Using chatbots in learning

Using a text-based or voice-based conversational interface to communicate with the user, chatbots can answer and ask questions, guide learners and assist in problem solving. This means that, when a teacher is not available or cannot help, learners are still able to make some progress. Increasingly, chatbots use artificial intelligence techniques to understand human languages, voices, body language and behaviours, and to make sense of patterns in languages or behaviours. Chatbots bring new opportunities, such as immediate problem diagnosis and interventions. They can provide learners with support tailored to their needs — for example, constructing an immersive learning environment, analysing requirements, and initiating supportive conversation. Studies suggest that learners might express themselves more freely as they are not interacting with humans who might judge them. Chatbots have brought opportunities when tackling the contradiction between large-scale and high-quality in learning. They enable greater personalisation by collecting data from dialogues and learners’ behaviours to provide support that is specifically tailored to each learner’s requirements, which might also help reduce educators’ workloads. However, chatbots may not meet learners’ expectations if learners are not tolerant of their shortcomings, such as a limited capacity to handle misunderstandings and breakdowns in a conversation. Ethical issues such as who owns and has access to conversations between chatbots and humans also need to be addressed.

Home page