The pandemic has made online education the new norm when it comes to learning. Along with this, a new kind of teacher also emerged. These are artificial intelligence-based teachers. While many schools are slowly turning to these new ïnstructors, the level of acceptance of students towards these new teachers is still something that needs to be addressed. Researchers found that one common thing that these teachers must have is being effective communicators.

A study published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction carried out by researchers at the Nicholson School of Communication and Media at the University of Central Florida suggests that students are more likely to accept an AI-teacher if it is easy to talk to. Their study aimed to examine the perceptions of students of their AI teachers in order for system developers to be able to design them better for students.

Jihyun Kim, lead author and associate professor in the school said the hope is that by understanding the manner that students relate to these AI-teachers, engineers and computer scientists will be able to design them in a way that it would be easy to immerse them into the educational experience. She elaborates that in order to be able to use AI-teachers effectively, there is a need to understand the learning experience of students towards these teachers. How students perceive them plays a very important role, as it will help engineers to create a positive learning experience for them.

With AI-teaching assistants around, the workload of teachers is lessened. One good example where AI-teachers could be a lot of help includes responding to commonly asked questions. There are questions that students would ask every semester, which, if the teacher would answer them could become numerous. With AI-teaching assistants around, answers will be delivered quickly to students, without adding more tasks for the teacher.

Through a survey, the researchers were able to gather that students are more likely to accept AI-teachers if they are useful and easy to talk to. With these findings, the researchers are hoping that it could help them find an effective way to integrate AI agents into the educational system.

"By adopting an AI agent as an assistant for a simple and repetitive task, teachers would be able to spend more time doing things such as meeting with students and developing teaching strategies that will ultimately help student learning in meaningful ways," says Kim.

Students more likely to accept AI teachers if they are easy to talk to. Photo: Pixabay