Could the best use of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence chatbots be tutors? According to a recent study by education planning platform Intelligent.com (and reported by VentureBeat), a vast majority of high school and college students who utilized both human tutors and ChatGPT during this recent academic year prefer the AI.
In May, Intelligent.com surveyed 3,017 high school and college students (ages 16-24), along with 3,234 parents of younger students to learn more about study habits. While only 10% of the students and 15% of the parents of younger students said they utilized ChatGPT and a tutor, those who did both preferred the AI nine out of 10 times. And 95% say their grades have improved since studying with ChatGPT.
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The subject areas where ChatGPT proved most beneficial were subjects like math and science (though we’ve seen its use case, for better or worse, in English classes). “This may be because these subjects tend to be technical and the concepts more difficult, and ChatGPT can present clear, distilled answers for these types of problems, which can help students grasp complex concepts,” Intelligent.com’s Diane Gayeski told VentureBeat. “This is, of course, assuming the student has enough background knowledge to give ChatGPT the right type of prompt.”
“As a current student using ChatGPT, I have found it to be a helpful and convenient tool for studying,” says college junior Johnson Adegoke. “Unlike seeing a tutor, ChatGPT is available 24/7 and can answer my questions immediately. Plus, I can study at my own pace and review the information as many times as I need to. While it’s not quite the same as having a human tutor, I appreciate the accessibility and flexibility that ChatGPT offers.”
Students and parents also cited the AI’s ability to quickly correct mistakes and offer a “more relaxed, more efficient” environment than human tutors. The minority of respondents who preferred the human touch cited face-to-face communication, a more stimulating environment for encouraging students and the interactive environment.
As well, 39% of high school and college students surveyed say they replaced tutoring sessions with ChatGPT, while 30% of parents surveyed say they’ve done the same for their children.
Still, the expert consensus seems to be in favor of keeping ChatGPT as a tool in tandem with human tutors when possible. “Most tutors do much more than provide content — they structure study time, they provide modeling and motivation, and they help to diagnose where learners are having trouble and can then structure the explanations and practice to overcome those obstacles,” Gayeski says.
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