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Does AI Tutoring Really Work for Homework Help? (2023)

Learn how to use AI tutors to get the best answers and explanations, and discover the effectiveness of AI tutoring for online homework help.

Whether you’re a student in high school or college, you may have already experienced the benefits of using online tutoring and homework help services. In recent months, artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT, Course Hero’s AI Homework Help, and other AI tutoring services have emerged as a game-changer for time-strapped college students, offering personalized learning experiences and real-time feedback. 

In fact, 99% of higher education leaders said leveraging AI would play a vital role in enhancing their institution’s competitiveness over the next three years.

But with generative AI technology moving so quickly, it can be difficult to navigate exactly how to use it effectively and appropriately within the context of learning.

When it comes to online homework help sites and AI tutoring, one of the most pressing questions that students often have is whether they can actually trust the answers provided by AI tutors. After all, machines are fallible, and they may not always be able to provide answers with 100% accuracy, or they may not take cultural context into consideration. 

Here we will take a closer look at how AI tutors source their information and how you can use AI homework help sites for personalized learning.

How does AI tutoring work?

We all know how daunting homework assignments can feel, especially with all of the other obligations you have outside of school. Fortunately, AI tutors have emerged as a convenient and accessible source of information and explanations, helping us to get clarity on even the toughest problems.

So, how exactly do these machines source the information that we need?

AI tutors use a technology called generative AI, which is a type of machine learning that generates new content based on specific prompts or questions.

For example, if you’re struggling with a calculus problem, you can input the problem into the AI tutor’s interface, and the machine will use generative AI to analyze the problem and provide a solution and explanation for you.

Behind the scenes, the process involves a series of algorithms that enable the machine to understand the nuances of language and context. This is known as natural language processing (NLP).

NLP is particularly useful in AI tutoring because it allows machines to understand the nuances of human language and provide more personalized and accurate responses to student questions. By leveraging NLP, AI tutors can provide a more natural and engaging learning experience for students, while also improving the accuracy and relevance of the information provided.

Here are a few ways natural language processing (NLP) can support student learning through AI homework help sites:

Understanding student needs: NLP analyzes the language used by students when asking homework questions or clarifying questions, allowing the AI tutor to understand their needs more effectively. The AI tutor can then tailor its responses to match the student’s level of understanding and provide explanations that are clear and concise. 

Personalized learning: NLP can help AI tutors understand each student’s unique learning style, strengths, and weaknesses. With this information, the AI tutor can personalize the learning experience for each student, providing them with individualized feedback and recommendations. Course Hero’s AI Homework Help will even attempt to surface class resources based on documents you upload.

Language skills improvement: NLP can be used to analyze a student’s writing or speaking, providing feedback on grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and pronunciation. This can help students improve their language skills and communication abilities.

Providing feedback and assessments: NLP can be used to provide automated feedback and assessments to students on their performance. The AI tutor can analyze a student’s responses and provide immediate feedback, identifying areas of strength and areas that need improvement.

Generating questions and quizzes: NLP can be used to generate questions and quizzes that are tailored to a student’s level of understanding and learning goals. The AI tutor can analyze a student’s responses to these questions and adjust the difficulty level accordingly.

How do I know if AI answers are accurate?

AI tutors can use a combination of techniques to identify authoritative sources for studying. By analyzing text, expert knowledge bases, and citations, AI tutors can help students identify high-quality sources. 

That said, it’s important to note that AI tutors are only as good as the sources they rely on, so it’s crucial to check the credibility of the sources used.

When reviewing the answers and explanations provided by AI tutors, students should look for certain indicators that the information is authoritative and trustworthy. 

For example, students should check to see if the sources cited by the AI tutor are reputable and well-known in the field. They should also check to see if the information provided is consistent with what they have learned in class or from other reputable sources. (Scribbr offers a handy guide on identifying credible sources.)

Course Hero’s Chief Technology Officer, Gregor Carrigan, says his machine learning teams are constantly iterating to improve the accuracy of their AI output.

“We are trying a number of methods to improve accuracy and have some promising results,” said Carrigan. “The main idea is to leverage our library of accurate information and our expert tutors to help improve accuracy and trustworthiness.”

That said, while the technology is steadily improving accuracy, AI may present inaccurate or offensive content that does not represent Course Hero’s views, and students should always verify the information provided by AI tutors and online study tools. This could involve cross-checking the information by asking a teacher or classmate for clarification. Some online homework help sites like Course Hero even offer students the opportunity to verify AI-generated answers and explanations with their Verified Experts, a human subject matter expert.

By taking these steps, students can verify that the information they receive from AI tutors is accurate and reliable.

What’s the best way to use AI tutors?

When using AI tutoring support, always remember to follow your school’s academic integrity policies. Use the information provided by AI tutors or online homework helpers to enhance your own learning rather than just copying and pasting answers without giving credit where it’s due.

If you aren’t sure what your school’s academic integrity policy is, Course Hero provides a list of academic integrity policies by school, but you can also ask your teacher or advisor where you can access your school’s policy.

The best way to work with an AI tutor is to use the AI-generated response as a starting point to which you can add additional context and information you learned in class, along with your own voice, perspective, and analysis. While AI tools are getting better at using natural language, they cannot write in your personal tone and style. A great way to learn is by teaching, so think about how you can teach the topic in your own words using the information provided by the AI tutor.

AI tutor chatbots aren’t always the most reliable source for information, though. This is where Course Hero’s human subject matter experts complement AI technology. Rather than relying on an AI tutor chatbot, you can always connect with real-life human experts 24/7 on Course Hero. This is often the best route to take when it comes to verifying the accuracy of AI-generated information.

Plus, when communicating with Course Hero’s subject matter experts, you can provide as much additional context as you’d like, including information about your class and key points you want to see in the tutor’s explanation. You can also ask Course Hero’s tutors to cite their sources so you can get additional information, and this will also tell you which sources you should cite in your assignment.

By following these policies, you can ensure that you’re using AI tutoring support in a responsible and ethical way. Remember, AI tutors are here to help you better understand your course and learn more effectively, not do the work for you!

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