Voice Assistants In Education: Benefits, Use Cases, Challenges

Voice Assistants In Education: Benefits, Use Cases, Challenges

Are Voice Assistants The Next Big Edtech Trend?

A Chinese proverb says, “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” This proverb puts the right emphasis on the use of technology in the education industry. Technology was adapted in the education sector as a means to aid teachers and supplement conventional teaching techniques. For a long time, EdTech meant the use of videos, images, and other multimedia content to aid teachers. However, the COVID-19 breakdown compelled educational institutes to adopt interactive, remote teaching methods.

There have been a number of innovations and adaptions to virtual learning since then. People are learning online more than ever and voice-enabled systems are playing a major part here. eLearning apps like Duolingo have also witnessed a significant growth in their number and the industry is only expected to grow. Let us understand the rise of voice assistants in the education sector today. The article covers some crucial topics such as benefits, disadvantages, and use cases, followed by a conclusion.

The Rise Of Voice Assistants In Education

Smart speakers have been in the market for a significant time now and people are quite familiar with the tech. Educational institutes were a little slow to embrace the voice tech in their systems but they are eventually realizing the potential. A report published in 2018 by NPR and Edison Research Survey supports the statement that says that children in the U.S. who have smart speakers often use them to get help with homework, read stories, listen to audiobooks, and seek information. eLearning apps that used the tech in their system are now a hit in the market.

Top Statistics: The Rise Of Voice Assistants In The U.S.

  • According to Nielsen, about 25% of U.S. citizens who use Wi-Fi owned a smart speaker in 2018.
  • Over 27% of total internet users use voice search on mobile as per Google Reports.
  • Google’s Voice Recognition tool now supports up to 119 languages.
  • 8 out of 10 children in the U.S. have access to smart speakers.
  • According to Statista, over 44% of children in the U.S. have used the speaker to answer a question.

The Benefits In eLearning

1. Personalized Learning

Voice assistants allow children to learn things at their own pace without any external pressure to keep up. Kids do not need to wait for classroom teachers or go through conventional methods such as websites, books, notes, etc. Further, such voice assistants cater to the individual needs of every student and create a personalized learning experience for them. Notably, voice assistants are also able to keep track of a child’s overall learning and offer data-driven recommendations about the subject to work on, therefore enhancing overall efficiency.

2. Time Management

Voice assistants can also aid teachers in increasing efficiency by automating administrative work. They are often overwhelmed with unnecessary work such as tracking attendance, grading papers, preparing notes, etc. that such voice assistants can automate. With the help of technology, teachers can have more time to focus on students and better allocate their resources. Most of the eLearning app business model is based upon aiding teachers in time management and supplementing traditional methods.

3. Accessibility

Technology is of great help to disabled students who want to learn or educate themselves. Voice assistants have come as a blessing for them and improve their access to education. Visually impaired students can use voice assistant devices to listen to audiobooks or learn about a new topic by leveraging digital resources. Similarly, people with hearing issues can take advantage of the speech-to-text feature.

4. Collaborative Learning

Voice assistants facilitate group discussions and projects that enhance cooperation among children at school. Further, voice-enabled tech can also be used to evaluate student performance and create intuitive class activities. It allows students to work together in a better way and share information easily and quickly.

Voice Technology In Education: Top 5 Use Cases

1. Reading Practice

Voice assistants are now able to get children to practice reading and improve their habits. With the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Speech Recognition Systems, voice-enabled learning programs have become a possibility now. There are tools in the market that understand individual children’s speaking patterns and requirements and offer real-time, accurate feedback. Such tools are capable of listening, correcting, prompting, and encouraging every student as they read something. As a result, a lot of teachers’ time will be saved and they can focus on other significant tasks.

2. Language Learning

Voice assistants are so artificially intelligent now that they can help children learn a new language with unmatched accuracy. This is where language learning apps come into the picture. Such applications train children with multiple tasks and learning games to enhance their fluency and pronunciation in an accurate and real-time manner. Further, encouraging feedback and visual representation of scores act as an added bonus for motivating children and keeping them engaged.

3. Teacher’s Personal Assistant

Voice-driven devices can assist teachers in teaching activities and act as personal assistants. Teachers are found tangled in management activities that eat up a lot of time. The time could be used to pay personal attention to students and other important activities. Voice-enabled systems can save a lot of teacher’s time by giving instructions, answering general queries, setting reminders, etc. Further, such voice systems can be used in classrooms for making important announcements instead of a person going to every class.

4. Online Viva Tests

Voice assistants can also be used to conduct online classroom viva or oral tests, remotely from anywhere, anytime. Speech-to-text assistants can record a student’s answers and understand what is spoken by the student during the viva exam. The recording can further be used for future reference.

5. Revisions

Teachers and lecturers can record their classes and provide it to students for future revisions. Schools and colleges can upload the lectures online for students to prepare well for the exams, anytime, anywhere. Kids can revise the content at their own pace, 24/7, which comes in handy for them.

Top Challenges In Integrating Digital Voice Assistants In Education

1. Struggle In Understanding

Voice assistants encounter issues in understanding words that are not recognized by them. In addition, kids’ vocal cords are smaller as compared to adults, making their voices sound different. Children speak and ask questions differently and learn to talk while growing up. Their questions and intent to ask differ sometimes, which makes it difficult for voice assistants to understand. In the schools also, there’s a lot of noise around, along with a variety of accents making it challenging for voice assistants to understand the words.

2. Wrong Information

Voice assistants often get confused with the questions and sometimes misunderstand the question, giving a wrong answer. This can cause the user to question the same query again and again to get the right answer. Further, there are multiple queries that the internet has not explored yet, resulting in providing wrong information to the kid.

3. Integration Issues

You need to integrate the voice assistant to different devices, such as TV, mobile, speakers, etc. However, such voice assistants can face a technical glitch in connecting or opening an app. For instance, voice assistants on television might require you to speak a little louder and clearer, which can be an issue for small children. Further, voice-enabled systems sometimes catch instructions not meant for them.

4. Data Piracy

Data piracy is a matter of concern in the digital world, and with the rise of technology in education, the student’s data has also come at risk. Children also have the right to data privacy and necessary measures should be taken by the officials to tackle the issue. Some of the possible risks that tech companies can take care of:

  1. Sell or share data to third parties.
  2. Use the children’s data for promotional or advertising purposes.
  3. Arrange the collected data as per user profiles for further use.


So, these were some of the challenges encountered using voice assistants in the education industry. It is a no-brainer that voice-enabled systems are getting popular in the education niche day by day and the challenges are inevitable. Some of the major concerns faced are data piracy, cybercrime, technical glitches, and wrong/misleading information. However, with more and more advancements coming in the market daily and consistent efforts, such challenges can be easily tackled.

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