemporary, digital-first world has not been lost.

In an authentic learning environment, one which generally takes the form of collective, in-person interactions and discussions, students have the time and opportunity for sustained inquiry. They are prompted to share ideas, evaluate information, develop their thinking and reasoning skills, and reflect on what they have learnt.

It might seem that the influx of modern tech would detract from this style of education, but this is not the case. Indeed, the introduction of new technologies into educational institutions across difference sectors – from schools, to adult learning centers and workplaces –will only serve to bolster the efforts of educators encouraging discursive learning. Particularly as innovative technologies like artificial intelligence(AI) and natural language processing (NLP) enter the fold, debate-driven learning will be taken to the next level.

How Soffos will support discursive learning

Effective learning is not just about retaining knowledge. Most people will be able to memorize information presented to them, but this does not mean that they are actively engaging with the material and making significant connections between what they know already. This understanding sits at the heart of our next-gen learning platform.

Over the past few years, AI has come exceptionally far in mimicking human-level language use thanks to advances in NLP. Our unique, AI-powered learning management system can therefore interact with users like a human being, using slang, dialect and unique company lingo. It will make employees feel like they are speaking with a knowledgeable colleague, and sets the foundations for powerful, debate-driven learning.

In this way, Soffos provides a style of conversational teaching and questioning which is known as the Socratic method. An inquiry-based approach to engage learners, it is a way to engage individuals in communicating and exploring ideas, and ultimately promote meaningful interactions.

Learners can invoke this feature simply by saying, “Soffos, let’s discuss”, which prompts Soffos to have a discussion with a user about a chosen subject – whether that is an upcoming project that an employee is preparing for, or a concept that they want to familiarize themselves with before a meeting. Productive discourse like this helps to cement and develop a user’s knowledge with each interaction.

Far from removing the possibility of debate and interaction, EdTech solutions like ours are planting the seeds for enhanced learning. If you’d like to test our corporate KnowledgeBot for yourself, then be sure to register for the Beta version here.

In the meantime, you can explore some of Soffos’ unique features by viewing our Knowledge Series here.