Watson Cognitive Advisors

June 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

One of the great things about being at IBM is all the amazing access you have to thinkers, information, and innovation. I recently participated in the “Reinventing Education” course offered by IBMs Think Academy. Global Education faces many challenges, for example how can we make learning more effective for students, parents, teachers, employees, and citizens preparing them to meet the challenging demands of the 21st century. IBM is developing some amazing technologies that is establishing the emergence of a Cognitive Culture. The introduction of cognitive companions as illustrated by the Watson Cognitive Tutor and Watson Teacher Advisor represent in multiple ways how we are beginning to redefine the lifetime learning process. I have included three examples beginning with the Watson Cognitive Tutor and concluding with Deakin University’s “DeakinSync” the first university in the world to use the power of Watson to enhance the student experience. This is just the beginning of the “Cognitive Era” – the opportunity for IBM to provide personalized services incorporating these and other cognitive companions across the entire educational continuum including the enterprise is limitless. I hope you enjoy these examples and encourage you to check-out the “Reinventing Education” course.

The following is an example of how Watson Cognitive Tutor can engage a learner on a specific topic: 

A student, Dave, wants to improve his understanding of physics before his exam. Dave accesses Watson Cognitive Tutor on his tablet. The Cognitive Tutor knows his learning preferences and chooses a voice and personality for the tutor that is most appropriate. Dave selects the subject “physics”. Watson knows that Dave has been struggling with the concept of gravity so it suggests that Dave spend some time on it. Aware of Dave’s learning patterns, strengths and weaknesses, Watson will pick the most applicable sources to present to Dave from a library of high quality instructional materials, video and audio lectures, tutorials, animations and interactive platforms. Watson then evaluates his understanding and provides him with any needed guidance based on his interaction with the tutor. It also provides options that he can explore to learn more and strengthen his knowledge.

Watson Teacher Advisor:

Few innovative tools are specifically focused on teachers, helping to strengthen and support their instruction. Watson Teacher Advisor will help fill this gap by supporting teachers in a way that can mirror the most effective teacher professional development practices.Teacher Advisor will apply the unprecedented power of Watson cognitive computing technology, providing teachers with targeted strategies, lesson plans, videos that demonstrate teaching techniques and more. Watson Teacher Advisor is currently under development, and a pilot is planned for fall 2015 with third grade math teachers. To learn more about the technology, watch the Watson Teacher Advisor Video to witness a group of prominent education stakeholders and master teachers discuss Watson Teacher Advisor and provide overwhelmingly positive feedback. To build Watson Teacher Advisor, IBM is marrying its unique capabilities with content from education experts, and is soliciting advice from teacher groups and an Advisory Board made up of state education leaders, deans of education, and renowned thinkers in education, including the head of the American Federation of Teachers.


Deakin University in Melbourne became the first university in the world to use the power of Watson to enhance the student experience after partnering with IBM to develop DeakinSync. DeakinSync provides answers to student questions on a range of topics, such as courses, tuition and fees, financial assistance, student housing, health and wellness, facilities, job placement, employment preparation and more. Over time every student who asks Watson questions through DeakinSync can expect more tailored information and personalized advice based on their individual profile. Students can ask questions on any device connected to the Web. Deakin also worked with IBM to develop and deploy a predictive-analytics solution based on IBM SPSS and IBM Cognos. The solution analyzes a wide array of factors to help the university identify students at risk to leave the program and allow it to take the necessary steps to encourage them to stay. RH


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