The capabilities and applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have taken huge strides just within our lifetime. Only a couple of decades ago, AI seemed to be something out of a dream. Today, it is integrated so deeply into our everyday lives that it can sometimes appear to be imperceptible. Everything, from your social media feed to customer care centers, depends on AI.
In the education sector, AI helped close the gaps in learning and instruction, especially during the pandemic. Today, AI is so deeply entrenched in education that imagining a time prior to it seems challenging.
One of the major breakthroughs in AI technology, be it in education or the corporate sector, was the advent of conversational AI. Let’s take a look at what conversational AI is and how it can shape the future of education.
What is Conversational AI?
Conversational AI allows users to interact with AI in a natural dialogue. The program mimics real conversations to engage humans by leveraging technologies like Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.
This technology can offer one-on-one interactions with users and provide them with unique and personalized experiences. It does so by parsing through keywords in human speech to understand the content and context of a user request.
According to Deloitte, the market for conversational AI is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.2% between 2019 and 2024. This growth would be reflected in all sectors, especially education.
Conversational AI in Education
A great deal of manpower is dedicated by educational institutions toward student services. Students in higher ed often need help obtaining information such as program details, class schedules, scholarship deadlines, and housing options, just to name a few. Imagine significantly reducing that manpower with an AI chatbot.
With conversational AI students can get to know specific answers to their questions or are directed to important resources instantaneously. Other administrative work, such as membership applications or complaint forms, can also be managed through AI. By automating administrative duties, institutions can redirect their resources toward other, more pressing matters.
Many courses come with a pre-assessment that analyzes the degree to which students are already familiar with the course content or if they still recall content from their prerequisites. A conversational AI tool can make that process automatic, while at the same time keeping the students at ease by making the assessment conversational in nature.
Once the assessment is done, the program can use predictive analytics to determine their level of competence and assign respective learning pathways that can address any deficiencies or skip over content that they know well.
Curated Learning Content
Offering students a personalized learning experience is easier than ever before, thanks to AI. A conversational AI chat can ask learners a series of questions to determine their interests, career aspirations, as well as their preferred method of instruction. Based on the responses provided by the students, they can be directed to specific courses and modules in their programs. In this way, students can not only be expertly counseled but they can also experience a unique learning experience specifically designed for them.
Virtual Teaching Assistant
With the increasing popularity of distance learning programs, institutions must find newer ways to connect with students. Instructors cannot dedicate the same amount of time and attention to each student virtually the way they can in person. Conversational AI can help address that.
Students can leverage AI-powered virtual assistants to stay engaged during their courses by submitting questions or comments to the chat and getting help in real time. The chatbots can provide guidance if a student is stuck or keep them engaged using quick, pop-up quizzes. In this way, they can incorporate microlearning in their courses and enhance retention.
Another way conversational AI can be leveraged in education is by optimizing and streamlining grading. In many institutions, instructors are tasked with personally grading each student’s assignments and quizzes, which is neither easy nor approached with enthusiasm on their part. While it is important to oversee student performance, many of these grading activities can be automated, leaving instructors plenty of time to actually engage with the students.
AI can use pre-set grading criteria to evaluate student responses, which is easy enough to do in assessments with clear correct or incorrect responses. But conversation AI can take this a step further and reliably grade more abstract, essay-like responses based on an established set of criteria. These grades are also communicated to students by these chatbots who break down the grading in a more detailed manner than a busy instructor can.
The importance of feedback cannot be overstated. Feedback and evaluation help both students and course authors get the most out of a learning intervention. It is important to note that feedback must travel both ways and that students have as much of a right to evaluate an instructor’s performance as instructors do to their students.
The effort required to complete feedback forms and parse through them is another story though. Not many students want to take out additional time to submit feedback forms and many instructors struggle to find the time to take a look at them. Similarly, finding the time to give detailed evaluations of each student’s performance can be a challenge for instructors.
Conversational AI can address both, by making feedback both easy to collect and disseminate. Students tend to respond well when evaluation is treated as a simple and direct conversation, even if it is with a bot. Instructors can also rely on AI to parse through all the forms and present an overall picture of their course feedback. In return, conversational AI can reach each student individually and communicate instructor feedback to them in a highly personalized manner.
We’ve all had a conversational experience with a chatbot at some point. As it stands, the technology is surprisingly effective and useful. In the future, we can expect conversational AI to get even better. And with it, the education sector will see an increased dependency on AI technology.
With this in mind, now would be the right time to invest in conversational AI. If you’re looking to incorporate AI tools into your learning platform, be it K12 or higher ed, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of experts can help make the learning solution you envision a reality. Get in touch with us today to request a free demo!