Users' Needs Assessment for Chatbots’ Use in Higher Education

Written by:
Olia Tsivitanidou

Higher education comprises an important field for the application of chatbots, especially for large-scale use. This paper reports on a needs assessment that was conducted with higher education users (i.e., educators and students) for examining their needs and expectations on chatbots’ integration in educational settings. The study was conducted in the context of a research project that includes a series of iterative pilot studies of the use of chatbots in higher education. We report on findings from one of the pilots based on data from semi-structured online interviews with higher-education students and educators. A thematic analysis of the interview data resulted in different themes of needs that users have in education. The outcomes of this study indicate that higher education users need technological solutions that can support content delivery, formative assessment implementation with the provision of qualitative feedback, research tasks processing and social bonding facilitation. Those findings, along with interviewees’ suggestions on functionalities and features that chatbots should have, provide guidelines and recommendations for the design, development, and implementation of different scenarios of the use of chatbots in higher education.

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