Chatbots and their impact on Digital Learning

There are various devoted digital assistants such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, which enables us to effortlessly plan our meetings and dinner dates, and with the large monetary investments in these types of machine learning, the rise of robots and artificial intelligence are most definitely changing our world.

What are Chatbots?

A chatbot is a computer programme designed to simulate conversation with human users over the internet or through a messenger tool such as Facebook Messenger or Slack. Chatbots operate according to a set of predefined rules or using machine learning and are based on artificial intelligence.

The following are 4 ways in which chatbots are impacting the digital learning environment:


1. Personalised Learning

Chatbots can play the role of a virtual personal facilitator or coach. Chatbots are flexible and have the ability to adapt to specific needs and requirements of students. They could provide instantaneous answers to questions, guide learners through content and reinforce content. Learners can have human-like conversations with their chatbot which will also result in a decreased feeling of loneliness and increased engagement.

2. Reinforcement

Chatbots reinforce learning experiences by providing relevant information at certain intervals in response to various triggers. The chatbot’s logic can recognise questions and provide feedback for continuous development and just-in-time troubleshooting.

3. Reduce Cognitive Loads

Chatbots can be used as a reference system, whereby they help reduce cognitive loads by providing content according to context rather than memory-dependent information dumps.

4. Simulations and Practice

Chatbots can be used for simulations or to practice for quizzes and real-life scenarios. A chatbot could play out the role of a customer or employee and can be used for call-centre training or soft-skill training.


The full impact of chatbots in learning and development is yet to be discovered. However, this trend is growing quickly and more and more benefits and uses are perpetually being identified. With ever-evolving demands, chatbots can improve learning efficiencies, environments and experiences.


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