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Artificial intelligence for improving online learning

Music Circle, a social platform for musical learning, has been developed within the frame of the European project PRAISE. Other advanced tools for online learning have also been developed, enabling improvements like the exchange of opinions between the users and a better assessment of the student work.


A scientist testing the Music Circle platform.‘Feedback is essential for learning’, says Carles Sierra, research professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and coordinator of the PRAISE project. The project, which ends this year, aims at developing a learning platform to overcome some of the limitations of current online learning systems. For that, they have developed the social network Music Circle for music education, as well as advanced tools based on Artificial Intelligence.

Music Circle enables students to upload recordings of their instrumental practice and receive detailed comments from other community members.The platform has advanced tools to allow users to make the annotations at exactly the right place in the audio signal representation and other multimedia contents.

One of the most interesting characteristics of PRAISE’s Music Circle is that enables a more reliable assessment of the assignments, which overcomes one of the main problems faced by many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC): the impossibility for a single teacher of assessing hundreds or thousands of works. In the case of PRAISE, the teacher marks a few students. Afterwards, the students comment and assess the assignments of their colleagues. Then, Music Circle uses advanced tools to compare the assessments by the teacher and the ones by the students, and identify the students’ assessments that most closely resemble those made by the teacher and gives them more weight.

‘With MOOCs, marks typically reflect an average of what students think of each other,’ says Carles Sierra. ‘Instead, we compute a trust network that emphasizes the views of the teacher.’

The Platform PRAISE has also tools to generate automatically comments and opinions. For instance, the students can perform a music piece and the software will tell the student if the notes were correctly reproduced at the right tempo. As the student progressively uploads new recordings of the same music piece, the platform compares them and identifies the aspects where the student has improved. The tools also allow the teachers to create lessons and supervise the progress of the students through Internet.

"Music Circle has already been used for six months by the London Chamber Orchestra, one of the most innovative and respected in the UK. It has been tried also by over 150 students of classical music in the Goldsmiths College at the London University, and by some students at the Barcelona ESMUC. More than 7000 students have followed a course of creative programming with it”.  
Tools of collaborative learning of the project have been applied also to other fields, such as English learning at the secondary school Institute Torras i Bages, in l’Hospitalet.

PRAISE project has involved researchers from Institut d’Investigació en Intel-ligèncìa Artifìcial in Barcelona, Goldsmiths College of the University of London, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Sony’s Computer Science Lab in Paris. Part of what makes the project unique and has made the collaboration so fruitful is that PRAISE’s researchers share not only a strong interest in artificial intelligence, but also a love of music (many of PRAISE’s researchers are musicians).

PRAISE, that ends this year, has been funded by the European Union with near 2.3 million Euros.


Website of the project:

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