Do not confine your children to your own way of learning, for they were born in another time.

Chinese Proverb

The world is changing at the fastest pace ever. And so is education. Before the Coronavirus happened, every year nearly 250 million students were attending formal college education. However, changing circumstances are forcing the entire industry to evolve.

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Madhav is an analyst working with a major private bank in Delhi. He had to visit his boss to discuss the rising NPAs in his portfolio of business clients. Madhav was worried that his boss will not like it when he discovers that Madhav has become a loss-making entity for the organization. To Madhav’s surprise, his boss was not angry at all. In fact the boss himself was going through a similar phase and so is the entire workforce during the coronavirus crisis. Boss shared with Madhav some online courses he has been pursuing for some time.

Before departing the boss said, “Madhav, you had been a sincere member of my team, I always liked your work. We are going through a tough time, only those who invest in learning will come out strong once the recession is over. You must attend the live class on Advanced Analytics which I myself am attending. Only some sessions I am missing out because there was no one to remind me. If you also join, we can remind each other on WhatsApp. Yesterday, I had suggested the instructor send a WhatsApp alert to all the participants, don’t know what is stopping them.”

Online education is all set to replace the conventional education system. All leading stakeholders in the education industry are in agreement that online learning has some serious prospects in the new world. eLearning is convenient, the quality of education is better, and it is dirt cheap. If I were to list down the advantages of online learning, it would be an entire article altogether. But, we are here to address the application of Chatbots in eLearning, so let’s dive right into it.

Why Chatbot & Why WhatsApp?

Why Chatbot?

Online education is about convenience. For a long time, major eLearning platforms relied upon video lectures as a mode of convenience only to realize it was not enough. Online exams, quizzes, and assignments were embedded in the offering, yet it was not enough. They gave the option to learn the same concept from different instructors, yet it was not enough. Then came the concept of Live Classes, which enhanced the engagements multifold. Clearly, it was not enough. There is no denial of the fact that, online education will keep on transforming with time. It’s just that, this time the transformation is happening in the areas of Chatbots.

A professor named Ashok Goel built an AI bot that answers students’ questions on an online forum and provides technical information about courses and lectures. Another interesting platform called Summit Learning has built a chatbot that interacts with students to find the areas where a student is excelling or falling behind. Using that data, the bot also creates personalized or tailor-made learning programs for each student.

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The above mentioned are just some instances of how chatbot can be used in education, here I am compiling a comprehensive list of things you can achieve with education bots:

  1. Answering FAQs by students and parents
  2. Answering questions on forums
  3. Learning interest areas of a student
  4. Assessing the strength & weakness of students
  5. Interactive Quizzes and Exams
  6. Reminding students about upcoming Live classes, Tests, Assignments
  7. Improvement suggestions to the student
  8. Progress report to the parents
  9. Suggesting best tutors, books, content on a particular topic
  10. Plagiarism check on assignments
  11. Suggesting citations from different research papers
  12. Personalizing the curriculum
  13. Self-pacing the learning curve
  14. Insights for the instructor in developing better content
  15. Conversational payments
  16. Content gap analysis
  17. Spaced repetition of lessons
  18. Trainer feedback
  19. Gamification of the learning experience
  20. Evaluating assignments, tests, and quizzes

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Why WhatsApp?

Well, WhatsApp is the most used messaging app in the world. Countries like India and the United Kingdom where e-Learning is on a boom, WhatsApp is also well penetrated.

Percentages of Smartphones installed with WhatsApp

The WhatsApp adoption in India is more than 80% among all internet users. There are 400 million active users of WhatsApp, it is safe to assume that almost every smartphone in India has WhatsApp.

The penetration rate is not the only factor, WhatsApp is a part of the day to day activities for people. This is the medium where you have the maximum chance of getting your end user’s attention, not email, not SMS, and certainly not phone calls.

WhatsApp is a trusted place for people because spammers cannot get inside WhatsApp nor do they show advertisements. In fact, WhatsApp doesn’t collect any sort of usage-information from users since the messages are end-to-end encrypted.

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During a survey of 100 WhatsApp users, we found that each student is part of 3 WhatsApp groups on average. They even interact with their teachers on WhatsApp regularly. This clearly shows how popular WhatsApp has become in the students’ community. Did you know, every message you send on WhatsApp has a 98% chance of being read and a 40% chance of being replied. There is no other channel of communication that comes even close to WhatsApp.

Open Rate of WhatsApp

Looking at all these reasons I would say, WhatsApp is the right channel to have quality interactions with students. If you are from the education industry, I am sure you would have noticed students sharing notes, video lectures, and other info on WhatsApp. I think it’s time you realize that WhatsApp is the next big thing in the education industry.

Combining both WhatsApp and Chatbot will take the student experience to the next level. If your eLearning platform or educational institution can implement WhatsApp Chatbot successfully, it will be a massive edge over your competitors.

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How to build WhatsApp Chatbot for eLearning?

Onboarding your eLearning platform on WhatsApp is a 3 phase work

  1. Getting access to WhatsApp Business API
  2. Building Chat-Flows and Integrations
  3. Maintenance & Improvement with Students’ Feedback

1. Getting access to WhatsApp Business API

There are multiple steps one has to follow for gaining access to the WhatsApp Business API. Submit an application on Facebook’s official page or through one of the 61 partners of  WhatsApp. Or you can simply signup on the Morph.ai platform and follow the steps.

2. Building Chat-Flows and Integrations

After WhatsApp API is active (which takes between 1 week to 1 month), you must integrate it with your existing IT infrastructures such as the Student Information System, CRM, and Support Desk. Also, simultaneously you must build the desired chat flow using a visual builder or just plain coding. Designing the bot is not just a technical workflow, considerable efforts must go into ensuring the best user experience. The product and marketing team must work together while designing the chat flows. Finally, test the bot and make it live.

3. Maintenance & Improvement with Students’ Feedback

After the bot and the flow has been designed, a dedicated maintenance team must be created which will be responsible for future improvements. Or you can simply assign the Product team to maintain the WhatsApp bot. Constant feedback should be collected from students and the implementation must happen without delay.

A demonstration of a live WhatsApp bot for a dummy education platform is depicted below. I am sure the bot you will build will have far greater functionality compared to this dummy education bot.

eLearning platforms using WhatsApp & Chatbots

In this section, we will not only explore the eLearning companies who have adopted WhatsApp Business, but also some of the players who have designed some beautiful chatbots.

1. Admit Kard

Try Admit Kard’s WhatsApp Bot

Admit Kard is a Study Abroad solution provider for Indian students. It takes care of the end-to-end process involved. A critical part of student onboarding and counseling process happens on WhatsApp where mentors escort students at each step – starting from the application stage, the mentor is always in touch with the students through WhatsApp, answering queries, suggesting the next steps; to migration from home country to abroad.

2. Leverage Edu

What started as a mentorship program for higher education, today LE is guiding students on choosing the right university. As claimed by LE, the platform has 1600 mentors proving personalized supervision to thousands of students.

Try Leverage Edu’s WhatsApp Bot

3. Vedantu

Vedantu is an India born live tutoring platform for school students, starting from class 6 to class 12. It features an interactive bot on its website that not only collects leads but also understands the queries by users and gives them suitable instructions.

Try Vedantu’s Website Bot

4. Classplus

Classplus is an educational institute management system that helps coaching centers, schools, colleges, universities, and tutors to launch the digital infrastructure required for online learning. A big enabler of online education, the classplus app relies on conversational bots to generate leads and provide customer support. Classplus also uses WhatsApp as a crucial channel for client communication.

Try Classplus’s website bot

Education bot building strategy

Now that you are equipped with the technical know-how for building WhatsApp bot, you are one step ahead of your competitors. The next logical step is to have a solid strategy before you start working on your first chatbot. You must take note of the best practices we have mentioned below and include them in your E-Learning bot strategy.

  1. Create omnichannel bots: Focus on giving the same experience to users through all chatbot channels, be it Website, FB Messenger or WhatsApp. The bot should interact the same way across channels.
  2. Easy triggers: Triggering the bot should be as easy as saying, ‘Ok Google’. Place the bot at every possible touchpoint such as Website, Social media handles, Mobile app, Live lectures, Tests, even inside the Classrooms.
  3. The bot must remember past interactions and bring the context into every chat. It shouldn’t ask the student to enter ‘name’ and ’email’ every time a chat is initiated.
  4. Make it funny: To make it a successful venture, you must add the fun element to your eLearning chatbot. Students should find something to laugh about every time they interact with the bot. It will make them come back for some more fun.
  5. Collect feedback: Design the bot to collect feedback for each engagement, be it live class, assignments, tests, etc. This will help you fine-tune your offerings.
  6. AI assistant: Connect your chatbot with an AI engine(e.g. Dialogflow, IBM Watson) to answer unstructured queries.
  7. Score students on interactions: Assign scores to the relevant interactions and evaluate which lead has the highest chance to convert. Also, this scoring can help you prioritize the highest paying customers.
  8. Support Agents: Live chat is an integral part of any Chatbot. Customer support agents should always be online to help students with queries that cannot be handled by bots.
  9. Imparting value: The WhatsApp bot initiative should have only one end-goal, that is delivering value to students. It is typical for us to forget the word ‘customer value’ during our consistent endeavor toward revenue and profit.

Key Takeaways

Both WhatsApp and Chatbots are about to storm the online education industry. Due to global events like the Coronavirus pandemic, eLearning is growing at a faster pace than ever before. It is for you to decide how you will bring convenience to your students.

About Morph.ai

Morph.ai is a self-serve platform where enterprises can build WhatsApp chatbots without getting into technical complexities. It is one of its kind and state of art. Morph’s vision is to onboard all enterprises on WhatsApp so that consumers are benefited from Convenience, Automation & Effectiveness. Sign up to try our platform for free. We would love to hear your feedback or you can simply send us an unboxing video just like this.