Center for Integrated Solutions

Learning by Doing: Research & Development Project

Overview

The Center for Integrated Solutions (CIS) are developing a transformative educational tool to enhance the learning experience of students preparing for the WAEC exams in Liberia. This tool is an AI-powered chatbot, leveraging the capabilities of specialised language learning models (LLMs) for each subject area within the WAEC curriculum. This chatbot will provide personalised, accessible, and effective learning support, uniquely tailored to the needs of each student. 

This chatbot will be integrated into the current WASSCElab Platform, a digital platform that supports students in Liberia in exam preparation.

Aims

The primary objective of this AI exploration is to develop a sophisticated AI-driven chatbot that can assist students in understanding exam questions by responding to queries that students may have about their results or specific questions about a topic. This system will be capable of simplifying complex concepts, thereby improving the students’ grasp of various subjects and enhancing their overall academic performance.

Why is this important?

More than 200,000 students sit the WAEC exams each year in Liberia. On average, less than 60% of students pass across all the exams, with decreasing scores as you move up grade levels. This is due to several factors, notably the limited resources for schools to prepare students for the exams. We believe that this AI-enabled platform will supplement the traditional classroom teaching to adequately prepare students for the WAEC exams.

Outputs

Our intended output is an open-source module Chatbot that is integrated into our existing WASSCElab Platform with a focus on creating a user-friendly, intuitive interface. This will be done through an api integration where the WASSCElab platform will make calls to a separate server. This integration will provide students with a seamless and integrated learning experience and the agent to understand the context in which a student is asking a question, allowing for more personalised and relevant responses.

Project timeline

7 months

Current progress

We have a digital learning platform that students are using for their exam prep. The Platform is pre-populated with past exam questions which we have provided answers and solutions as part of the database. This rich database will be part of the first integration of the AI tool. We are currently conducting a review of the languages and platforms that were used to develop the digital learning platform. This will provide more insights to effectively map the integration process. We have also developed a prototype of the Chatbot by leveraging ChatGPT. We also have a mobile app developed and currently working on building out the infrastructure that would allow us to integrate a large language model based on chatbot into our system.

Meet the team

Asmaa Ahmed is the CEO of the Center for Integrated Solutions. She is the curriculum and content lead for this project.

Varlee Sannor is the Founder and President at the Center for Integrated Solutions. He is the subject matter expert.

Dr. Emmanuel Dorley is an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida. He is the technical lead and project manager.

Nixon Flomo is the Senior Programmer.

Sulaiman Barry is the Junior Programmer.

What are you hoping to learn from the AI exploration?

AI is a relatively new area of technology that is still being explored in developed countries. This means that developing countries, like Liberia, are behind in terms of leveraging the power of AI for enhanced productivity and human capital development. As such, we are truly interested in understanding how LLMs can support learners in developing countries, and exploring the AI tools that can seamlessly be introduced in LMICs. Through this project, we hope to generate significant data that can inform more AI integration in Liberia’s Education System, including Foundation Learning and Numeracy.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

The biggest challenge is that AI has never been used in Liberia’s Education System. As such, we lack the infrastructure to move at the speed we would like; we are constantly testing modules based on the types of stakeholders we will engage; and more importantly, we are constrained due to lack of electricity and stable internet in Liberia. Notwithstanding, our project is on course to meet its completion timeline.

What measures are you taking to lower barriers to accessing AI in LMICs?

Understandably, LMICs have significant barriers to entry into the AI space. The first measure is to acknowledge the weaknesses within the systems in LMICs, and then develop tools and platforms based on the local context. Another measure is to ensure the use of AI tools with integrity and not as a way of replacing traditional learning systems. For each tool and/or product we develop, we will ensure adequate training and capacity building for the targeted users. This guarantees high usability and effective adaptation. For example, we are in discussions with schools to pilot our initial app, using this opportunity to ensure that our new version is user-friendly.

How are you ensuring your AI tool is pedagogically sound?

We are adhering to best practices from the AI in education literature and will utilize our expertise in this field to evaluate the effectiveness of our tool. Our team comprises technical experts in AI and Education Systems. Our Lead Developer, Dr. Emmanuel Dorley, holds PhD in Computer Science and is a Lecturer at the University of Florida. Our CEO, Asma Ahmed, holds a Master degree in Education Policy Research with a focus on developing tools for classroom learning. Our Founder, Varlee Sannor, is a former Classroom Teacher in Liberia who possesses deep experience in the various pedagogical methods for Liberia students. The complementary technical expertise within our team ensures that our AI tools are pedagogically sound by applying a combination of technology and classroom experiences into our product development.

What are you hoping to get from the community?

We are looking forward to collaborating with the community to share insights and best practices in leveraging AI for education. We are amazed at the incredible talents and products within the AI-for-Education.org Community, and we would like to adapt some of them into our platforms to better serve Liberia’s Education System. Additionally, we hope to gain valuable feedback and support to further develop and refine our AI-driven solutions for education.

Developing an AI-powered chatbot to support students in exam preparation.

Pilot information
Large Language Models
NLP: Conversational
NLP: Generation

Based in Liberia and USA

U

Developing products for Liberia

Contact – Center for Integrated Solutions

Asmaa Ahmed

i

CEO

Learning By Doing

We are providing small grants to support the development of AI products & components in LMICs. We know that innovation investment is high-risk. Our aim is that our community can benefit from the lessons learned in these pilots – what works and what doesn’t.

Learn more about our pilot projects here. We will be following each project and reporting on key learnings.

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