AI Chatbots enhancing learning

Beauty Therapy tutor Rochelle Flight and Education Technology Advisor Angela Cuff.

Technology is rapidly transforming education and at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, ākonga and kaimahi are embracing chatbots to enhance learning and streamline interactions.

Certificate in Beauty Therapy tutor Rochelle Flight was introduced to the idea of integrating AI chatbots by her colleagues in the Whanake Ake Academic Development team.

The chatbot has since become a staple in her classroom, primarily aiding students with revision and note-taking.

Added to the Google Classroom platform, the chatbot is accessible to students anytime, handling tasks such as providing additional information on topics, creating quick quizzes for test preparation, and rewording content into more understandable formats.

This integration has significantly reduced Rochelle's workload outside class hours, as students can get their questions answered 24/7 without waiting for her availability.

Rochelle says the response from her students has been overwhelmingly positive. 

"They were quite excited about the instant, individualised answers on their phones or computers," she says.

This immediate feedback and interactive revision has led to better knowledge retention and engagement.

Rochelle says that the chatbot allows her to focus more on other teaching aspects, as students often feel more comfortable asking the chatbot questions than doing so in class. 

Support for using the chatbot has been robust, with Toi Ohomai Education Technology Advisor Angela Cuff providing initial tutorials and ongoing assistance.

Each unique chatbot accesses content that the Kaiako curates within the Cogniti.ai application, a design led by Professor Danny Liu and hosted by the University of Sydney.

Looking ahead, Rochelle hopes for the continued integration of chatbots into teaching. 

“I hope they become a regular integration into our teaching.  We found the chatbot very user friendly, very helpful and beneficial to our learning.”

Tobi Gumba. Photo: Supplied.

Postgraduate ākonga Tobi Gumba also had access to a customised chatbot during his course and says he found it to be an invaluable tool. 

Throughout the development of his Mentoring Framework, Tobi used the chatbot frequently—he primarily sought feedback on his work, getting positive and constructive critiques.

Tobi describes the chatbot as user-friendly, albeit not perfect. 

Tobi also received feedback from his professional colleague, ensuring his assessments were comprehensive.

Tobi says being able to use the chatbot has significantly enhanced his understanding of course materials and boosted his confidence in seeking feedback. 

"An AI doesn’t have emotions, which some people find intimidating in human interactions," he says.

 

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