The increasing sophistication of chatbots means their application is more widespread than ever. Businesses and organizations are using them to provide personalized experiences in ways that were never previously possible, as well as a functional tool relieving pressure on administrative resources.
These applications as well as other examples mean chatbots are an excellent tool for organizations providing education, as well as the process of education itself. Chatbots provide quick links to information, drive results-driven conversations, connect students with resources and create seamless feedback processes—all of which are needed in both in-person and remote learning contexts.
The adaptability of chatbots means that they provide a huge number of benefits to education and educators. We’ve chosen five of these benefits to sum up how chatbots are contributing to education and how we might see them change, especially given the extent to which the pandemic has changed how learning is delivered and experienced.
Immediate access to information
There are few organizations as big and complex and with as much information to share as schools and colleges, and this is even before the learning has begun.
Typical college websites contain many millions of pages and house huge amounts of information relevant to many kinds of users. It’s very difficult to create a user experience that creates a seamless and personalized journey for all of these users—and this where chatbots come in.
An immediate benefit to organizations providing education is that chatbots simplify the process of users finding information on their websites or other online assets. This makes life easier for existing students and faculty members looking to navigate portals they’re unfamiliar with. It also can funnel potential applicants through every stage of the consideration cycle—through initial browsing of courses and fee structures all the way through to a complete application process.
The websites of organizations providing education can be hard to navigate, causing unnecessary friction and potential fee-paying applicants to look elsewhere. This is the first port of call when it comes to the benefits of chatbots to education—even in their simple and most recognizable form (as something helpful that pops up on a website) they’re of particular use. In many cases, they can start the education process before any classes have even been signed up for.
Simplified technical and admin support
Another common use for chatbots is to provide a simple and scalable and cost-effective way to provide technical and admin support. When you have thousands of students using technology and equipment sourced by an education provider, there needs to be a way of providing effective technical support, and chatbots are the ideal way to funnel students towards the right answers and save costs on hiring support staff.
After onboarding onto new courses or campuses, chatbots can be used effectively as virtual assistants, guiding students through logistical or administrative processes that initially seem daunting. Some of the best university chatbots are used to help students through these processes as well as troubleshoot problems with software, email accounts and other online tasks. Using a tailored question-and-answer format that improves over time via machine learning makes this process simple and a tool that can be rolled out at very large scales much faster than equivalent in-person support teams.
Sophisticated learning assistance
Educational apps and other platforms benefit enormously from chatbots acting as virtual teaching assistants, guiding students through lessons, chapters or entire classes and giving them feedback as they go.
Chatbots are powerful enough to do this in a way that creates a genuinely personalized experience, especially for large-scale platforms, creating a lot of data that bots can use to learn.
The presence of an effective chatbot can help a student directly in a number of ways. If an external resource becomes necessary to guide them through a difficult topic, a bot can locate it quickly. Bots can be used to gamify learning experiences and provide positive messaging, helping students to achieve more when learning remotely.
As a virtual learning assistant, chatbots can be very powerful, and it’s almost see certain that we’ll see increasingly complicated and life-like examples as the technologies needed for remote learning to become more and more sophisticated.
Integrated smart feedback
A really important use of chatbots is their ability to provide real-time feedback. For teachers this means feedback on classes and materials can be gathered automatically and via an interactive, conversational form, leading to more engaged and detailed answers.
Feedback forms can help students identify areas of weakness, helping to personalize their experience as they move through a course. Teachers can use the information gathered to change lesson plans and quickly identify new areas to focus on.
At the organizational level, feedback can be gathered on things like course experience and satisfaction, while at the same time due to the power of chatbots to gather relevant data information can be gathered and analyzed and used to inform the marketing and operational strategies used to generate constant growth and improvement.
Engaging remote students
Chatbots have many functional roles to play in educational settings, but perhaps their most important application is towards keeping students engaged as learning moves online.
The way in which an interface encourages students is crucial to the success of future online education programs. Chatbots can be used to make learning exciting and facilitate a two-way learning experience even in the absence of a real-life teacher.
Chatbots can also be utilized in a way that cultivates the culture and values of your learning establishment, for example by sharing campus values during an onboarding process or even in things like the choice of language used in online feedback forms.
Conversation is essential to all educational experiences. Remote learning was becoming more and more popular before the pandemic, but the need for remote learning experiences to meet the needs of students studying outside the classroom has now been made crystal clear.
Given the role chatbots are playing in our online experiences and how AI is driving their increasingly sophisticated implementation, chatbots aren’t just beneficial to education—they are essential.
If you’re looking for a chatbot for your organization, start a free trial of Instabot today.