Five students working with laptops and iPads sit around a table

AI for learning

AI for learning

Some ideas of how AI can support student in learning and preparing for assessment have been outlined here. Mollick and Mollick (2023) provide further guidance in terms of the roles that AI can take.  

  • Mentor - AI provides feedback to the learner 
  • Tutor – AI provides direct instruction that will be personalised  
  • Coach – AI works with the students to increase metacognition, for example reflect on a recent group learning experience 
  • Teammate – AI acts as a team mate providing alternative functions and suggesting ways to help teams function better 
  • Student – students ‘teach’ AI about a topic and evaluate the output correcting any misconceptions 
  • Simulator – AI builds different role playing scenarios where students can focus on specific concepts or problems to solve  

All of the roles AI can assume are explained in detail in Mollick and Mollick’s (2023) paper with sample prompts to give the AI appropriate persona and instructions and practical advice.  

Mollick, Ethan R. and Mollick, Lilach, Assigning AI: Seven Approaches for Students, with Prompts (September 23, 2023). Available at SSRN: or 

What is AI literacy? 

AI literacy has been defined as: 

“A set of competencies that enables individuals to critically evaluate I technologies; communicate and collaborate effectively with AI; and use AI as a tool online, at home and in the workplace” AI Unplugged, Georgia Tech University

According to Newcastle University this involves: 

  • “recognise AI and when you are interacting with it in existing and new platforms 
  • develop a basic knowledge of how different types of AI work and the human role in AI 
  • critically analyse what AI can do and distinguish between types of AI 
  • develop an awareness of what AI might be able to do in the future 
  • identify the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of AI 
  • develop a critical awareness of how computers learn from data and the impact this has 
  • describe the key ethical issues surrounding AI and its use in education including for academic integrity 
  • critically evaluate information generated by AI and make informed decisions about its use in your work 
  • communicate successfully with AI including creating effective prompts.” 


AI literacy is an emerging concept that is constantly evolving into frameworks that translate what it specifically entails. Some emerging frameworks are: 

Developing students’ literacy should focus on several areas: 

  • Helping students understand how AI software works 
  • Letting students learn how to use the tool, i.e. gaining practical experience of how to use it 
  • Critically evaluate source and outputs – this includes understanding the limitations of AI in relation to for example searching, or ‘hallucinating’ sources 
  • Prompt engineering – students’ ability to use AI effectively relies on their ability to create suitable prompts and their understanding how different wording might alter the output. Some guidance on that was produced by ChatGPT and can be found here.  
  • Ethical use of AI to produce work – including departmental rules around AI use and appropriate acknowledgment of AI input. More information on that can be found on the Library webpages.  

An example of a session that focused on helping students develop AI literacy can be found in the Reflective Essay case study. You can find the briefing slides in the downloadable documents section of this case study.