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This article was contributed by Charlie Fletcher
The business world and the tech world are more inextricable than ever. Every business relies on software and technology to power its endeavors. But technology is rapidly evolving. Just as many retailers are finally adopting an online presence, other leading businesses are gaining competitive advantages from AI integration.
AI and robotics have already become necessary tools for running a business of any scale. To advance in this economy, companies of all industries need professionals that understand these technologies. That means teaching AI and robotics concepts in business courses.
The importance of AI and robotics in business
Not only are these concepts essential for future success, but they’re also essential to maintaining a competitive edge in the modern economy. Applied in business courses, they can impart lifelong skills and values that improve outcomes for students throughout their careers. AI and robotics are both extremely versatile, and their many implications carry impressive business applications.
But to understand why, you must first understand the essential nature of these tools in the business. Oxford University researchers estimate that as many as 47% of U.S. jobs are likely to be automated out of existence.
However, other research contends AI will create as many jobs as it displays. Regardless of which is the case, we can be certain that future workplaces will be supplemented by AI and robotics to an important degree. This means that future workers will need the skills to support automation technology.
Virtually no industry will escape the AI and robotics revolution. These tools are even making their way to classrooms where they are assisting business students prepare for the future of work. Most strikingly, the presence of robotics has been shown to foster analytical and even social skills that will translate to a business career. Robots like NAO and Pepper, for instance, are designed to assist student focus and peer-to-peer interactions.
With AI and robotics like these integrated into the classroom environment, lessons in user and customer experience can be taught that would otherwise be missed. Meanwhile, AI is empowering more personalized learning potential. These features can revolutionize business courses while imparting valuable opportunities for students.
AI and robotics in the classroom
Teaching AI and robotics concepts in business courses might sound all well and good, but how can these concepts be applied in meaningful ways? Meanwhile, how technologically in-depth does a business education need to go?
Supporting student success in a tech-driven business world is all about giving them opportunities to grow and learn with these platforms. Broadly speaking, by teaching robotics and AI to business students, you help them to grow comfortable and curious about emerging innovations. From decision intelligence to generative AI, technology trends can only be applied by business innovators savvy enough to use them.
Cultivating these innovators of tomorrow means teaching AI and Robotics concepts as part of a complete business education. Some educators are already doing this. These examples show how teaching AI and robotics concepts can and should occur in a business course.
Personalizing learning pathways
When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the shutdown of schools all over the world, it was often AI that filled gaps in resources and instruction for students. For instance, London-based firm Century-Tech made its AI-powered learning platform available to many affected students. This platform uses artificial intelligence to build adaptive learning pathways for individual students based on how they interact with their learning.
Resources like these have enabled learning at a time when it otherwise wouldn’t have been safe. Adaptive digital learning is accessible for many through the flexibility it offers. Since a majority of adults have a mobile device, logging in to complete educational tasks is useful — especially when they adapt to your habits.
Teaching the value of accessibility
By experiencing this convenience and accessibility in their education, business students can better understand the value of web accessibility as it will apply to their careers. Virtual products and services need to be accessible just as much as physical ones. Since business students will often be working in these environments, web accessibility training should be an aspect of the curriculum.
By applying these groundbreaking technologies in education, teachers are assisting business students in understanding the larger world. For example, the FLEXA engine recommends business learning content to students based on their personalized data. This translates to a curriculum built specifically to help the individual user meet their educational goals. These AI platforms have streamlined Learning Management Systems (LMSs) for all kinds of business learning — from the classroom to the boardroom and back to home.
Inspiring curiosity and teamwork
Meanwhile, robotics can be integrated into business courses in much more interactive ways. This doesn’t necessarily mean that students need to build functioning robots on their own, but robotics as a supplement to Project-Based Learning (PBL) has been found to inspire curiosity and teamwork that are vital to a thriving business.
Students can learn by doing by building a simple robot as a task in a business course. This practice can help build discipline-specific knowledge of the robotics field while inspiring innovation. In this manner, business students can see the solutions inherent in custom robotics firsthand and will be better prepared to explore these solutions in the workplace.
But these are just a small sampling of the ways AI and robotics concepts can become a part of business education. The accessibility and connectivity of modern technology allow educators to run wild, exploring the same potential that the application of these tools will teach their students. The future is open to those willing to innovate, and tech teaches innovation.
Embracing the future of business in education
As students look to a hybrid work environment largely driven by AI, understanding this tool has become a necessity. Securing a job in the future might even require some level of experience with AI. With that said, business students need the influence of AI and robotics concepts in their coursework to prepare for a successful career.
AI in the classroom will improve the outcomes of students in an AI-driven world and could impart a lifelong love of both tech and learning. Apply these concepts in business courses with an AI-driven LMS or robotics-centered groupwork.
Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer passionate about workplace equity, and whose published works cover sociology, technology, business, education, health, and more.