Online tutoring gets an AI boost

KUALA LUMPUR: The numbers were grim. Over 21,000 students fell behind their studies or even dropped out altogether when distance learning was put in place after schools were closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

These were numbers from the Education Ministry for the period between March 2020 and July 2021.

To help students rediscover the joy of learning, an online tuition centre is making use of artificial intelligence to identify a student’s weak subjects and provide the necessary revision materials.

Former Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz (pic), who founded the online centre named Tavis, said the platform was aiming to provide an effective learning system with an “attention-based reward programme”.

The idea for Tavis came about when he heard students lamenting about problems linked to online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown, he said.

Among others, he said Tavis would monitor the performance of students and provide live quizzes to gauge their understanding during a class.

“This solves the main problem that students are not focusing in class, such as being away from their monitors, changing tabs and others.

“Our live classes are a maximum of one hour so that they can remain focused,” he added.

Mohd Amin said Tavis had a carrot-and-stick approach, which makes it different from other learning centres.

“The stick approach means parents have the option to get updates and reports on their child’s learning progress.

“If the student has not been paying attention, his parents can be notified.”

As for the “carrot”, he said there was a “learning with rewards” programme.

Students could get a maximum of RM100 ewallet per subject if they fulfil more than 70% requirements in three criteria: attendance, attention and quiz attempts.

The more classes a student enrols in, the more rewards they will receive, with the maximum reward being RM500 for five classes.

Students have the option to donate their rewards to a charity of their choice or sponsor someone who is keen to enrol in a class as well.

“This would help instil good ethics and moral values in students by giving them the opportunity to help those in need,” said Mohd Amin.

As for the tutors, he said that parents need not to worry about the quality of their teaching as there had been a long process of vetting, including verifying their teaching experience and language fluency by requiring them to submit a mock teaching video to assess their skills.

“For now, our teachers are based in our headquarters in Bangsar, so all of them will be teaching from the studio with a soundproof system.

“There will also be IT staff to monitor Internet disruptions, if any,” he added.

Currently, the platform offers tuition for core secondary school subjects, including English, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Bahasa Melayu.

The fee is RM39.99 per subject, with each subsequent subject costing less.

The syllabus is aligned with the Education Ministry’s Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah (KSSM).

Tavis is also expanding its services to primary schools to be aligned with the Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR).

It is also collaborating with teachers nationwide to create a question bank for the benefit of the students.

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