Oppia is a tool for creating interactive online activities that enable students to learn by doing. Its creators believe that this is often a more effective and efficient way of learning than either watching videos or reading texts, since it allows the student to engage more deeply with the activity in a way that videos or books often do not.
Oppia aims to simulate the one-on-one interaction that a student has with a teacher by capturing and generalizing “interaction dialogues.” For instance, a teacher might ask the student a question, and the student then responds in some way -- by either volunteering an answer, or saying that he/she is stuck. The teacher then responds in a way that is as helpful to the student as possible. However, the teacher will often not have time to address every individual misconception. Furthermore, it usually takes significant effort to figure out an appropriate response that helps a student get unstuck without denying them the experience of working through the problem and coming to terms with their misunderstanding. In many cases this effort will have already been expended by another teacher in a different school who is faced with the same question. If teachers use Oppia to record such interactions, they can share their knowledge with more students without duplicating effort.
We hope that having some of the student’s work addressed automatically will lighten the teacher’s load and help them focus on the questions that require a human’s response, as well as provide quick feedback to the student that would make the learning experience more enjoyable. Over time, as Oppia becomes able to address more misconceptions and understand more varied student inputs, we hope that it will become an increasingly useful and valuable resource for students and teachers worldwide.