Conversational AI in education – Nowadays, response times and user experience can make the difference with users interaction and education players like Universities cannot underestimate the added value of artificial intelligence to streamline interactions with digital-native students.
Virtual classrooms, online exams, forum and social media interactions are the “new normal” in education, not only because of the pandemic, but also for the “mobile” communication behaviour of students.
Conversational AI, in particular, can streamline relationships between students and teachers through instant messaging, provide immediate access to information and content, retrieve data about students educational profiles and curriculum, support enrollment procedures etc.
Thanks to Natural Language Processing, Conversational AI (CAI) makes human-machine interaction possible through natural language, involving students in one to one conversations; on the other hand, chatbots can handle conversations workflows smoothly thanks to machine learning and semantic ontology.
conversational ai in education: use cases
Conversational AI in education – Conversational AI adoption in education is transforming the entire industry: academic virtual assistants provide answer to students’ frequent questions, help scheduling courses and exams, provide customized information, may be employed in candidates’ screening and skill assessment procedures.
In general, conversational AI agents present the interactive features that students expect from a digital channel, provide immediate and easy access to content and resources, using text messages or simple vocal commands.
On the other hand, conversational AI agents help schools and universities to align their offer to students’ needs, improving organizations’ processes and providing students with the best technology.
Let’s see few examples.
- Lessons become interactive conversations;
- Chatbots may verify students’ learning level and suggest next learning steps and studying materials;
- Chatbots may conduct surveys and assessments;
- Assessment results are available in interactive dashboards.
Academic virtual assistants
Conversational AI agent act like teaching assistants: they answer to students’ questions, provide personalized feedback, schedule appointments and facilitate communication between students and teachers.
students digital coach
Conversational AI agents help students retrieving information about enrollment procedures, exams deadlines, courses and events, etc.
Also, chatbots may guide students to fill out admission forms or find locations and facilities, or subscribe to library services.
For example, Staffordshire University introduced the chatbot “Beacon” as a digital coach dedicated to students, that provide effective and immediate answer to 400 FAQs, and facilitates contact with tutors .
Conversational AI agents can be easily integrated in social platforms (like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram etc.) to easily engage through students most used digital channels.
For example, Becky, the Leeds Beckett University’s chatbot supports students’ enrollment process using Facebook Messenger application.
Feedback and surveys
Conversational AI agents collect feedback at the end of a course or may conduct surveys to provide analytics in order to help students and teacher to identify possible learning gaps.
Registration and enrollment
Conversational AI agents may be employed in the enrollment process automation, optimizing administration staff’s workload .
For example, Georgia State University tested virtual assistants’ efficiency, comparing a control group (that received traditional communication through e-mail and snail mail) with a treatment group (that received reminders, information and surveys from the chatbot via text messages on their mobile phones).
The chatbot also responded to a number of practical and logistical questions relating to specific enrollment tasks.
During the trial, the chatbot handled more than 50.000 messages and less than 1% required staff members intervention; at the end of trial the chatbot handled a total of 200.000 messages (while ten additional full-time staff members would have been needed without it).
Education is already benefiting of artificial intelligence in terms of direct access to information and resources, personal curriculum customization, tracking of learning results and progress, user experience of students and teachers, enrollment process and organization’s efficiency, but this is just the beginning of a the future scenario that sees education evolving, together with AI capabilities.
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