Chatbots in education: how AI is transforming learning

Written by: Samantha Wolhuter

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With the wealth of the world’s information condensed to a search bar, the nature of education has evolved. New ways of sharing information are now possible thanks to smart technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

AI is already transforming education as we know it and the benefits are resounding. 

  • Always-on access to educational content and learning from anywhere at any time
  • Personalised learning modules tailored to each student’s ability
  • Tailored on-demand learning and tutoring from AI chatbots and software-powered tutors
  • Improved time-management and scheduling for educators thanks to smart automation of time-consuming tasks
  • Automation assistance of administration, including grading and onboarding via chatbots that can answer FAQs that help save time

Together with these improvements, how are AI-powered chatbots in education changing the way learning content is being transferred and received?

We’ve made a list of the top chatbots in education and explore how their particular AI functionalities help their learners absorb more knowledge and improve their retention.

Botsify (AI: instant messaging)

Botsify is one of the leading chatbots in education that presents learning subjects to students in the form of images, text and videos via Messenger. Lessons are presented in a conversational-style format which creates an interesting form of education that has proven to be astounding. 

Students receive customised learning through increased interaction as the bot learns more about the student’s profile and constantly assesses their strengths and weaknesses pertaining to each topic through machine learning. 

After the students have learnt about a particular topic, Botsify then sends quizzes to test their understanding. The results are then submitted to their teachers so that their performance and progress are charted.

iTalk2Learn (AI: speech recognition)

iTalk2Learn is an online learning system designed for primary school students. Through chatbots, students are able to interact with the system as if they were communicating with a teacher. The bots utilise machine learning capabilities to design fully customised learning plans for each student according to their individual abilities and behaviours, taking into account their placement among their peers. 

Most interestingly, these bots harness advanced speech recognition capabilities which are able to interact and speak to each student and listen back to their answers, assessing their progress. The speech recognition abilities of the bots are also able to detect patterns of behaviour and attitude towards learning and identify affective states for knowledge absorption.

SnatchBot (AI: automation)

Not all educational chatbots are solely for the benefit of students — teachers need the assistance of assistants too. SnatchBot is a clever chatbot assistant which can be automated to free up time for teachers commonly spent on repetitive administrative tasks. This bot can be set up to answer many common student queries regarding course modules, lesson plans, assignments and deadlines which can take up a lot of a teacher’s time. But SnatchBot is able to delve deeper and can also be programmed to monitor the learning progress of each student and provide personalised feedback to each student regarding their progress. Through machine learning, the bot can analyse each student’s learning needs and recommend learning content to assist them in their progress.

Thirdspace Learning (AI: predictive capabilities)

Thirdspace Learning is one of the largest online mathematics education platforms in the UK. Through the platform’s chatbot harnessing machine learning capabilities, each student’s abilities are assessed and a fully personalised curriculum is created. Each student is assigned an online tutor who is able to communicate and assess their student’s progress in real-time. 

More interestingly is the chatbot’s predictive abilities as it analyses and searches for inconsistencies in each student’s learning data. 

For example, if the student misunderstands the task or if the teacher misses something important, the chatbot is able to identify the problems and warn the teacher before the problem begins to aggravate.

Mongoose’s Harmony (AI: machine learning and predictive capabilities)

Built on Drift’s intuitive platform, Harmony is a virtual assistant chatbot designed to assist higher education students and educators alike by answering many administrative and onboarding queries. It takes the load of college administration departments and helps direct students to the appropriate person/department when landing on the website, cutting out a lot of bureaucratic red tape.

Using machine learning and predictive capabilities, Harmony is able to efficiently guide website visitors to the content they need, qualify leads, and connect relevant queries to the appropriate staff members.

HEINEKEN Bar Battle (AI: Gamification)

How do you inform and incentivise barmen to promote your brand above your competitors, or other sales agents operating in indirect channels? HEINEKEN Netherlands, together with Greenberry creative agency, has created a concept for a series of mobile games in which players learn about products while playing and competing with their colleagues. To make the games more accessible, they can be played via Facebook messenger.

This particular bot is close to our hearts because HEINEKEN Netherlands along with their creative agency Greenberry approached WeAreBrain to help build their AI bot solution. At the outset, we found that our challenge was twofold. We needed to create a templated chatbot solution to support the core e-learning game rules, and allow the content creators to create multiple gamified e-learning challenges for different products in a user-friendly CMS backend. 

By developing a game template with gamification rules (game scenarios, scores, multimedia support, multiple player roles and push notifications) the HEINEKEN Bar Battle bot was able to facilitate learning on the job for third party salespeople and allow marketing managers to track participation and scores, while also providing real-time insights for the brand.

Summary

As in every industry which has received a baptism of AI disruption in recent years, the education industry is benefitting from AI’s many advantages, with the results being more satisfied and educated students. 

AI’s natural language processing, instant messaging, speech recognition, automation, and predictive capabilities are providing students across the world access to personalised education which is constantly evolving. Teachers are easily able to chart each student’s progress with AI chatbots delivering personalised progress reports in real-time.

And this is just the beginning. As AI continues to advance and finesse its capabilities, chatbots in education will help usher in a new era of learning — the results of which will be a marvel to witness.

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Last modified: April 5, 2022
Author info
Samantha Wolhuter
Sam has been involved in creative writing since she can remember. She is a digital nomad always on the go, inspiring us with her words from some of the world's most beautiful locations.
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