This survey article has grown out of the GAIED (pronounced "guide") workshop organized by the authors at the NeurIPS 2023 conference. We organized the GAIED workshop as part of a community-building effort to bring together researchers, educators, and practitioners to explore the potential of generative AI for enhancing education. This article aims to provide an overview of the workshop activities and highlight several future research directions in the area of GAIED.
Real-world interpretability for neural networks is a tradeoff between three concerns: 1) it requires humans to trust the explanation approximation (e.g. post-hoc approaches), 2) it compromises the understandability of the explanation (e.g. automatically identified feature masks), and 3) it compromises the model performance (e.g. decision trees). These shortcomings are unacceptable for human-facing domains, like education, healthcare, or natural language, which require trustworthy explanations, actionable interpretations, and accurate predictions. In this work, we present InterpretCC (interpretable conditional computation), a family of interpretable-by-design neural networks that guarantee human-centric interpretability while maintaining comparable performance to state-of-the-art models by adaptively and sparsely activating features before prediction. We extend this idea into an interpretable mixture-of-experts model, that allows humans to specify topics of interest, discretely separates the feature space for each data point into topical subnetworks, and adaptively and sparsely activates these topical subnetworks. We demonstrate variations of the InterpretCC architecture for text and tabular data across several real-world benchmarks: six online education courses, news classification, breast cancer diagnosis, and review sentiment.
The increasing availability of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has created a necessity for personalized course recommendation systems. These systems often combine neural networks with Knowledge Graphs (KGs) to achieve richer representations of learners and courses. While these enriched representations allow more accurate and personalized recommendations, explainability remains a significant challenge which is especially problematic for certain domains with significant impact such as education and online learning. Recently, a novel class of recommender systems that uses reinforcement learning and graph reasoning over KGs has been proposed to generate explainable recommendations in the form of paths over a KG. Despite their accuracy and interpretability on e-commerce datasets, these approaches have scarcely been applied to the educational domain and their use in practice has not been studied. In this work, we propose an explainable recommendation system for MOOCs that uses graph reasoning. To validate the practical implications of our approach, we conducted a user study examining user perceptions of our new explainable recommendations. We demonstrate the generalizability of our approach by conducting experiments on two educational datasets: COCO and Xuetang.
Large Language Models (LLMs) are increasingly utilized in educational tasks such as providing writing suggestions to students. Despite their potential, LLMs are known to harbor inherent biases which may negatively impact learners. Previous studies have investigated bias in models and data representations separately, neglecting the potential impact of LLM bias on human writing. In this paper, we investigate how bias transfers through an AI writing support pipeline. We conduct a large-scale user study with 231 students writing business case peer reviews in German. Students are divided into five groups with different levels of writing support: one classroom group with feature-based suggestions and four groups recruited from Prolific -- a control group with no assistance, two groups with suggestions from fine-tuned GPT-2 and GPT-3 models, and one group with suggestions from pre-trained GPT-3.5. Using GenBit gender bias analysis, Word Embedding Association Tests (WEAT), and Sentence Embedding Association Test (SEAT) we evaluate the gender bias at various stages of the pipeline: in model embeddings, in suggestions generated by the models, and in reviews written by students. Our results demonstrate that there is no significant difference in gender bias between the resulting peer reviews of groups with and without LLM suggestions. Our research is therefore optimistic about the use of AI writing support in the classroom, showcasing a context where bias in LLMs does not transfer to students' responses.
Predicting multiple real-world tasks in a single model often requires a particularly diverse feature space. Multimodal (MM) models aim to extract the synergistic predictive potential of multiple data types to create a shared feature space with aligned semantic meaning across inputs of drastically varying sizes (i.e. images, text, sound). Most current MM architectures fuse these representations in parallel, which not only limits their interpretability but also creates a dependency on modality availability. We present MultiModN, a multimodal, modular network that fuses latent representations in a sequence of any number, combination, or type of modality while providing granular real-time predictive feedback on any number or combination of predictive tasks. MultiModN's composable pipeline is interpretable-by-design, as well as innately multi-task and robust to the fundamental issue of biased missingness. We perform four experiments on several benchmark MM datasets across 10 real-world tasks (predicting medical diagnoses, academic performance, and weather), and show that MultiModN's sequential MM fusion does not compromise performance compared with a baseline of parallel fusion. By simulating the challenging bias of missing not-at-random (MNAR), this work shows that, contrary to MultiModN, parallel fusion baselines erroneously learn MNAR and suffer catastrophic failure when faced with different patterns of MNAR at inference. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first inherently MNAR-resistant approach to MM modeling. In conclusion, MultiModN provides granular insights, robustness, and flexibility without compromising performance.
* Accepted as a full paper at NeurIPS 2023 in New Orleans, USA
Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) plays a crucial role in enabling human understanding and trust in deep learning systems, often defined as determining which features are most important to a model's prediction. As models get larger, more ubiquitous, and pervasive in aspects of daily life, explainability is necessary to avoid or minimize adverse effects of model mistakes. Unfortunately, current approaches in human-centric XAI (e.g. predictive tasks in healthcare, education, or personalized ads) tend to rely on a single explainer. This is a particularly concerning trend when considering that recent work has identified systematic disagreement in explainability methods when applied to the same points and underlying black-box models. In this paper, we therefore present a call for action to address the limitations of current state-of-the-art explainers. We propose to shift from post-hoc explainability to designing interpretable neural network architectures; moving away from approximation techniques in human-centric and high impact applications. We identify five needs of human-centric XAI (real-time, accurate, actionable, human-interpretable, and consistent) and propose two schemes for interpretable-by-design neural network workflows (adaptive routing for interpretable conditional computation and diagnostic benchmarks for iterative model learning). We postulate that the future of human-centric XAI is neither in explaining black-boxes nor in reverting to traditional, interpretable models, but in neural networks that are intrinsically interpretable.
Natural Language Feedback (NLF) is an increasingly popular avenue to align Large Language Models (LLMs) to human preferences. Despite the richness and diversity of the information it can convey, NLF is often hand-designed and arbitrary. In a different world, research in pedagogy has long established several effective feedback models. In this opinion piece, we compile ideas from pedagogy to introduce FELT, a feedback framework for LLMs that outlines the various characteristics of the feedback space, and a feedback content taxonomy based on these variables. Our taxonomy offers both a general mapping of the feedback space, as well as pedagogy-established discrete categories, allowing us to empirically demonstrate the impact of different feedback types on revised generations. In addition to streamlining existing NLF designs, FELT also brings out new, unexplored directions for research in NLF. We make our taxonomy available to the community, providing guides and examples for mapping our categorizations to future resources.
Revision behavior in adaptive writing support systems is an important and relatively new area of research that can improve the design and effectiveness of these tools, and promote students' self-regulated learning (SRL). Understanding how these tools are used is key to improving them to better support learners in their writing and learning processes. In this paper, we present a novel pipeline with insights into the revision behavior of students at scale. We leverage a data set of two groups using an adaptive writing support tool in an educational setting. With our novel pipeline, we show that the tool was effective in promoting revision among the learners. Depending on the writing feedback, we were able to analyze different strategies of learners when revising their texts, we found that users of the exemplary case improved over time and that females tend to be more efficient. Our research contributes a pipeline for measuring SRL behaviors at scale in writing tasks (i.e., engagement or revision behavior) and informs the design of future adaptive writing support systems for education, with the goal of enhancing their effectiveness in supporting student writing. The source code is available at https://github.com/lucamouchel/Understanding-Revision-Behavior.
Deep learning models for learning analytics have become increasingly popular over the last few years; however, these approaches are still not widely adopted in real-world settings, likely due to a lack of trust and transparency. In this paper, we tackle this issue by implementing explainable AI methods for black-box neural networks. This work focuses on the context of online and blended learning and the use case of student success prediction models. We use a pairwise study design, enabling us to investigate controlled differences between pairs of courses. Our analyses cover five course pairs that differ in one educationally relevant aspect and two popular instance-based explainable AI methods (LIME and SHAP). We quantitatively compare the distances between the explanations across courses and methods. We then validate the explanations of LIME and SHAP with 26 semi-structured interviews of university-level educators regarding which features they believe contribute most to student success, which explanations they trust most, and how they could transform these insights into actionable course design decisions. Our results show that quantitatively, explainers significantly disagree with each other about what is important, and qualitatively, experts themselves do not agree on which explanations are most trustworthy. All code, extended results, and the interview protocol are provided at https://github.com/epfl-ml4ed/trusting-explainers.
* Accepted as a full paper at LAK 2023: The 13th International Learning
Analytics and Knowledge Conference, March 13-17, 2023, Arlington, Texas, USA