The Fifth Elephant 2023 Winter

The Fifth Elephant 2023 Winter

On the engineering and business implications of AI & ML



Tanuja Ganu


Shiksha copilot

Submitted Nov 8, 2023


Shiksha copilot- Empowering teachers to create best learning experiences


Shiksha copilot is a research project at Microsoft Research, India. The project aims to improve learning outcomes and empower teachers to create comprehensive, age-appropriate lesson plans combining the best available online resources, including textbooks, videos, classroom activities, and student assessment tools. To help curate these resources, the project team built a copilot—an AI-powered digital assistant—centered around teachers’ specific needs.


Teachers are the backbone of any educational system. They are not just educators; they are indispensable navigators, mentors, and leaders. Teachers around the world face many challenges, which vary from country to country or even within a city or town. But some challenges are universal, including time management, classroom organization, and creating effective lesson plans, personalizing content for henetrogenous student-base in their class and eventually improving the learning outcomes.


Shiksha copilot is a copilot experience for teachers to generate personalized and engaging learning experiences for their studnets in just a few minutes. Shiksha copilot addresses various societal and technical challenges in developing inclusive and accessible copilots such as improved multilingual and multimodal interactions. Educational content is mainly multimodal, including text, images, tables, videos, charts, and interactive materials. Therefore, for developing engaging learning experiences, it is essential to build generative AI models which have unified multimodal capabilities. Also, these experiences are most impactful when delivered in native languages, which requires improving the multilingual capabilities of generative AI models.

This copilot is being developed as part of Project VeLLM (Universal Empowerment with Large Language Models) at Microsoft Research India. VeLLM’s goal is to make inclusive and accessible copilots available to everyone by building a platform for developing population-scale copilots. Inclusive copilots must address various real-world challenges, such as a multilingual user base, varied skillsets, limited devices and connectivity, domain-specific understanding, guardrails, and safety principles. Shiksha is the first copilot developed using the VeLLM platform. The VeLLM team is working with collaborators across diverse domains, such as agriculture and healthcare, to develop tailored domain-specific copilot experiences utilizing the platform and addressing associated research problems.


Tanuja Ganu, Principal Research SDE Manager, Microsoft Research, India


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