Are you considering implementing chatbots in your educational institution? Wondering what value chatbots bring to educational institutions and how they could help yours too?
FACT: Between 2020 and 2024, the U.S. e-learning market could grow by $72.41 billion!
Though the e-learning market is now 22 years old, the global pandemic gave its growth another proportion altogether:
But even after schools have opened, both students and teachers are leaning toward a hybrid education model, where classroom and online learning process goes hand in hand. The reason?
More and more students are finding the quality of online education better than classroom education, like these college students in America in 2020.
It is not just schools and colleges, more than 40% of the Fortune 500 companies are using e-learning regularly.
While virtual and augmented reality is still a thing of the future for the online education industry, AI chatbots are already playing an important role in making it the efficient tool it is today.
And that is what we are going to discuss in detail here in this article.
Let’s get cracking!
What is a Chatbot
At the most basic level, a chatbot is a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation (either written or spoken), allowing humans to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person. – Oracle
Two points worth noting here:
- Chatbots do not only work through text but voice also
- Because chatbots simulate human conversation, they can not only reply to your questions but can also start a conversation all by themselves.
Chatbots are divided into two broad categories:
- Task-oriented or stateless chatbots – capable of performing one function at a time. Think FAQs, queries with limited variables, etc.
- Data-driven or stateful chatbots – capable of sophisticated, interactive, and personalized tasks. Think virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.
Above is just a brief run-down as chatbots are a continuously evolving technology. Modern chatbots are built with complex NLP (natural language processing) and ML (machine learning) algorithms.
These chatbots learn as they go, which means they need massive amounts of data to become better. The more you interact with the bot, the better it deals with you, your voice, and your queries.
So enough about bots, let us move on to see how chatbots are enhancing the field of education.
How can Chatbots be Used in Education: 5 Benefits
#1. Student FAQs and ongoing support
At this point, at least 60% of internet users have indulged in online learning because they can do it in their comfortable time and space.
Obviously, scaling up support to meet this HUGE demand needs something more than humans. Enter, chatbots!
Chatbots provide efficient support at each stage of online education:
- Before enrollment
- While the course is going on
- And even after it finishes
Also, since online learning means students learn in their own time, support must be available round the clock. The good news is that Chatbots are the #1 channel in supporting consumers round the clock, including the education industry consumers.
Chatbots are a pro at answering frequently asked questions. Simply feed in the accurate bot answers to different chat questions regarding:
- Registration for the classes
- Access to student transcripts
- Key information about different programs/ courses
- Submitting assignments
- Courses not listed, etc.
For complex queries, that chatbot can always give the email address or phone numbers of the concerned department so the students can get in touch.
#2. Student engagement
While the chatbots can answer student queries and support them in their journey, they are helping the other way around too. That’s right, in gathering more useful information about the students and proactively engaging with them for program advocacy and follow-up.
Chatbots do this by asking students open-ended questions, as well as multiple-choice questions to collect qualitative and quantitative feedback.
Conversational chatbots that work with natural language processing collect the best quality feedback. These chatbots:
- Sound more human than a bot.
- Can summarize free-text responses efficiently.
- Can read between the lines.
- Make clarifications and provide guidance for counter questions.
This way, chatbots can engage students and make the enrollment/ recruitment process efficient. Guided by student response, chatbots can introduce relevant programs and services, and guide the interested students towards the next step, like filling out an application.
You can enhance student engagement with bots by making alumni groups and enabling them to interact/ chat with each other, just like they would chat on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
This can bring about a classroom user experience where fellow students help each other learn and the involvement is high.
#3. AI personal assistance in student learning and onboarding
The biggest challenge in online learning is engagement.
The learning happens without any student-to-student or student-to-teacher interaction. So how to engage an online learner and how to personalize his learning experience, just like in a classroom? Through cognitive artificial intelligence teaching assistants.
As we discussed, chatbots take many forms, and AI assistants have human soft skills so they can serve as students’ personal learning companions. Most importantly these AI assistants are developed depending on the age group you are catering to.
For example, Alexa and Siri were designed with adults in mind, not children. So make sure that the AI assistant you are getting to engage your students is tailored with their age group in mind.
Personal AI assistance can assist students:
- In learning by understanding their learning goals and over-time building learner profiles
- In onboarding by helping them familiarize themselves with the platform or other resources and not only track their progress but also encourage them to continue and keep momentum.
- Aid learning with a personal AI tutor who can customize learning styles and abilities for each student.
#4. AI assistance for teachers
Bot technology can not only help students but also free up your teachers’ valuable time for more productive work. Bots can take over the tedious jobs from the teachers like:
- Taking attendance
- Handing out study material
- Distributing quizzes/ tests
- Collecting submissions from students
- Distributing feedback to the students more effectively (through forms)
When you collect feedback through forms, bots can also highlight the most common feedback and make it easy for the teacher to see the prevalent areas in learning improvement.
Teachers can simplify student-teacher communication by using chatbots for FAQs. By feeding in the most common queries they anticipate from students on a day-to-day basis, they can not only save their time but also the time of their students.
Teachers can also add ‘skills’ to the bot. This means that you can add third-party educational programs to your chatbot and it can teach and engage students on its own. Skills can align with the subjects you are teaching like, National Geographic Bee, Travelopoedia, Math Showdown, etc.
#5. Administration tasks
Last but not the least, chatbots can efficiently handle a big part of the administrative work for your educational institution. You can place chatbots on your website or apps for different purposes, like:
- Handling a part of the admission process, like providing course details, required qualifications to enroll for a course, fee structure, scholarship information, and even collecting admission forms, etc.
- Make new students aware of the rules and regulations of your institution.
- Making them aware of the campus and school events
- Disbursing regular news of the institution, like what salary packages are your students securing in different industries, what new technology or innovation is a part of your academic year, what new courses you are introducing, etc.
- Student feedback collection for further improvement of courses and the institution itself.
Chatbots can also help your administration team access student information as and when required and to the most specific details, like ID number, email address, registration info, etc. It can also help students to access their information and change or amend it when required.
The possibilities of how you can use chatbots in administration are endless, you just need to go creative.
So now that we have a fair idea of what benefits chatbots bring to the table for your education institution, let us look at some chatbot tools that are breaking the ground in innovation.
Educational Chatbot Examples
Social Intents (disclaimer: this is our product) offers a robust live chat functionality for institutions looking to implement the channel without having to learn new tools. It integrates directly with the most popular college communication tool – MS Teams. It also integrates directly with Slack and Webex.
So if your organization uses any of these tools, Social Intents is the ideal tool for you and you can launch chatbots within minutes.
With Social Intents, you can build your custom AI chatbot in minutes without any coding experience or technical skills.
It is super simple to set the chatbot up:
- Create a live chat widget on our website
- Create your Dialogflow agent (Leverage our integration with Google’s Dialogflow to create advanced natural language chatbots online.)
- Connect live chat and Dialogflow
Here is how you can start using the Social Intents chatbot for your education institue:
- Customize the chatbot with your institution’s colors, logos, text, default responses, etc.
- Have your chatbot respond as soon as a student/ visitor starts a chat.
- Answer student FAQs including program queries
- Collect student information to use for different purposes, including better program recommendations.
- Have your chatbot respond with quick reply buttons, cards with images, and buttons. It looks something like this:
Botsify is a managed chatbot platform that provides unified chat automation for your educational institution.
With Botsify, you can:
- Track the activity of every website visitor/ student and engage with them accordingly with a chatbot.
- Use WhatsApp automation for instant student support. Send bulk messages to students with their broadcast messaging feature, and save time in things like distributing assignments, etc.
Botsify also provides you with a dedicated chatbot manager with 24×7 customer support for faster query resolution.
Juji powers cognitive AI assistants in the form of chatbots to engage each prospective or existing student in a two-way conversation at scale.
Juji’s cognitive AI assistants:
- Can augment learning professionals to scale-out student engagement by serving as each student’s personal learning companion.
- Engage with prospective students in two-way conversations, answering their inquiries, eliciting their interests and contact, and aiding prospect decision-making.
- Engage with new students in a two-way conversation, building a deep learner’s profile and using the insights to personalize learning experience and retention.
Juji promises to provide deeply personalize learning experiences and boost learning outcomes.
BotCore’s AI chatbots for educational institutions improve teachers’ efficiency and create a seamless student experience.
Here are a few things that a BotCore’s chatbot can do for you:
- Provide real-time assistance to your students at any time.
- Allow the teachers to reach more students anytime and help them schedule messages for their students such as notifications, reminders, or test results.
- Engage with the students in a human-level conversation on any academic topic and help them learn through visuals, speech, video, etc.
With BotCore’s chatbot, you can revamp your current teaching model and enhance the overall campus experience for your students.
Acquire promises to deliver convenient, contextual support with easy-to-implement chatbots. With Aquire chatbots, you can:
- Create a branded experience for your educational institute within minutes.
- Route visitors/ students to the right department in your education institution.
- Move to live chat, video, or co-browse for a more complex issue at hand.
- Teachers can develop a chatbot to assist students before, during, and outside of their class.
- Answer questions from many students at once without each student having to wait in line at the administrator’s or teacher’s office.
With Acquire, the chatbot also allows you to personalize your message to each student while sending mass notifications.
There you have it!
A fair amount of information so you can decide if you would like to go ahead with deploying chatbots in your educational institution.
We wish you all the best!