Flora Lighthouse
Flora Lighthouse

Strengthening self-regulation in education using AI

The Flora Lighthouse project focuses on research into student learning strategies. Junior researcher Heleen van der West explains how the outcomes of the project can lead to more effective learning using artificial intelligence.

Measuring and analysing learning strategies with AI

"The Flora Lighthouse project focuses on supporting students in essay writing by helping them apply more effective learning strategies. We see that students often adopt ineffective strategies, which means they can actually do more but don't fully flourish. This project seeks to develop and support these skills so that students can reach their full potential.

Within the project, we have students write essays, then use AI to map their learning strategies. Through AI, patterns are recognised in students' release data - such as, for example, eye-tracking. This allows us to identify important self-regulation processes during learning. Students can thus assess whether their strategies are effective for their specific goals, such as writing essays within a certain time or making connections between information. AI does not assess effectiveness; we leave this to the student.

Within the project, we want to highlight two important aspects: promoting self-regulation skills and applying AI to improve teaching skills, not to take them over. The tool encourages students to write their own essays, gather information and reflect on their learning approaches. Within the project team, we recognise the essence of writing skills in various contexts and therefore aim to actively engage students in strengthening this skill. Research and its integration into teaching are crucial and run parallel at Flora Lighthouse. The project aims to actively engage students and listen to their feedback so that students can see and experience its value. This also improves a direct applicability of the tool in education."

Using AI to talk about teaching and learning

"AI is an ongoing reality that we have to live with, but that is not a bad thing. However, it is crucial to be aware of its value and how to use AI to support skills development. The concern that AI will make students lazy or reduce their ability to learn and think critically is understandable. However, I believe the added value of AI can actually lie in strengthening essential skills such as writing. This tool is not only relevant for essays, but can also be applied to subjects such as math, programming, analysis and statistics. As the tool develops, it has a lot of potential in other academic applications, including for teachers. Teachers increasingly recognise the importance of students being able to regulate their own learning. This tool offers teachers a way to engage in this conversation with students. Instead of just focusing on grading answers as 'right' or 'wrong', teachers can now also see the approach or ask questions about this. It can be harder to have a conversation when students have less insight about their approach: no longer knowing it exactly and therefore still 'prettifying' it than it is. So the tool can also facilitate dialogue between teacher and student."

"Find a way to deal with AI, or make the most of it. Don't ignore it, but use it for good purposes, especially in education. This is what excites me and my fellow researchers."

AI is not foolproof

"Fully and correctly measuring all activities encounters challenges, but the development of AI enables increasingly accurate measurement. Nevertheless, it is not 100% certain that what is measured always exactly matches what a student does or thinks. AI is not foolproof. As a result, students should be aware of the possibility that AI may interpret their behaviour differently from reality. Ethical issues, such as discrimination by AI, also require attention in research. The use of AI requires careful consideration of effectiveness and potential side effects, such as unintentionally demotivating students. It is important to find ways to deal with these challenges and use AI for positive purposes, especially in education, rather than ignoring it", Heleen said.

Contact information

H. van der West (Heleen)
Organizational unit
Adaptive Learning Lab (ALL)