Teacher using aprendIA Onneshi chatbot in Bangladesh with her students.
Teacher using aprendIA Onneshi chatbot in Bangladesh with her students.
Scale
Multiple countries
Ongoing

aprendIA

aprendIA is an AI-driven chatbot platform that delivers educational and learning experiences through messaging platforms, enabling children to learn anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Education plays a critical role in the lives of children and youth, providing not only knowledge and skills but also stability, protection, and hope for the future. However, during humanitarian crises such as conflicts, natural disasters, and pandemics, education systems are often severely disrupted, leaving millions of children and young people without access to quality education. The consequences of the learning loss resulting from crisis and lack of funding are dire, placing children at risk of increased violence and exploitation that can have long-term effects on their health, education and economic prosperity.

Currently, 224 million school-aged children are affected by crises globally. Despite the vast need for educational solutions in humanitarian settings, existing solutions often face common challenges such as cost, and lack of personalization and resources. Many highly-regarded pedagogical interventions that support student learning – like student-centered, active, or play-based approaches – are often not adapted to crisis contexts, and are not easily implemented by teachers.

We believe that access to quality remote learning during education disruption is a key way to improve learning outcomes and prevent permanent dropout. Quality remote learning can keep children connected to school systems, providing a bridge to improve learning outcomes during a period of disruption.

Expanding Access to Education

The IRC is helping to lead the global humanitarian community in rethinking how we can reach more children and caregivers with safe, quality educational opportunities. By leveraging technology and AI in the IRC’s education programming, we are making education more efficient, effective and accessible. This includes reaching children left behind at the “last mile” of education—students, teachers and parents in the most remote, or hard to reach, settings who are largely excluded from formal education systems. 

We envision that by 2033, children impacted by crisis will receive personalized learning within 30 days of a crisis, providing continuity of learning and increasing re-entry into formal schooling post-crisis.

aprendIA

aprendIA provides access to interactive, two-way learning experiences through a variety of formats (text, audio, videos, games, PDFs and more), using AI personalization to bring access and quality to hard-to-reach learners. 

aprendIA is designed to reach students, teachers, and caregivers with learning and training content anywhere, and combines natural language processing (NLP) with the generative capabilities of AI for open feedback, personalized nudges and instructional ideas. This solution breaks down barriers to school entry and future disruptions by adapting to individualized learning needs, delivering on low-bandwidth platforms, and complementing teachers’ existing curriculum and resources. aprendIA is the building block for innovative solutions, including:

  • AudioClass System (ACS): Our flagship aprendIA program, ACS utilizes the aprendIA chatbot to deliver supplementary education for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, along with host communities in Colombia. ACS educational content is based on a flexible, accelerated 27-week curriculum, designed for learners at risk of dropping out, or who are currently out-of-school. ACS enhances an educational support initiative from the Colombia Ministry of Education (MoE), Caminar en Secundaria, made to support out- of-school students to catch up on lost learning.
  • EduMa: A virtual assistant using a chatbot messaging platform to assist Early Childhood Facilitators. Piloted in Cox’s Bazar and Barishal, Bangladesh, EduMa is reaching over 1,200 mothers and their families with information on early childhood development and maternal healthcare. This has reduced the workload of health workers, assisted with data collection and analytics, and improved accessibility and reach of critical early childhood development services and support. EduMa is available in Bangla and English.
  • Teaching Assistant: A virtual assistant to support teachers and learning facilitators, through providing guidance on how to effectively teach students in large classroom settings, and how to use the Interactive Mavis Talking Book solution with students in North-East Nigeria. This content is available in English and Hausa, the local language.
  • InforMH: A mental health service for Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan. Using the aprendIA chatbot, InforMH bridges the mental health care treatment gap in Jordan by helping users identify their specific mental health challenges and then providing direct connection to healthcare professionals for relevant support.
  • Onneshi: It means "to explore," is a dedicated chatbot designed to cater to the needs of teachers throughout Bangladesh, with a special focus on supporting last-mile learners. Covering a diverse array of subjects such as English, Math, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Safeguarding, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and more, Onneshi integrates advanced technologies such as ChatGPT and Natural Language Processing (NLP). The chatbot features interactive quizzes, stickers, images, PDFs for lesson plans and more. The chatbot is available in Bangla and English.
  • Intelligent Instructor: A teacher facing chatbot is currently being developed in Khost and Bamiyan, Afghanistan that will provide classroom instruction, lesson plans, engaging activities and more for their students. Subjects include reading, writing, numeracy, social emotional learning and more. In addition to the educational content, the chatbot will enable teachers the capabilities to share their classroom content and best practices that can be shared with other teachers. The content will be made available in Dari, Pashto, and English and delivered via SMS and WhatsApp.

The Impact of aprendIA 

We are now starting to utilize data-driven insights from AI solutions to guide decision-making and improve outcomes for our clients. aprendIA detects patterns and trends in client usage, student learning and engagement, enabling us to continually refine our platforms.  

Findings from our aprendIA pilots have shown that these innovative models can be deployed quickly and at scale—with the potential to be replicated in multiple languages in the 40+ countries where the IRC operates—to expand access in the hardest to reach settings and ensure continuity of learning amidst crisis or displacement.  In our EduMa pilot in Bangladesh, we were able to design and launch in less than four weeks, demonstrating our ability to respond quickly. Results from our AI pilots have shown their ability to drive efficiency by reusing aprendIA’s core technology and content across multiple contexts.  

The pilots have also shown that engaging content can be rolled out at low cost and delivered on simple messaging platforms (SMS/WhatsApp), without compromising effectiveness. Early feedback from the prototypes have shown increased learner engagement and reduced workloads for educators, as well as enhanced learning outcomes for children.

Longer Term Vision for AI

Over the next three years, we will continue to scale up aprendIA by developing the platform, reaching learners and building evidence on the use of EdTech in crisis settings. We aim to reach over 1 million learners by the end of 2026

As part of this process, we will explore the integration and scaling of aprendIA to make learning experiences available in over 15 languages, in 20 countries. Based on the results of these pilots, we will be able to rapidly deploy the capability to other contexts, such as delivering during acute crises. We also aim to integrate large language model (LLM) AI into aprendIA to further personalize digital education experiences for improved learning outcomes and teacher empowerment. 

Two-way communication is key to unlocking the potential of apprendIA, including: responding to complex education requests; drawing from verified education sources; disaggregating complex multifaceted questions; tailoring responses to users’ role, age and/or learning level; and indicating clear limits of knowledge to users. This would save teachers time and reduce learner dropouts. 

Project Timeline

  • Reach 1 million learners

  • Strengthen AI capabilities for personalized learning and increased engagement using natural language processing (NLP). Fine tune AI that enables the platform to understand user input, recognize intents, generate appropriate responses, personalize interactions, and continuously improve.