Technology has already reshaped education as we know it. The rise of chatbots and virtual assistants will only deepen this process. However, it is essential to understand the distinction between those two and how educators and students can use them.
Chatbots vs. Virtual Assistants
Often these terms are used interchangeably, although they mean different things. Underlying technology, functionality, communication channels, and user interfaces differ. Some of the most popular virtual assistants are Alexa, Siri, and Cortana. Chatbots are present on websites, mobile apps, or support portals.
For instance, if you require assistance in academic writing, you could request a virtual assistant to find evaluations and feedback regarding service providers who can “write my APA format paper for me“. Here, the system will gather data about top-tier academic writing platforms providing homework assistance for students. It’s an excellent method to meet university deadlines and tap into a wide range of expertise. Students facing difficulties with essays or other forms of papers may engage professional help to improve their grades or enhance their understanding of writing.
Collaboration with professionals is an excellent learning opportunity as well. Expert writers can help [ polish your paper or do it for you entirely.
But what about chatbots? Usually, they are less functional and more rule-regulated. They are designed for a specific number of tasks. And they can only do something they are developed for. For example, if you ask an eCommerce chatbot to find the best research paper writing services, it won’t help you. It might assist you in buying a smartwatch, though.
Here are the main differences between chatbots and virtual assistants:
- Chatbots are usually text-based and can answer a specific range of inquiries;
- VA can use voice and face recognition;
- VA uses natural language processing and natural language understanding. Such algorithms analyze the context and are ready for changes in language use. Chatbots are usually not (except for AI-based ones like ChatGPT);
- Chatbots are primarily used for automatic shopping or customer services. They are limited to several functions. VAs are much more versatile and flexible. They can do almost anything, from scheduling to smart house management;
- VAs use machine learning and AI for advanced functionality.
Some solutions combine features of both, for example, ChatGPT. Also, it is a text-based bot that uses AI and NLP. It can answer all types of inquiries and is not limited to predetermined answers.
Chatbots in Education
Chatbots, virtual assistants, and everything in between are used in education. On the one hand, they make educators’ lives easier. On the other one, they offer a lot of benefits to learners.
Technology can handle the vast majority of customer service requests. It applies to educational websites and institutions. They can answer popular questions and help people navigate websites. They can also automate many processes that otherwise would be done by humans. It frees valuable human resources.
Also, such algorithms can be used for classroom management. Some are designed to help teachers and professors. Others maintain comfortable conditions in terms of safety, lighting, or heating. Smart classrooms also take routine responsibilities from educators’ shoulders and provide the best experience to learners.
Such algorithms can test students or serve as learning assistants. They can adjust to students’ level of skills and find specific weak points to address. Another great advantage is that they can check tests fast and efficiently. However, they are perfect only for tests and exams where there are set correct answers to choose from.
So far, there is no advanced algorithm to check an essay, for example, and rate it according to all its intricacies.
Virtual assistants are fantastic at handling scheduling and time management. Some of the bots can also help students with that. For example, they can manage your calendar and set reminders on important deadlines. Also, they can find the best routes to get somewhere or the information you need to choose a service provided. Students might use such technology to find the best dissertation writing services or the best Math tutors in the area.
All of that leads to better planning and organization. While technology takes care of routine tasks, students get to focus on crucial responsibilities.
One of the best parts of chatbots is that they are always available. For instance, if you need someone to summarize a long article, you can head to ChatGPT anytime. This particular solution is fantastic at streamlining educational processes. It can explain complex concepts, prepare test questions, or summarize tremendous piles of information.
And the best part is that ChatGPT can also act as a virtual assistant. It has no internet access, so it cannot schedule your tasks. But it can suggest a fitness or meal plan based on specific requirements (vegan, budget-friendly, or under 15 minutes). It can also create notes on articles or books and essay outlines.
Chatbots and virtual assistants automate routine tasks, making education more accessible and comfortable. When used by educators, they endorse personalized learning and custom curriculum. They offer better time management, customer experience, and easier studying when used by students. And solutions like ChatGPT combine features of both, which makes them very useful for learners.