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How to Enhance Education with AI-Driven Virtual Teaching Assistants

by | Apr 14, 2021

Even before the pandemic, teachers had to deal with a formidable workload. When remote learning became the new normal for the entire world, the workload increased substantially. Without the possibility of offline interactions, various problems students face became even more acute.

Virtual teaching may have solved numerous issues that had to do with social distancing, commute, and course availability. However, personalization problems escalated, affecting university dropout rates in the process.

That’s where virtual teaching assistants came in. They have a high potential to ease the teacher’s workload while improving student satisfaction and lowering dropout rates.

What are AI-driven virtual teaching assistants?

An AI-powered virtual teaching assistant is a program designed to improve a student’s learning experience. Many online college courses require students to learn something by themselves. However, when the amount of self-learning exceeds the time spent with a teacher, results are less than satisfactory.

Unfortunately, teachers and professors simply don’t have sufficient time to create a highly personalized experience for each student. As a result, students spend more and more time trying to learn without assistance. This generates a huge variety of questions and eventually leads to poor skills and performance.

AI-driven virtual teaching assistants are designed specifically to take some load off the faculty’s shoulders. With machine learning capabilities, these programs don’t just provide answers to common questions, they can analyze the learning process and make suggestions to optimize the approach to education.

Enhancing education with AI-driven virtual teaching assistants.

In an ideal universe, each student should have a virtual teaching assistant. A survey conducted in spring 2020 showed that prior to moving online, 87% of students were satisfied with the courses they were taking. After moving online, the number declined to 59%. The key reasons for dissatisfaction include:

1. Adaptation issues.

An online classroom is a new environment for students. It requires an adaptation process, the length of which depends on each student’s personal traits. During adaptation, students have a variety of questions, which professors don’t always have an opportunity to answer.

An AI-powered chatbot with access to the school’s knowledge base can answer numerous questions during the adaptation time, thus making it easier for students. Besides finding answers, AI-powered virtual assistants can make suggestions on time management and course personalization while explaining the benefits of online education.

2. Wrong expectations.

Many students expect online courses to be easier than their offline counterparts. They hope that online learning can help them set their own learning pace. In reality, the workload can increase, making the student confused and pressed for time.

An AI-driven virtual teaching assistant can provide students sufficient information about the course, its format, and difficulty. Based on a student’s previous learning experience, AI-powered programs can also suggest the right courses for their learning pace.

The program can explain how much time a student should set aside to succeed in a particular course. All this information can help set the right expectations while improving the learning experience.

3. Time management problems.

Lack of time is one of the most common reasons why students are dissatisfied with online learning. They expect to spend less time studying while in reality, they spend more. The problem lies in poor time management.

A virtual teaching assistant can solve time management problems. By setting up a regular schedule planner with reminders for courses and assignments, it can help students stay on track and improve their time management skills.

4. Motivation issues.

When stuck in an online environment, many students lose motivation. This is especially common when they have a poor understanding of their online course schedule or the time a particular course takes. Students tend to feel a lack of control over the learning process while suffering from isolation.

An AI-powered virtual teaching assistant can solve a variety of motivation issues by providing the right information at the right time.

For example, many students feel uncomfortable asking questions during a real-time video conference session. They feel much better typing the question when they aren’t distracted or intimidated by other course participants.

A virtual teaching assistant can help students find answers to such questions, thus improving their learning experience and boosting motivation.

5. Poor student support.

When a student encounters a problem, the first instinct is to ask for the teacher’s assistance. However, be it an offline or online classroom, one teacher simply doesn’t have sufficient time to talk to each student.

As a result, students don’t get the required support and feel isolated. Such students tend to give up when things become complicated.

An AI-driver virtual teaching assistant can offer support to students 24/7. With high-quality apps, students can literally carry the assistant in their pocket, thus getting answers to their questions at any time and from anywhere.

Instant support is one of the pillars of student success. Meanwhile, interacting with a program often makes it easier for students to ask the so-called “stupid” questions, which they would otherwise try to avoid. Getting answers to these questions can help students enjoy the education process.

What about offline learning?

Even though the pandemic isn’t over yet, many universities are reopening their classrooms for partial in-person learning. In 2022, the majority of higher education institutions plan to return to the offline format.

When that happens, would AI-powered virtual teaching assistants still be in demand? The core benefits of these programs are valid for offline learning. Students would still need answers to a variety of questions and assistance with homework, course choice, motivation, personalized learning pathways, and more. At the same time, faculty will still be pressed for time and need automation solutions.

While many students will be returning to the classroom, online education will still be available, thus making virtual teaching assistance a must-have.

Implementing AI-driven virtual teaching assistants with Capacity.

The benefits of high-quality AI-powered teaching solutions are hard to ignore. Besides improving the learning experience for students and taking a load off the faculty, these teaching assistants are the next step toward effective education personalization.