A VC perspective: personal assistants transforming the future of student experience


From embracing breakaways in the travel industry to taking e-commerce by storm, AI bots are promising massive revenue to most of the leading companies today. On one hand, science fiction labels ‘AI’ as robots embodied with human mindsets. However, the contradiction of this being way more than what the human mind can fathom can’t be simply overlooked. But what happens when one considers assimilating AI bots for learning enhancements?

Where the education sector is taking baby steps towards ‘change’, the introduction of bots has broken all such set norms for good. Advancements in machine learning, NLP (Natural Language Processing), and AI have ensured that the education sector, just as other sought-after markets, is able to get the most out of the day-to-day technological revolutions and upswings.

Chatbots for learning – a blend of all things a student must have

Siri to Apple, Alexa to Google Home – all have substantiated the need and benefits of voice-assistants/chatbots in the world of advancing technology. This ensures that the education sector rises in the same dawn with no apprehensions. But, knowing the perks of including the same is important to keep all the fears at distant. So, let’s take a look.

How can Artificial Intelligence contribute to the education sector

Learning support: Did you know, between 2011 and 2016, the total number of enrolled college students in the US descended every fall from 2011 to 2016, dropping to 19 million from 20.6 million? Now think, why? I believe the lack of guidance and support surely validates the failure in this case.

Whatever the case, AI bots are to the rescue. These bots come with promising tutoring services for each student and are able to provide sufficient resources and information at the pace which the students can easily adapt to. Unlike heftily priced tuition services available, chatbot services can be readily available to anyone with an internet connection, thus making it affordable enough for all. Not only this, many AI-based edtech companies and startups are striving towards making technologies and services like this easily accessible in all parts of the globe, ensuring help to millions of the students.

Support throughout student lifecycle: With the help of personal assistance, I am pretty sure students are going to benefit throughout their student lifecycle. With the burst of digitalization in every sector, students are starving for a better tech-enabled learning experience, which can help them answer a wide range of queries. Even queries related to administrative tasks like helping students with career opportunities, mentorship, enrolments, fee payments, etc. can be answered by bots, which track and analyze students’ data.

Advanced and better conversations: How did you feel when you recently heard of Google assistants with new human voices? Indeed a futuristic step towards making the conversations better and real, right?

Yes, bots can now analyze all past conversations and respond in a desired manner. I am sure you know that computers take up a wide range of complex actions, go through multiple commands, and scrolling of past conversations before delivering the answer at the user end. With the further inclusion of Machine Learning, I am pretty sure this is going to level up the accuracy in its responses.

Per Bill Gates, there are many online services where a human tutor provides educational services to students; however, with the introduction of chatbots, a chief area of investment for companies like Microsoft and Facebook will be to reach millions of students and making such robot-tutors hold the potential of being free. Interesting, right?

The bottom line

AI in education is all set to improve student experiences and ensure better learning possibilities. Moreover, AI for learning can help the educational institutions improve upon the analytical capabilities by providing them significant information about their students. Today, students are more than willing to provide their colleges/universities with the relevant personal data to have a digitally improved learning experience. With technological advancements and the way AI is being used in colleges/universities today, I can’t wait to see the way AI unfolds in the education sector, helping the development of young minds and our lives at large.

Anjli Jain is a Managing Partner at EVC Ventures, a $50-million Chicago-based Venture Capital fund.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


Updates from around the world