How generative AI expands curiosity and understanding with LearnLM

By Ben Gomes

LearnLM is our new family of models fine-tuned for learning, and grounded in educational research to make teaching and learning experiences more active, personal and engaging.

Generative AI is fundamentally changing how we’re approaching learning and education, enabling powerful new ways to support educators and learners. It’s taking curiosity and understanding to the next level — and we’re just at the beginning of how it can help us reimagine learning.

Building a new family of models for learning

Today we’re introducing LearnLM: our new family of models fine-tuned for learning, based on Gemini.

Grounded in educational research and tailored to how people learn, LearnLM represents an effort across Google DeepMind, Google Research and our product teams to help make learning experiences more engaging, personal and useful. Our technical report presents our approach to improving generative AI for education and highlights how we’re working together with the AI and EdTech communities to responsibly maximize its positive impact and potential.

Working alongside educators and other learning experts, we’re infusing learning science principles, like the following, into our models and the products they power:

  • Inspire active learning: Allow for practice and healthy struggle with timely feedback
  • Manage cognitive load: Present relevant, well-structured information in multiple modalities
  • Adapt to the learner: Dynamically adjust to goals and needs, grounding in relevant materials
  • Stimulate curiosity: Inspire engagement to provide motivation through the learning journey
  • Deepen metacognition: Plan, monitor and help the learner reflect on progress

Bringing LearnLM to products you already love

With LearnLM we’re enhancing learning experiences in products you already use today — like Search, YouTube and when chatting with Gemini — so they can help you deepen understanding, rather than just giving an answer. Here are a few examples:

  • In Google Search, soon you’ll be able to make sense of complex topics by tapping a button to adjust your AI Overview into the format that’s most useful for you — whether you want to simplify the language, or break it down.
  • On Android, Circle to Search can help people get unstuck on math and physics word problems directly from their phones and tablets. Later this year, you’ll be able to solve even more complex problems involving symbolic formulas, diagrams, graphs and more.
  • When chatting with Gemini, soon you’ll be able to use Gems, custom versions of Gemini that can act as personal experts on any topic. Learning coach, one of the pre-made Gems, can support you in building knowledge by providing step-by-step study guidance, along with helpful practice activities like quizzes and games. Learning coach in Gemini will launch in the coming months, and with Gemini Advanced, you’ll be able to further customize this Gem to suit your unique learning preferences.
  • On YouTube, a conversational AI tool makes it possible to figuratively “raise your hand” while watching academic videos to ask clarifying questions, get helpful explanations or take a quiz on what you’ve been learning. This even works with longer educational videos like lectures or seminars thanks to the Gemini model’s long-context capabilities. These features are already rolling out to select Android users in the U.S.

Applying LearnLM to build generative AI experiences for schools

We’ll also apply LearnLM to inform and enable the generative AI experiences that we build for schools. Through a new pilot program in Google Classroom, we’re working directly with educators to see how we can help simplify and improve the process of lesson planning — a critical, but time-consuming component of teaching. These features will help teachers discover new ideas and unique activities, find engaging materials, and differentiate their lessons and content to meet each of their students where they are. No technology can ever replace the magic of a teacher, but when applied in deliberate and thoughtful ways, AI can help to augment their capacity — giving them time back to invest in themselves and their students.

Introducing two new experimental tools to advance learning

Beyond LearnLM and our existing products, we’re also building entirely new tools and experiences that expand learning:

  • Illuminate is a new experiment that breaks down research papers into short audio conversations. In minutes, it can generate audio with two AI-generated voices in conversation, providing an overview of key insights from these complex papers. And soon, you’ll be able to ask follow-up questions. Visit Labs.google to check out a library of available audio conversations and join the waitlist to generate your own.
  • Learn About is a new Labs experience that explores how information can turn into understanding by bringing together high-quality content, learning science and chat experiences. Ask a question and it helps guide you through any topic at your own pace — through pictures, videos, webpages and activities — and you can upload files or notes and ask clarifying questions along the way. Sign up to be an early tester.

With any emerging technology, there are still risks and new questions that will arise as AI advances and its uses evolve. To us, building AI responsibly means both addressing the risks and maximizing the benefits for people and society. Reimagining learning and education with AI will require collective effort. We’ve collaborated with MIT RAISE to develop an online course to help educators better understand and use generative AI in the classroom. And as we work to extend LearnLM beyond our own products, we will partner with experts at institutions like Columbia Teachers College, Arizona State University, NYU Tisch and Khan Academy to test and improve this technology. We want to build for you and with you, so please let us know if you’re interested in working together to help define educational benchmarks, improve academic capabilities and ultimately explore the possibilities when it comes to applying advances in generative AI to teaching and learning. These possibilities — much like our curiosity — are endless.

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