CHATBOTS IN THE EDUCATION INDUSTRY

Ever wondered how a first-year college student process a wealth of information from all her classes and adjust to a new environment?

Challenges of new students in the first year of college have been studied in various student transition research. New students must adjust their information-processing style to increased academic demands and teaching methods. Under such a circumstance, they encounter information overload on arrival. If not treated carefully, they would end up feeling disconnected from other peers and instructors, which may lead to learning demotivation.

Information overload

Emotionally and psychologically, information overload takes place when factors of emerging information (quality, quantity, frequency…) amplified by the rapid advance of communication technology interfere with processing information, thus cause the feeling of lack of control and feeling of overwhelmed.

A successful transition is obtained when one is autonomously trying to learn new information, continuously process information to cope with the new environment and gain a sense of connection with instructors and peers. To help students in that process, academic counseling service is open to offer advice and instruct them when they need. A supportive counseling system would make it easy for students to engage better in socialization and adaptation. However, to fully adapt to a new college, providing teaching materials and administrative information through online systems is still far from achieving an effective transition.

The use of technology is also helpful to support student’s transition to college. Technology has been largely employed to help close the gap between students among themselves and between students and instructors. Tools such as e-mail, text-messaging under the form of instant messaging (IM) or short messaging system (SNS) are considered helpful. Email is a means to convey a message to other people; nevertheless, now that young people are turning to messaging applications, email has no long a powerful tool that is widely used in peer-to-peer communication, students. A report of App Annie showed that people at age 13 to 24 spend as 3.5 times on messaging application rather than e-mail as people over 45 years old.  A significant prominence use of messaging application indicates younger users’ preference for text messaging, not necessarily e-mail. Text-messaging is a way to generate productive information exchanging tool between students and instructors. Due to the ability to integrate with students’ personal device, smartphones will bridge the gap between academic and social life of college and bolster the relationship between instructors and students.

Also, the increasing use of technology in part influences the way students get and obtain information. Students tend to consider text message as a useful means to communicate with their instructors. However, in the rather bigger scale, instructors may find it difficult to reach hundred of students at the same time via manually generated emails. Problems associated with text messaging are that it can be discouraging for students when instructors are away and sometimes it may be an act of breaching privacy boundary.   

Such difficult issues should be addressed by an automated system that provides helpful information and navigates an enquiring person to a site where an appropriate answer can be found. In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has driven the development of instant messaging, AI chatbot is one among artificial intelligence products, which can be considered a good solution to the information-processing issue in education. The chatbot can also be a credible reminder for examination or a quick review of lecture notes. The fact that it is run on a smartphone makes it more convenient for instructors to send mass messages and enhance school connectedness with the professor, simultaneously not too close. Further, a chatbot can become a tool to assess the understanding level of a lecture and may explain it in the form of normal text, to make it less complicated.

To name one, Athenka is a platform can help school create a chatbot which helps students with effective learning. It regularly sends lectures, nevertheless more exciting by means of texts, images or videos. It allows students to take quizzes and directly send the results to instructors in lieu of reporting to a medium site, such as an internal school portal. Further, they can help instructors distribute class materials in case students enquire for references. Doing so would ease off the pressure of taking a lot more information at the same time; moreover, enhance students’ motivation in their self-study. On the other hand, instructors can keep track of their students, provide feedback appropriately.

  

Intelligent feedback

One can not learn and grow better without having feedback from instructors. Feedback plays an important role in improving students’ learning process. For teachers, instructors, giving feedback to their students will enable them to identify whether there is an improvement in explaining needed; or some more extra tutoring is necessary. For example, feedbacks can be some extended open questions on a topic, a self-assessment report or tests.

This process can be tailored to be more engaging and less time-consuming for both instructors and students. With AI Hubert, students are given an opportunity to construct the education system better by giving their own suggestions, explaining what needs to be improved. On top of that, this chatbot will give an analysis of comments from students and report to the instructors.

Eliminating information overloading issue

From course registration, various available scholarships to specific information about major classes, seminar applications, students would have numerous questions to ask. Additionally, official websites of colleges have to carry a lot of different categories of information, which makes it difficult for students to sort out. For example, in each program, there are different prerequisites for participants, screening process, which an eligible student may miss out.

Colleges and universities can adopt a suitable chatbot for their homepages, in order to maximize the quality of offered information and minimize the amount of time per search. Especially, for such simple and frequently asked questions by new students every year, to release the burden on staff, academics should consider how artificial intelligence-based can help in pre-admission, helping students in the new transition. For questions that are too complicated, chatbots can direct to the person in charge and have them get back to students later. On behalf of a college’s staff, a chatbot can collect contact of students in case the school should need to provide support.

 

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