The education ‘roboagent’ is approaching
The future for education agents looks like ‘Elsie’ – I sit occasionally with a fintech startup in an incubator and next door is a company that produces AI solutions for insurance companies. Elsie (names have been changed to protect the bot) is a chatbot that can tackle a vast array of questions. At present, she works with a human handler that can intervene if things get complex and add a human touch when needed. Like all good AI today, Elsie learns from mistakes and gets better at the job at exponential rates.
A bot like Elsie could work very well in an education agent context as well. A huge amount of correspondence now takes place over ‘chat’ channels on agent social media platforms and is the preferred method of communication for many millennials. Already an education agent in Korea has reported that a sale used to take 4 face-to-face visits and it is now averaging 1 with Chat or Skype filling in the other visits. Some international students in Canada have already started with a bot that assists students with visa questions. See https://thepienews.com/news/intl-students-canada-invent-visa-bot-rovbot/
Assisted AI is preferred with a bot that can tackle standard questions in an intuitive way and anything too difficult can be passed seamlessly to an operator – Elsie can tell in milliseconds if she ‘knows’ the answer or not. Imagine the scenario of a counsellor that really does know it all and can locate an array of courses and prices, locations, accommodation and push links and documents to the prospective student. As the lead is qualified it is then pushed to a handler that can ensure the right course for the student, has a call or video conference to close the sale.
The model of bot+human has the potential to produce a massive jump in productivity for education agents that think about the future. Elsie and other automation is coming and has the potential to disrupt the very 20th-century education agent model we currently use.
Listen to Philip Kilic from Open Colleges talk about the future of online education recruitment at the Symposium on Leading Education Recruitment 2017 in Sydney – September 18