Drive to Reimagine

Can education chatbots replace teachers?

Engati Team
.
Aug 17
.
5-6 mins

Table of contents

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chatbot for education

Do you remember back in school, how asking “silly” doubts felt so intimidating? What if the professor got mad? What if our friends laughed at us? So much anxiety. So many questions left unanswered…

Luckily, this problem has finally been solved. All thanks to Education chatbots.

Fryer and Carpenter did an experiment where 211 students were asked to chat with ALICE and Jabberwocky chatbots. The feedback was that most students enjoyed using the chatbots. In fact, 85% of them admitted to having felt more comfortable and relaxed conversing with the bots over a student partner or teacher as in classical teaching.

This is because chatbots not only ease the education processes but also ensure qualitative learning.  But that is not all they are limited to. There is so much more that chatbots do for the education industry.

‍What are educational chatbots?

Education chatbots are conversational bots used by EdTech companies, universities, schools or any educational institute. They are virtual assistants that help teach students, evaluate papers, get student and alumni data, update curriculums and coordinate admission processes. 

The new online education system

The education industry has always been ahead when it came to technology. Education actually came in the top 5 industries profiting from chatbots in 2019. But this was restricted to only certain aspects of distance learning. The pandemic really forced the education industry to update its teaching style and the results it generated changed the distance learning game completely. Online education is no longer restricted to mere online certification courses on platforms like coursera and udemy anymore. It is now a part of the mainstream education system. Universities offer distance learning programs, online flagship courses and much more. With edtech companies at its core, chatbots have made given online education a new form and made life easier for students, professors and even the administration department. 

What are the applications of education chatbots?

Chatbots have a lot of uses in the educational industry. From teaching to assisting and administration to coordination, education chatbots do it all. 

Here is a list of the most applied use cases of education bots:

1. Virtual Tutoring

One of the most beneficial uses of an AI chatbot is its tutoring feature. They can be used to provide a personalised learning experience for students and assist in developing their learning processes. By analysing their responses, observing how they study and consume content, and understanding their overall performance using Intelligent tutoring systems, chatbots help students make the best out of the education system.

These tutoring systems can also cater to the needs of neurodivergent students who may have learning disabilities and help all students understand difficult topics and subjects by customising their learning plans. A lecture can also be turned into a series of messages to make it look like a standardised chat conversation to help students feel comfortable asking questions and improve the overall concentration level by increasing engagement.

2. Increasing Student Engagement

Learning requires engagement and the fact is that students these days are more accustomed to engaging through social media and instant messaging channels than anything else. They use these platforms to communicate, research topics, and find help with their assignments. 

Education chatbots make use of this fact to enhance the overall learning process. By constantly being available, during and after lectures to answer queries and allowing students and teachers to virtually exchange information about lectures, assignments, deadlines, presentations and other events and activities. They can also use this platform to create alumni groups and various activity clubs. 

3. Assisting Teachers

Teachers have hectic schedules and plenty of everyday tasks. Education chatbots are equipped to unburden them by automating and covering repetitive tasks. This way teachers can focus on providing quality education and tracking their student's progress.

Chatbots can answer all student queries related to the course, assignments and deadlines. They can customise content and personalise feedback based on each student's individual learning progress. Chatbots can also be used to evaluate tests and quizzes in place of professors and provide them with analysis per student, based on these results.

4. Supporting Students 

Students require support throughout and beyond their learning process. Edtech bots can help students with their enrolment processes and further provide them with all the necessary information about their courses, modules, and faculties. 

University chatbots also act as campus guides and assist the students on and after arrival. They can help the students find out about hostel facilities, library memberships, scholarships, etc and provide post-course support for any issues that would need to be solved on a priority basis.

5. Data collection and API support

Chatbots collect student data during enrolment processes and keep updating their profiles as the data increases. Through chatbot technology it is easier to collect and store student information to use it as and when required. Institutes no longer have to constantly summon students for their details every single time something needs to be updated.

 6. Helping with holiday homework and evaluation 

Students are never in the mood to study during holidays, nor do they have access to teachers. So when the time comes for holiday homework, things can get tough. In such times education chatbots are really handy tools. Chatbots help with communicating information on homework details, dates and schedules to the students and answer all related queries for them.

Furthermore, chatbots also assist both institutions in conducting and evaluating assessments. With the help of AI (artificial intelligence) and ML(machine learning), evaluating assessments is no longer limited to MCQs and objective questions. Chatbots can now evaluate subjective questions and automatically fill in student scorecards as per the results generated. At the same time, students can leverage chatbots to access relevant course materials for assessments during the period of their course.

 7. Administration and Enrolment 

The administration department can use chatbots to ease the administration process for both sides of the desk. Chatbots allow students to avoid unnecessary travelling and waiting in long lines to get information regarding fee structure, course details, scholarships, campus guides and school events. They reduce the workload for administration by segregating all existing data and answering all institute-related and other reoccurring queries.  Chatbots also help digitalise the enrolment process and make communication between students and universities way less complicated.

8. Alumni Engagement

By using chatbots, institutions can easily reach out to and connect with their alumni. This helps collect alumni data for reference and assists in building contacts for the institution and its existing students.

What are the benefits of applying education chatbots?

With every use, chatbots become more and more beneficial for the education industry

They are more efficient, offer convenience, can be integrated with existing databases and legacy systems and improve the actual learning process.

Here is how education chatbots benefit different people involved:

Students' Learning and Performance 

Virtual tutoring and personalised engagement help smoothen and enhance the overall learning experience. Chatbots are trained in natural language processing (NLP) which allows them to easily analyze and evaluate the answers given by students. This also helps students receive personalised help and feedback according to their individual progress. As a result, students engage with the education bots and learn actively instead of having to blindly by heart answers, generating better results in their performance.

Teacher’s Efficiency 

Education chatbots help improve the overall efficiency of teachers. By tutoring students in the virtual realm, answering all their common queries, providing them with course material, evaluating their work and mapping their progress to give individual feedback, chatbots play the role of the perfect teacher's assistant. Teachers can then use the data provided by the bot to individualise and improve their approach towards their students and cover aspects that a bot cannot cover. This helps teachers take a holistic approach while also focusing on the gaps and saves them a lot of time on tedious tasks, which in turn can go into building a healthier relationship with the students. Chatbots also do faculty evaluations to track teachers' progress and actively help them improve their skills.

Administrative Challenges

Edtech chatbots have really improved administrative processes.The administration department has always been slow and filled with legacy processes that involve standing in long lines and filling out long repetitive paperwork, only to have to wait even more. Chatbots fasten this entire process by: 

  • answering all student queries regarding admissions and various other processes 
  • providing digital forms or automatically filling out data for students from data collected through their interactions
  • Collecting data to update and administer the growth of the institution and all its processes

Admission and Alumni Interaction

Schools and universities have two important factors other than their three bases, i.e. Students, teachers and admin. These factors are the admission process and alumni interaction. 

Admission process- Chatbots help generate leads through the use of channels beyond the website like WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. They then collect each prospect's information and use that to increase conversions through personalised engagement and quality interaction. They then provide prospects with all required information on the institution and help ease the processes by answering all queries and easing up legacy processes. Chatbots also follow up with prospects and assist in the final enrolment and onboarding process.

Alumni interaction- institutions need to keep a record of all their students, including the alumni. Chatbots use existing information to connect with alumni and get their new data for reference. They also interact with the Alumni to help increase and build connections for the institute and bring in new opportunities for its students.‍

Here are some examples of education chatbots.

University of Rochester

The university wanted to provide all its students and faculty with easy access to OBGYN and mental well-being information. They decided to opt for an intelligent AI chatbot to make this possible.

By teaming up with Engati, they created a bot that helped students and faculty look after their physical and mental health by providing them with the necessary information, contacts of mental health professionals and access to guided meditations and workouts.

They found the platform so intuitive that they succeeded in building an almost human-sounding bot in just fourteen days. This helped them achieve better-than-expected results for both students and faculty members.

Podar Education Network 

Podar Education Network needed a system to scale its parent outreach. They wanted to shorten their sales cycle, handle the constant influx of queries, and integrate their engagement system with their existing marketing software to store leads.

They build their chatbot with Engati which helped them answer 79% of all queries, passing only the complex ones to live chat agents. This helped Podar reduce their resolution time by 89% and convert 31% of users into MQLs.

The UK Cabinet Office

The UK Cabinet wanted to run a campaign to reach out to students, especially from underrepresented sections of society, and encourage them to take more interest in STEM studies. 

It worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Innovation, Business and Sustainability to launch the “Young Scientist Competition”.

They built an AI-powered chatbot on Engati’s platform and used it to reach students and get the word out about the campaign. The bot shares stories about winners of the previous Young Scientists competition and even got current participants to post about the projects conducted by the previous winners on social media, thus getting more eyeballs on the campaign.

The bot even guided students in creating social media posts and helped them pick hashtags that would work best. By deploying this chatbot, the UK Cabinet Office managed to increase user engagement by 43.5%.

Education chatbot templates

  • Course Selector Chatbot

This is a chatbot template that allows prospective students to browse through various course offerings by an educational institution. The chatbot provides details on course fees, duration and other admission details. It also collects the details of interested students and emails them to the team.

  • School Chatbot

This is a chatbot template that provides information on facilities, accolades, and the admission process of an educational institution.

  • University College Chatbot

This is a chatbot template for pre-admission enrolment. You can integrate the chatbot with a CRM and send student leads directly into the process.

  • Course Enrolment Chatbot

This chatbot template enables users to enrol themselves in a particular course and class on the basis of their preference. The template is interactive with videos, images, and emails sent to the bot builder whenever a new lead is generated.

  • Sex Education Bot

Sex education is taught in public schools on topics ranging from abstinence and reproduction to sexual orientation and sexually transmitted diseases. The chatbot helps educate students about safe sex.

According to the Stanford report written by Huyen Nguyen and Lucio Dery, from the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University, NLP chatbots had an 81% correlation with a human grader.

The future of education chatbots.

Education chatbots and chatbots in general have come a long way from where they started. They are a one-time investment with low maintenance requirements and a self-improving algorithm. Researchers have also developed systems that can automatically detect whether students are able to understand the study material or not. 

This helps in understanding whether the students are:

  1. Able to understand the study material
  2.  Attentive during the session

This has truly helped develop online learning and improved distance learning for all. It would not be wrong to say that with the right technology and support, education will soon turn from a privilege to a basic human right. Soon, good quality education will be accessible anymore there is the internet and schools will not face the problem of a lack of quality teachers. This will result in the overall growth of society and the future of generations to come.

Can chatbots completely replace teachers?

We would like to end this blog with a question that we all have in our minds.

Chatbots are definitely the future of education, but will they replace all teachers someday?

We have read how education chatbots cover all grounds and are also low maintenance. Even so, chatbots are still not human and do not have the same EQ and capabilities that only humans do. It is obvious that teachers don't just teach but nurture students into becoming better individuals. 

But we still don't know what the future holds, do we?

Let us know what you think.

Till then, here is a blog on Why your educational institute needs to use a WhatsApp chatbot.


Engati Team

At the forefront for digital customer experience, Engati helps you reimagine the customer journey through engagement-first solutions, spanning automation and live chat.

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