Google launches Oppia for interactive online education

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Google debuts Oppia, an open source online platform for education that allows anybody to create interactive activities dubbed explorations and makes it easy for others to learn from.

The activities or explorations, built and contributed by multiple people from all over the world, are embedded in a web interface with no programming required.

“We’re excited to announce Oppia, a project that aims to make it easy for anyone to create online interactive activities, called ‘explorations’, that others can learn from. Oppia does this by modeling a mentor who poses questions for the learner to answer. Based on the learner’s responses, the mentor decides what question to ask next, what feedback to give, whether to delve deeper, or whether to proceed to something new”, stated Google in a blog post.

Google claims that Oppia will collect data on how learners interact with the system, so that any shortcomings in an exploration can be easily fixed by the exploration authors, who create a new learning path on the basis that they are actually interacting in-person with the learner.

Oppia sends personalised and customisable feedback to learners when they submit answers as Google believes that feedback is the key for education and says “after all, one does not learn to play the piano by watching videos of many virtuoso performances.”

Google explains Oppia to be more like a smart feedback system that tries to teach a person, rather than simply marking the submitted answers wrong and revealing the correct answer.

The company also boasts that the new interactive tool can handle text, numeric, multiple choice inputs and even specialised input types like code evaluator, clickable map. With an extensible framework, Oppia also allows developers to extend the range of input types.