Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Education
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Speech by Dr. Wayne Holmes from the Open University of the UK during his Visit to AICFE


On the morning of April 17th, 2017, Dr. Wayne Holmes from the Open University, UK (OU), associate professor Ning Ma from the Faulty of Education, Beijing Normal University and other representatives visited the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Education. Xuanwei Ma and Si Gao from the International Cooperation Office of the AICFE, Dr. Lu Yu and Dr. Zhang Lishan from the Learning Science Laboratory attended as well.

Dr. Wayne Holmes has been engaged in education, education technology, and related studies for 25 years, and is now a lecturer (assistant professor) in the Institute of Education Technology (IET) of the OU. He achieved his doctor’s degree of education (learning and technology), bachelor’s degree with honors in film and master’s degree in philosophy (with honors), and later earned a master’s and doctoral degree in education from the University of Oxford. Before joining the IET, he was a researcher at the UCL Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education and a Senior Teaching Associate at the University of Bristol. Supported by the AICFE, Dr. Wayne Holmes is now working on “Data-informed Learning Design for Future Schools,” a sub-project of “Future School 2030” research project of AICFE.

At the beginning of the conference, Xuanwei Ma introduced the background and development of AICFE and demonstrated the “Smart Learning Partner” platform. Later, the chief data scientist, Dr. Yu Lu shared current research projects, including data-driven learning analysis and automated assessment system for short answer questions . During the conference, Dr. Wayne Holmes expressed his surprise towards and appreciation of the rapid development of sophisticated research. Meanwhile, Dr. Wayne Holmes raised specific questions in regard to the “Smart Learning Partner” platform, such as the context for student use and how data supports development. Dr. Wayne Holmes also shared his research about learning design for online mathematics education. Both parties further discussed the application and future prospects of the intelligent tutoring system. Through this meeting, both sides achieved a better understanding of each other’s research fields, offering a great opportunity for future joint research cooperation.  



Figure 1: Xuanwei Ma introducing AICFE and “Smart Learning Partner” Platform
Figure 2
Dr. Yu Lu sharing the current research

Figure 3: Attendees listening attentively

Figure 4: Group photo of the visitors and staff from AICFE

On the morning of Apr. 21th, 2017, Dr. Wayne Holmes from IET of the Open University, UK gave an enlightening speech for the teachers and students of Beijing Normal University (BNU) under the theme of “Talking, Feedback, Inhibition, Emotions… and Learning. Held by AICFE, hosted by Wei Tang from the International Cooperation Office and Associate Professor Ning Ma from the Faulty of Education, BNU, the speech attracted over 30 people including staff members from AICFE, professors from the Faulty of Education, BNU, and both domestic and international students.

From the perspective of his own studies and practical experience, Dr. Wayne Holmes explained how AI can help students with learning difficulties and help researchers have a better understanding of how learning happens through different projects, highlighting two of his latest projects, iTalk2Learn and UnLocke. He focused on the dual tracks of AI in Education (AIED): one is developing adaptive interventions through AI including AI teaching assistance; the other is helping people better understand learning, such as developing effective teaching design through data mining. As AI helps people study and understand learning, people are also concerned that with the help of AIED, teachers will be no longer needed in the future. As well, some believe they already know how people learn, in addition to other common concerns or objections.

Later, Associate Professor Ning Ma hosted an interactive activity between Dr. Wayne Holmes and the audience, including asking questions about research design and concrete versus abstract concepts. At last, Associate Professor Ning Ma expressed her gratitude to Dr. Wayne Holmes and the audience, and his presentation was received with round applause.



Figure 5: The audience of the speech

Figure 6: Dr. Wayne Holmes presenting