Artificial intelligence is getting a little smarter every day. Digital learning continues its expansion at all levels of education. Bots are designed to make our lives easier, more informative, and more interesting. Their machine learning capabilities make them a promising technology in education. The knowledge base of chatbots will only grow, and the bots themselves will be able to learn along with students.
With the abundance of existing online services in the e-learning segment, chatbots can guide each student individually, according to their level and chosen pace of learning. It makes learning accessible to almost anyone with access to Wi-Fi. Compared to traditional learning, chatbots do not require significant resource costs, and can potentially help millions of students around the world.
Robots won’t be able to replace humans in the classroom anytime soon, but they can already take over some of their workloads. Subject tests and essays take up a significant amount of teacher time to review. This is especially evident in massive open online courses, where there are hundreds and thousands of students, which makes individual feedback almost inaccessible. “Chatbots are the perfect solution to this problem” admits Luis Grillo, Head of Communications at Essay Tigers.
The prospects for using chatbots at all levels of education are almost limitless. Interaction with messengers already dominates modern students over communication in social networks, and it’s only a matter of time before they will study under the guidance of bots in WhatsApp or receive detailed feedback on completed coursework via Telegram.
Some universities are already experimenting with chatbots in their virtual lecture halls. Georgia Institute of Technology has successfully introduced a chatbot named Jill Watson as a lecturer. Jill, named after the famous IBM Watson, helped more than 300 students in the artificial intelligence Ph.D. program while testing the system. After a successful debut, Jill Watson helps students at various campuses around the world.
Chatbots are not only changing the field of learning but other areas as well. Nevertheless, the greatest success they have achieved in learning. For example, chatbots for language training are in high demand because students can learn languages at any time and they don’t need teachers.
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One of the fields of education where chatbots may soon occupy a serious niche is language learning. Many foreign universities are now actively using chatbots that answer students’ questions and help take the load off teachers and engage students in their studies.
In the popular Duolingo app, anyone can chat with a robot: as you know, language learns faster through conversation. The creators have developed several characters for “live” conversations in a foreign language so that students can practice their vocabulary and check the correctness of grammatical structures. For more interesting conversations, the company has tried to give robots individual features. For example, students can chat with Chief Robert, Driver Renee, and Officer Ada, who differently answer questions and correct grammatical errors.
Compared to traditional language-learning software, chatbots are much more flexible and adaptable. They react differently depending on the response the user gives, considering different options as in real conversations. They can answer questions in different ways, and even “make the first move” if the student is stumped in the conversation.
In 2017, the Edwin bot came to light, with which anyone can chat on Facebook and learn new words. At the beginning of the conversation, the bot prompts you to choose a level, topic, and language of communication. The creators of the service hope that artificial intelligence technology will help users to fill up their vocabulary, and teachers’ time will be free for more complex tasks.
TeflBot is a robot that sends funny illustrations of quite popular English-language idioms every day. Thanks to the game form of presentation, it is ideal for anyone who wants to enrich their vocabulary.
japandictbot helps when the student needs to find at least a few common themes in a conversation with a Japanese person (it will translate any word or phrase), and will also be useful for anyone studying Japanese: the bot provides not only translation with transcription but also spelling in hieroglyphs. The Japanese who tested this bot agree that it has nothing to complain about: the program works just like a real Japanese teacher, the only difference being that it won’t scold you for a misspelled character or inappropriately pronounced word.
So, how chatbots can be used for student`s learning skills analysis?
- Choice of one correct answer
Mechanics: the teacher selects one right option. The student is given one question and several options. He or she can choose only one option. Chatbot immediately answers right or wrong. Students can not change the choice of the answer.
- Choice of two or more correct answers
Mechanics: the teacher selects two or more right options. The student is given a single question with a lot of options and he or she can choose several of them. The chatbot immediately answers right or wrong. Students can not change the choice of the answer.
- Arranging answers in ascending or descending order
Mechanics: the student is prompted to arrange the answers in a certain order by clicking on/sending a message with a number. At the bottom of the message is shown the order in which the student pressed the buttons. If the order is correct, the student gets a certain score. It is impossible to change the answer choice.
- Choice of one correct photo
Mechanics: students can move photos forward and backward, pressing the select button and marking the selected option. The chatbot determines whether the choice is correct and accrues points.
Chatbots are in the early stages of development and still require substantial human support. However, the prospects for their use at all levels of education are virtually limitless. It is only a matter of time before students will study under the guidance of tutor bots in WhatsApp or receive detailed feedback on completed coursework via Telegram.