Mitigating The Impact On eLearning

Integration Of AI Chatbots: Mitigating The Impact On eLearning

The Growing Trend Of AI Chatbot Integration In eLearning

There is an undeniably rapid growth of AI chatbots in eLearning. As technology has become an indispensable part of this growing asynchronous environment, AI-powered assistants have gained attention for their potential to bridge the gap left by the absence of human interaction. AI virtual companions utilize Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and employ Natural Language Processing (NLP) to engage in coherent conversations with us, offering assistance in understanding topics, solving problems, and enhancing writing skills.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the adoption of eLearning, pushing it into the forefront of educational trends. Projections [1] suggest that eLearning is set to grow by over 200% between 2020 and 2025, with a projected 9.1% compound annual growth rate by 2026.

Understanding The Issues Of Modern Developments In Artificial Intelligence

In recent years, the world of education has seen a remarkable transformation with the surge of eLearning, revolutionizing how we acquire knowledge. Central to this evolution is the integration of AI chatbots into the eLearning environment, promising a more engaging, personalized, and effective learning journey for all of us.

However, as these AI chatbots are still in the experimental and research phase, past occurrences, such as Twitter’s Tay [2], have unveiled their vulnerability to biases and AI hallucinations. They inherit these biases from the data on which they are trained [2], and in some cases, from users who seek to manipulate them. This realization underscores the critical need for vigilant monitoring as we navigate the promising yet precarious terrain of AI chatbots in eLearning.

The need for caution is because of the existence of accounts where AI has spread misinformation and biases. For instance, the previously mentioned and notorious Twitter Tay-bot, which was a conversational chatbot that learned from feedback, began spewing racial slurs and malicious ideologies within 24 hours of its first human interaction, illustrating the dangers of uncontrolled interactions [2]. Even in 2023, OpenAI, the creator of the now prominent ChatGPT, has admitted [3] that their algorithms “can produce harmful and biased answers.”

Integration Of AI Chatbots And The Need To Guard Young Minds

The primary concern of using AI chatbots is the safeguarding of young and malleable minds. Children, in the critical stages of mental development, are more susceptible to the severe biases that AI chatbots may inadvertently propagate. When young children encounter extreme opinions or ideologies through biased chatbot interactions, they may unknowingly internalize these views. This presents a concerning matter as the ideologies and opinions absorbed during these formative years can significantly influence their future morals and beliefs.

Protecting The Integrity Of eLearning

Monitoring discussions between children and AI chatbots becomes imperative as it helps ensure that young learners consume accurate, unbiased, and up-to-date information. As seen with Twitter’s Tay, AI chatbots, while promising, are not infallible [4]. They can lack the latest information, and, beyond propagating biases, may even produce hallucinated or inaccurate responses [4]. Overreliance on these chatbots could lead children to interpret everything as fact, potentially misleading their learning and negatively influencing their objective beliefs.

The Argument For Independence

Some may argue that allowing students to interact with chatbots independently fosters self-reliance and encourages them to learn from their own mistakes. In fact, researchers in the educational field claim [5] that “the brain of a person making an error lights up with the kind of activity that encodes information more deeply.” While there is merit to this perspective, it’s essential to distinguish between learning from one’s mistakes and being exposed to biased or harmful ideologies.

Children may inadvertently consider encounters with biases, stereotypes, and misinformation on AI chatbots as errors. They may then, without proper guidance, internalize those biases and misinformation more deeply to “correct” their mistakes. With increased monitoring of interactions our children have with AI technology, we can avoid these severe consequences.

The Way Forward

The growing integration of AI chatbots into eLearning has opened up exciting possibilities for asynchronous education, potentially revolutionizing the way we learn. These AI tools not only offer personalized learning experiences but also provide instant feedback and support, making education more accessible and efficient. Yet, this trend is accompanied by challenges, especially when it comes to safeguarding young, impressionable minds. We should exercise vigilance over our children’s interactions with AI technologies, actively engaging in their digital education journey to guide and correct any misleading or harmful content they may encounter. This involvement is key to maximizing the benefits of AI in education while minimizing its risks.


[1] Online Learning Statistics: The Ultimate List in 2023

[2] Twitter Taught Microsoft’s AI Chatbot

[3] 8 Big Problems With OpenAI’s ChatGPT

[4] Personalized Chatbot Trustworthiness Ratings

[5] The Mistake Imperative—Why We Must Get Over Our Fear of Student Error