The use of AI ‘chatbots’ in FE to facilitate students learning and support process by making it more engaging and providing a faster response

How effective are ‘chatbots’ when used in order to improve FE student engagement and how easy are they to implement? Project led by Tony Warner.

About the project

What is the project about?

How effective are ‘chatbots’ when used in order to improve FE student engagement and how easy are they to implement?

What is the benefit to students?

Traditionally chatbots are used in commercial companies for the following reasons:

  1. Saves money – if a chatbot can answer customers common questions then staff can be freed up to work on other tasks
  2. Increased customer satisfaction – chatbots can answer and respond to a customer immediately without them having to wait on a phone


These benefits will also apply in an educational setting:

  1. Saves time for the teacher – chatbots could free up teacher time from answering simple and repetitive questions – for example: ‘I’ve lost my timetable’.
  2. Increased student satisfaction – chatbots will be able to respond to students queries immediately, giving them instant support.
  3. Guiding – chatbots should be able to guide students through a task or assessment. For example, in a survey the chatbot could explain questions if they are not fully understood. This will make things easier for the student and improve the validity of the data gathered.
  4. Increased engagement – using a chatbot makes it possible to personalise services to individual students and will therefore facilitate greater interaction.
  5. by using a chatbot to make services more engaging, students will increase their participation.


It is suggested that chatbot services could be rolled out across entire student communities, particularly regarding support services initially.

How will the impact of the project be measured?

  1. Targeted small student surveys
  2. Student participation and engagement with a demonstrator chatbot service
  3. Peer review

What will the outcome be?

  1. An evaluation of current chatbot platforms with a chatbot implementation matrix identifying requirements of each
  2. A demonstrator chatbot service built on a Google infrastructure
  3. An evaluation of the applicability of chatbots for various student focussed services – for example a student self-help service
  4. A student chatbot assisted survey service which will demonstrate how a chatbot can improve the quality of the survey responses by making it more engaging

Research findings

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