Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Will e-learning replace teachers? © Getty Images

Will e-learning replace teachers?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

We already gather information from resources such as online courses & interactive forums but in the future we may look even further to the internet for education.

Asked by: Edward Seymour, Hove


Online courses and interactive forums are becoming important in many countries as they allows students to gain access to a greater depth and breadth of information than a teacher may be able to provide.

At Georgia Institute of Technology, Prof Ashok Goel went one step further. He runs an online course in knowledge-based artificial intelligence, and created an AI teaching assistant to respond to forum posts from his students. Goel only admitted to them it was an AI after four months, “blowing their minds”. But studies also show that interaction with real people is still vital to enable children to develop normally. Children who use computers excessively show a measurable deficiency in social skills.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.


Dr Peter Bentley is a computer scientist and author who is based at University College London. He is the author of books including 10 Short Lessons in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Digital Biology: How nature is transforming our technology and our lives.


Sponsored content