This Ed-Tech Portal is the first in India to use Chatbots, and these machines are doing a better job at teaching than Teachers and Tutors

In a new interview, Microsoft co-founder and richest man in the world Bill Gates explained the potential for chat-bots in education. Gates lauded the potential for what he calls "dialogue richness," where a chat-bot can really hold a conversation with a student, essentially making it into a tutor that can walk them through even the toughest, most subjective topics.

One of the Indian companies seems to have put this into use and that is PaGaLGuY. Prepathon, a test preparation app by PaGaLGuY, is the first bot in education and has taken early lead in the future-changing zone of BOTS. This bot gives progress report like a teacher, makes study plans like a tutor, provides revision practice like a coach and motivates like a mentor.

Business Insider got chatting with the founder Allwin Agnel to understand how this interesting thing works, and what are his future plans with Bots:

1. When did you first decide to have a bot? - We first thought of bots last year when we saw the amount of repetitive work our coaches had to do. We felt we could automate the responses in order to reduce some of this work load. This included answering some very basic questions and also messaging the users asking them to study the topic of the day, to motivate them and so on.

2. When was the first bot launched? - The first bot was launched last year in the month of December - it was the "topic of the day" bot. The bot had to message users in every course the topic they had to complete for the day and if they didn't complete it - the bots would send reminders to the students.

3. What are the other bots you have? A brief description of each… -We are planning to launch 4 more bots by the end of next month and will go on adding 1 new bot each subsequent month.

We have launched 'Feedback' recently: Lets the user know about his/her performance on Prepathon, taking into account how much time they have spent answering questions, how many questions were answered correctly and the assessment of one’s performance w.r.t everyone else. We will launch 'Announcement': Makes sure one gets all important updates such as exam deadlines, new course material etc. from the course creators. Then would be 'Revision': Automatic provision of suggestions on the topics the user needs to revise. This is based on a spaced-repetition algorithm, to ensure that the candidate remembers the information which was studied previously. Then will come 'Motivation': For days when the user feels that his energy is not quite 100%; the motivation bot helps lift their spirits by offering easier goals, showing how their peers are doing on Prepathon, etc.

Each of these bots will use varying degrees of machine learning and AI to keep getting better at what they do.

4. So how have bots helped you in solving problem areas? -The bots have significantly reduced the amount of time coaches have to spend on doing repetitive work. For example, our bots tell our coaches the no of people who haven't logged in within the last week and will suggest a single click message broadcast option to send out reminders to the said audience in order to coax them into getting back to their studies. This feature essentially acts as a force multiplier helping us allocate our resources more effectively.

5. How does he see technology evolving the e-learning space going forward? -Technologies like bots will dramatically alter the way people learn. 90% of a teacher's job is to motivate, to correct, to advice and help students study their material. Bots are extremely good at doing repetitive jobs and therefore can help manage students at scale, which is something traditional teachers cannot.

Beyond this, bots open up newer avenues - bots will allow students to personalize their own learning experience. Students will be able to select the bots they want active or deactivated on a course by course basis. This level of personalization can be achieved through bots. We are the very beginning stages of technology changing the way we learn and I fully expect bots to be leading the change.

6. Plans for the future of PagalGuy and Prepathon? -PaGaLGuY is India's largest student community and we'll be entering newer verticals this year. With Prepathon we intend to add 30 new courses by the end of the year and have a set of 10 bots to cater to a wide range of student needs.

He concluded by sharing some insights about the online education space - "The goal of technology should be able to make people do things faster, easier and better. While technology has made content accessible, it hasn't necessarily solved the problem of getting people to learn better online. The biggest challenge for the online education space is to use technology in a way that allows people to learn more faster, better and more efficiently than ever before."
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