Chatbots are being deployed in huge numbers across a wide range of markets, from big brands to niche use cases. Education is one of the most popular sectors. And the practical demonstrations in time and money saving are just the start when it comes to this exciting technology.
The education sector faces many of the same challenges as a traditional business. But with large volumes of students (or internal customers as the market refers to them) priorities are largely inward focused.
When it comes resolving these issues through technology, education is ahead of the curve on chatbot adoption, with users of the SnatchBot platform showing a narrow lead for the education sector above other verticals. From enrollment, timekeeping, and to teaching itself, chatbots can play a major part but also offer so much more potential.
At Georgia Tech, professor of computer science and cognitive science, Ashok K. Goel is using bots in class to help refine teaching practices. Using them as digital teaching assistants, they free up time for the real tutors to handle more pressing matters. As in other markets, chatbots do the grunt work and make teaching roles more enjoyable and impactful. They are not taking over current jobs!
In future, as explained in this Elearning Industry piece, tests moderated by chatbots will produce instant results and save on marking time. Teaching and revision bots will remind students of key facts or issues at timely intervals, to help aid memorising for tests while aiding the transition from book-based to online learning.
Also in the U.S., the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) reports how A.I. Is infiltrating every corner of the campus. This shows that once bots start to appear, people will find new and innovative uses for them.
Chatbots As Digital Learning Tools In & Out Of The Classroom
As education moves away from rote-based learning, the rise of learn-as-you-like is growing, especially among colleges and remote learning courses. Some current examples are highlighted by TechEmergence including foreign language tutoring. In the not too distant future, bots can take the class on any device. They will deliver the core syllabus, helping to answer any questions using AI or deep research (or Google if all else fails) to find an answer.
They can also use features like sentiment analysis to study if the students are enjoying the course (and refine it if not), or report back if students aren’t taking their work seriously. With results and progress automatically monitored, course leaders can focus more on those who need help, while the bot can challenge those who are at the top of the class. Vedic Maths built dozens of test bots for their students with SnatchBot.
In the bot-based model the teachers can guide a greater number of students at any given time and be present round the clock 24|7. The bot will take care of your performance and even tell you which areas you need to focus on to get a better score.
At higher levels, chatbots can drive open learning models helping pupils understand the context of what they know, and identifying what they don’t to help improve revision. Imagine the power of natural language processing in a few years as it understands complex reasoning in subjects like English Literature, Medicine and Sciences.
Chatbots In The School Office & Beyond
At the basic level, most schools are seeing ever-rising numbers of pupils, growing classes, new subject areas and a growing volume and level of administration. Chatbots could help unify many of these systems, such as attendance, lunch menus/payments, school trips, absences and other issues, freeing the admin staff to focus on key issues and essential tasks.
As they become more universal for students, chatbots can also help monitor mental health. Intel’s iQ bot is an early example. That will likely be controversial from inception, but helping prevent self-harm, bullying and suicide could be a major benefit of technology as it gets to know students, and understand their emotional state through conversations.
While bots will never replace parents, teaching and health professionals, being able to help trigger a silent alarm could save lives, which will help drive acceptance around controversial areas.
Further still, in a high-AI future, connected chatbots with access to the careers market could also help pair the right students with career opportunities. That could range from helping someone with no real idea of their career options by highlighting appropriate opportunities, or to bring high achievers to the attention of hirers.
With so much potential, it is hard to imagine a lot of this coming true, but chatbots are already accelerating from being a basic customer service drone, and as IT services get smarter the range of connected services and the degree of nuance within a bot could become something spectacular to help educators and students get the best start in life.