As Covid-19 changed the landscape of online learning forever, Conversational AI has been nothing short of wild success and it’s only expanding.
Artificial intelligence, needless to say, has become an inseparable part of our lives and especially of most entrepreneurs brainstorming sessions. It is and will be transforming our lives in ways still quite out of our mental grasp. One sector in that AI has truly been changing for the better, is the usage of conversational AI in education. Especially during this pandemic, conversational AI in this sector has practically boomed, as education worldwide has been forced to go entirely virtual.
How does Conversational AI function?
Even if conversational AI is at its cradle of growth, its feats have been quite impressive. Most conversational AI is in the form of chatbots and virtual assistants. With a unique combination of Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Learning Processing (NLP), conversational AI is made functional within four steps.
When an input is generated, either in text or verbal form, it is analyzed by AI using Natural Language Understanding (NLU) which helps it to interpret the meaning and intention behind the input. After this, the appropriate and specific response is generated during Natural Language Generation (NLG). However, the process doesn’t end here. With the help of a Machine Learning algorithm, the AI continually builds a vast reserve of data, for later analysis and pattern extraction to improve its features of predictability accuracy.
Thus, making conversational AI rapidly innovative and at the forefront of improvement.
The wonders of Conversational AI couldn’t be more pronounced than it is in the education sector. Through many forms of services, conversational AI has made online learning far more efficacious and accessible than ever.
Shawn Young, CEO and Co-founder of Classcraft, details the ways in which AI is creating a revolution in the Education sector, with this interview to AITJ.
Top 3 uses uses of Conversational AI in Education
Firstly, the use of chatbots has especially been utilized by universities and programs to keep students up-to-date with course-related information in real-time. Students can access exact information regarding their course, faculty, scholarship, and opportunities without any delay, which fosters an environment of assistance for students without the universities having to expend a hefty sum to man these communication channels. The bot, Jill Watson, by George Institute of Technology made by IBM’s Watson, was deemed an excellent TA who successfully continues to respond to queries by students with near perfection in real-time.
Virtual Teaching Assistants (TA)
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, virtual one-on-one Learning with conversational AI is acting as a catalyst for students to improve at their own pace and specification. The AI analyses the student’s strengths and weaknesses track progress via quizzes and micro-learning techniques and create a data set that gives the students real-time feedback on their work and recommends resources to aid their studies. Not only this but conversational AI Teaching Assistants (TA) also help to check the work of students and make study plans to aid teachers so that they can spend more time with students.
Also, Conversational AI can prove to be a mega success in remote areas where access to education is still quite limited, as few teachers want to get posted there or due to lack of infrastructure.
Conversational AI glitches
With this multitude of advantages of conversational AI, there are still some issues with it that we should be wary of.
There have been some epic failures by AI chatbots which have made it a favorite meme content for people. For instance, when Microsoft bot Zo accidentally called Quran violent, or when Tencent suspended the bot BabyQ on accounts of unpatriotic content.
More on this can be found here: Conversational AI archives
Constraints of AI
Although, it should be noted that conversational AI still has a long way to go before it can be a competition for actual human teachers. Unlike most jobs, teaching is an exceptionally delicate task that requires teachers to create empathetic connections with students so that they can learn and grow in a nurturing environment. AI is still essentially an application and hasn’t been great at mimicking the human emotions required to deal with impressionable children.
Conversational AI is still not developed enough to interact with students with disabilities as it requires added levels of sensitivity and situational tactics.
To say the least, Conversational AI is ahead of its game but it will still require a lot of development and most importantly acceptance by students and educators for it to become a full-fledged omnipresent educational tool.