The educational sector was one of the ones most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. As soon as the pandemic was declared, students of all ages stopped going to class. Schools and universities around the world were shut down and are still closed today.
But something's happening that just a decade ago was inconceivable. For many countries, it’s the first time in history that students can keep taking lessons online through e-learning platforms.
While millennials and Gen Z were already demanding a change in teaching methods, there weren't a lot of institutions that had the digital infrastructure ready to deal with a worldwide quarantine.
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But COVID-19 accelerated those changes already in play. Recently considered “the education of the future,” it's now a reality that many educational institutions had to adapt to, so classes could continue and they didn't lose the year.
And while there’s a way to go in creating equal opportunities for everyone, this initiative is key for supporting students during the pandemic.
Challenges in Education during COVID-19
In these circumstances, technology has become the perfect ally for both teachers and students. Below we outline some of the challenges currently faced by the education sector, and how AI and virtual assistance help overcome them.
The first challenge institutions have is students being able to access information at home. So cloud-based platforms such as Google Classroom, Google Drive, or virtual classrooms have become the best solutions for easy content upload and download.
For all that, not having direct contact with teachers can be an issue in understanding concepts. It’s also hard for teachers to address every student issue asynchronously and out of context, especially when each student is going through the content at their own pace.
Automation solutions can help answer questions automatically based on students’ academic history and personal details, so learning is more efficient.
Access to information
Besides helping students with theoretical concepts, virtual assistants can also access all kinds of administrative information instantly.
A lot of people are making the most of their spare time in quarantine by taking courses or improving their skills. Because of this, many institutions are overwhelmed by the volume of inquiries.
Many of them have added a chatbot that handles most questions related to the admissions process and other administrative issues in order to deal with the high demand, and service agents are freed up to address complex cases only.
Conversational bots can answer inquiries related to the following:
- Admissions process
- Courses and specializations
- Fees and payment information
- Financial assistance and benefits
You could argue this information is also available through other contact channels, but in reality, people don't always have time to dig through it all.
Related article: How Universities are Using Chatbots to Enhance the Education System
The coronavirus crisis creates a feeling of urgency and the need for immediacy. To adapt to this, educational institutions have to answer quickly, especially for questions that don’t need human intervention.
There are two major advantages offered by AI and chatbots. First, they answer FAQs automatically and immediately. Second, if your inquiry is too complex to be answered virtually, the conversation can be quickly transferred to a human agent able to access the platform through the cloud. This will let administrative staff and teachers work from home and comply with the quarantine.
For example, Universidad Siglo21 uses the Aivo chatbot as a self-service assistant for students. The chatbot instantly answers all different questions related to the registration process, subjects, courses, payments, and more.
Grades and tests
Teachers, like workers in other sectors and professions, are overwhelmed in their personal and professional lives. But technology can help them speed up processes and automate any repetitive tasks.
This includes grading, which takes so much effort and is time-consuming.
AI can be an excellent partner for this, since it analyzes objective questions and grades tests much faster than a human being.
This gives more time for teachers to evaluate subjective answers like writing and creative assignments. In fact, 81% of college students from the USA believe that these technologies help them improve their grades.
Personalized academic experience
While millennials and Gen Z are digital natives and online learning is no big deal for them, the educational experience needs to be personalized.
The challenge is not just to migrate teaching to digital platforms, but also to keep the learning experience as consistent, empathetic, and personalized as possible, as a teacher would in the classroom.
While human contact is out of the question right now, AI makes the whole learning experience personalized, adapting it to each student's needs and pace.
AI platforms store student records, abilities and difficulties, and can even send emails or reminders with specific tasks based on their performance.
Count on Aivo
Academic institutions are going through something that will set the basis for transformation in education worldwide. From one month to another, they’ve had to adapt teaching methods, change the curricula, and ensure the continuity of lessons in a paralyzed society.
There are so many technological options for education, especially AI and conversational chatbots. If you'd like to know more about how they can help your business, don't hesitate to schedule a call with one of our representatives.