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Workshop: Generative AI for Education (GAIED): Advances, Opportunities, and Challenges

Paper 4: Beyond Hallucination: Building a Reliable Question Answering & Explanation System with GPTs

Kazem Jahanbakhsh · Hajiabadi · Vipul Gagrani · Jennifer Louie · Saurabh Khanwalkar · Kazem Jahanbakhsh

Keywords: [ Generative AI ] [ Online Learning ] [ hallucination ] [ question answering ] [ GPT-4 ] [ AI Verifiability ] [ Reference System ] [ Explanation Generation ]


Large language models such as GPT-4 have demonstrated performance comparable to human on various academic assessments, including the Uniform Bar Exam and LSAT. This opens up unprecedented opportunities for advancement of online learning through generative AI. However, there are a number of challenges using GPT models for educational use cases. For example, GPT models can generate incorrect information. They also lack providing custom academic references for their outputs. This paper discusses the design and implementation of a GPT-powered question answering/explanation system at Course Hero. We present A/B test results revealing a notable 40% increase in answering coverage compared to a retrieval-based question answering system. Moreover, we describe how augmenting our internal questions' answers with step-by-step explanations generated by GPTs lead to a 75% lift in users' approval ratings. Lastly, we outline the design for a production-ready reference system, providing evidence for users to verify GPT responses. Through human evaluations, we show that we can achieve Precision=84% and Recall=69% when providing reference documents for GPT outputs.

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