JUST ANNOUNCED: The New Era of Leadership 2024 Award Winners


Kristen DiCerbo

Chief Learning Officer, Khan Academy


This AI-Skeptic Is Now Leveraging the Technology to Improve Personalized Tutoring

At first, Kristen DiCerbo was skeptical that AI could transform learning. As a Ph.D. educational psychologist, she had worked on the team that tried—and failed—to train Watson, IBM’s famous supercomputer, to tutor students. She lost hope that machines would have the ability to provide meaningful educational interventions. That all changed in 2022, when she was given access to a beta version of Open AI’s ChatGPT. As the Chief Learning Officer at Khan Academy, a non-profit that offers online educational tools, she immediately recognized the technology’s potential to transform learning. She was instrumental in building out Khanmigo, Khan Academy’s AI tutoring tool, and rolling out a pilot to 8,000 classrooms in 2003. The chatbot offers personalized guidance to students on various subjects and allows them to chat with AI-powered historical figures and literary characters. Research shows that one-on-one tutoring is one of the most effective educational interventions, but it’s expensive and hard to scale, especially in large classroom settings. Thanks to thought leaders like DiCerbo who are harnessing AI’s potential, more students could have access to the learning tools they need to succeed.

By Audrey Goodson Kingo