Two universities will be working together on a research project to help students explore jobs. The National Science Foundation awarded almost $700,000 over three years to Western Governors University (WGU) and Carnegie Mellon University to create “intelligent coaching agents” for non-traditional students pursuing work in STEM.
The agents will use a combination of human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, machine learning and education to guide students to practical resources that can help them improve their chances of success in finding good jobs. Those resources will include human career coaches or peers to help participants build their confidence and motivation in problem-solving and decision-making related to their career hunts.
According to the researchers, the approach is heavily data-driven and embodies a machine-learning paradigm known as “socially-sensitive reinforcement learning” (SSRL). As the software generates guidance for students, it stays “sensitive” to their needs and preferences to increase the probability that they’ll accept the guidance.