DARPA awarded $750,000 to further develop solutions as part of AI Tools for Adult Learning – a competitive opportunity launched last fall that focused on helping adults learn complex topics necessary for the current and future national security workforce.
As evidenced by national initiatives and roadmaps dealing with civilian and military workforces, the U.S. will need to upskill and reskill its workers to fill the growing number of jobs in highly technical fields, such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI).
Current educational programs that rely on human tutors are costly. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that AI itself can be a means to teach people quickly and effectively and increase access for all learners.
AI Tools for Adult Learning asked technologists, researchers, students, teachers, and creators of digital learning platforms to propose AI tools or technologies geared toward adult learners. After the successful completion of a multi-phase review process by a diverse set of judges representing venture capitalists, philanthropists, organizational leaders, teachers, and researchers, the following solutions earned top honors for their potential to create customized learning experiences that improve the training of new skills in adults who have completed postsecondary education.
Transform Award Winners: $250,000 per Team
Transform prizes were designed for established platforms with more than 10,000 users.
Skills Empowerment Passport by SkyHive and the Society for Manufacturing Engineering (SME)
QuickTA by TutorGen, Inc.
Growth Award Winner: $100,000 per Team
Growth prizes were designed for teams with a minimum viable product with some users.
HyperSkill by SimInsights Inc.
Catalyst Award Winners: $50,000 per Team
Catalyst prizes were aimed at early-stage teams who needed an initial spark of support to move their idea or research toward an operational prototype. This also included groups with an existing tool with a non-existent or limited user base.
Unreal Virtual Factories by Arizona State University
Elevate by Teachers College Columbia University
Caselet by the University of Maryland Baltimore County
“As the national security landscape evolves, so too must the skills of the people running the systems that keep U.S. citizens safe and free,” said Dr. Wil Corvey, DARPA’s program manager for AI Tools for Adult Learning. “We’re very grateful for the vibrant participation from proposers and judges on this challenge. And we anticipate that the development efforts undertaken by the selected awardees will create exciting new technologies to aid adult learning and illuminate additional areas of potential research.”
DARPA’s AI Tools for Adult Learning was part of the Tools Competition – one of the largest education technology competitions of its kind. Now in its third cycle, that competition has awarded $9.5 million to 80 winners worldwide. This year is DARPA’s first collaboration with the Tools Competition.