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The learning community around us is highly involved with Artificial Intelligence (AI) now more than ever. Students may soon use it every day, everywhere – to analyze career choices, improve grades, draw up what-next scenarios, and never fall short. Educationists may use it to fine-tune the reach and quality of education.

AI and its assistants are everywhere. Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa are now an integral part of our everyday ‘conversational life’! The crux of AI lies in its ability to take in what seems mundane and coax answers from it. An emerging arena where AI can make a difference is the Higher Education sector.

Career Counselling

While traditionally, the career-safe-havens of STEM & business management have seen a steady stream, there is an emerging trend of careers that demand creativity along with technological acumen. Students understand and relate to this. To an undergrad, career scoping is crucial. This is the first bastion of AI for students

CRM platforms like Salesforce and others have access to a humongous amount of data – both historic and relatively recent. Intelligent algorithms can crawl through this data to arrive at trends and insights – for instance, what subjects (at undergrad/grad level) have lent to which successful careers? What are the various trajectories that one may embark on given a major in ‘A’ and allied interest in ‘B’?

Students can interact with a chatbot to know what options can be pursued. A bot can take repetitive inputs without losing interest, unlike a traditional human counselor. A chatting interface helps students work out a detailed path (complete with intermediaries like university offerings, application procedure/schedule, and financial assistance) starting with input and then ‘switching’ to a completely different trajectory seamlessly while the support being available 24*7.

While a chatbot takes over to say ‘what can be done,’ a human counselor may channelize his/her attention to the student’s potential and innate interest. The bot helps in reducing the load on the counselor by handling repetitive queries.

Admission Assistance

As higher education institutions keep pace with the growing trends in the career space, they also face an onslaught of student applications.AI led automation helps in the ‘operational’ aspects such as process GPA scores, align to a reference grid and sort the applications. With AI, a more holistic approach to application processing is possible.

Imagine an algorithm that evaluates a prospective student’s extra-curricular activities, social contributions, and quality of the essays without overburdening the teaching staff and eliminating natural human biases. This is where a rich Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology can step in and potentially take-over. Moving away from the primitive keyword-count analysis, newer NLP algorithms can gauge intent and sentiment. Salesforce’s Einstein Intent APIs can chalk out what a student essay really conveys - is it a mere collection of keywords or has a broader perspective that draws to a logical conclusion.

With applications running into thousands, such decision points can quickly align to a point scale and help sort out the right candidates. With the right approval process, AI-passed applications can still be verified by a human before the check-box is ticked.

Get Better Grades

AI might not help a student in writing an exam however it could guide on how to be better at it.

Imagine running your scripts past an AI tool to get a score of your own. How verbose were your answers? Could a clearly labeled diagram fetch you more marks?

Analytical insights can also point-out trends of how previous answers were lacking. Is the student more likely to fall short of applying the right formula in a numerical? Were there several incidents where calculations went wrong? Is there a distinct subject area/concept that needs brushing up? With an adequate data-set, answers to these and many other similar questions can be made available readily.This is especially helpful for short preparation cycles of competitive exams where smart decisions can help make the difference.

Conclusion

AI, NLP, deep learning algorithms and analytical insights can help institutes select the right candidates and enable students write their exams better apart from many other advantages. AI cuts across all demographics to hand-hold the community at large - be it students, or educationists. With increasing adaption, the algorithms can only get better and maybe more personal.

References

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About the Author

Manjari Kanabar
Salesforce Technical Manager

Manjari is a Salesforce technical manager with the education, Industry group. She is a Salesforce and Java certified “techie” who also loves to manage and deliver projects. Her 14+ years of career spans across product development and service management in gaming, insurance, and higher education domains

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