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How Chatbots Can Re-shape Elearning Experience


Chatbots are everywhere. You interact with them on messenger apps and websites. Bots can be used for tasks ranging from product recommendation to front line customer service. Driven by AI, chatbots become smarter and smarter over time. This is thanks to machine learning. There’s hardly an industry that has not or will not be influenced by bots. One of these is elearning. Keep reading to learn and where chatbots will disrupt various parts of the elearning experience.

Bots Can Provide Front Line Learning Support For Learners

When you visit your favorite online store, you may notice that a little chat window pops up. A bell sounds and you see message, ‘How can we help you today?’ or something similar. There’s probably not a real human behind that message. Chances are, it’s a Chatbot. It’s there to answer basic questions and  make suggestions. It’s also prepared to alert a human being if you need more advanced help.

Chatbots can do the same in the classroom. Imagine a classroom with 35 trainees all working on some task. At any given time two to three students may need answers to small questions or a bit of guidance. Now, imagine each student can access a chatbot. Rather than waiting to get the instructor’s attention, they can use the bot to answer simple questions or get clarifying information. Teachers spend less time on this part of classroom management. This way, students can stay on task and trainers can spend their time helping students struggling with deeper concepts.

Chatbots Can be Used to Create Personalized Learning Experiences in Real Time

Pacing is a common source of frustration for trainees. Nobody likes going over material that they already know over and over again. It’s also just as bad when a training course progresses to the next subject before a student understands what is being covered.

Without chatbots instructors can only do their best to keep the class on track as a whole. Even self paced online learning can fail to meet students’ needs if it fails to adequately cover subject matter or spends too much time on it.

One way that chatbots can be employed is to customize each student’s learning experiences in real time. As students progress through learning materials, answer questions, take quizzes, or provide feedback, chatbots can collect data. They can measure how quickly students answer, how accurate their answers are, among other metrics. This can then be used to determine whether or not they can be accelerated on to the next topic, or if they need more review and enrichment.

Students Can Also Use Bots to Help Them Evaluate Courses And Instructors

Man effective elearning courses end with a survey or other instrument for students to provide feedback. The purpose, of course, is to determine if students are satisfied that they have learned what they need to do. The problem is that these instruments are static. Students may be able to select some multiple choice answers, for example and add just one or two comments. There’s really  no way to expand or dig deeper using that model.

Imagine a scenario where students complete these feedback forms with the help of a chatbot. For example, a student  may provide several negative answers on questions relating to the technology used in the classroom. If they are completing the evaluation with the help of a bot, the bot can recognize a pattern in their answers and serve up additional questions in this area. This will allow the student to fully communicate the problems that they had.

According to Charles Walton, “Not only will this help elearning providers do a better job of improving their course offerings, it can result in happier customers as well. If a student is not happy with a portion of a course they have taken, that’s frustrating. However, by asking detailed and customized questions the trainee’s takeaway is that their feedback is important.”

Trainers Can Rely on Chatbots For Both Formative And Summative Assessments

Before they design courses, instructors often give out formative assessments. Later, to measure how effective training courses were, they administer summative assessments as well. Doing both takes a significant amount of time. Instructors must take the time to write out questions they believe will accurately measure knowledge, understanding, and retention. Then, they must use that information to design elearning courses, and then improve those courses in the future.

Chatbots can be implemented to help create these assessments and then improve them over time. Thanks to machine learning, bots can collect data on the questions and answers submitted before the training, materials covered during the training, and the questions and answers completed during the summative assessment process.

As it learns, the bot can determine if the formative assessment questions are accurate for determining what trainees know and what they do not. Likewise, they can collect data during summative assessments to both identify what individual student need more help with. Bots can then create and suggest additional questions for assessments.

Chatbots Can be Incorporated Into on The Job Training

Jill was just hired to work as a bank teller. She spends the first week of her job in the classroom. She learns about banking regulations she must follow. Instructors show her how to use the bank’s customized software package. She even learns about building safety procedures, company policies, and takes mandatory, yearly sexual harassment training.

That’s a lot of information to absorb. So much so that only about 20 percent of it stays in her working memory. When she actually begins working in her position as a teller, she must stop frequently to ask her supervisor questions and is a bit slow in helping customers. It’s going to be awhile before she is truly up to speed.

Now, what if her training continued over the first few weeks of her job. That’s possible with a chatbot. The bot could follow along with her as she works. It could recognize areas where she is struggling and offer her prompts and helpful tips so that she can be more productive. In the meantime, the bot can collect data and use that to learn more about Jill’s strengths and weaknesses. This can be used to inform her supervisor of areas where she needs more training, and to create customized refreshers just for her.

There is so much potential for chatbots to make significant changes in elearning. They can take over simple tasks, freeing teachers to better help students. They can be used to continue training even after courses have been completed. They can personalize learning experiences, and help students and teachers provide more thorough assessments. Look for chatbots to play a more significant role in elearning in the very near future.

One Response

  1. It’s 2018, time for chatbots
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