The last year or so we have witnessed a radical shift in how technology enables education - a trend which is most apparent in the online behavior of today’s hyper-connected students.
Even mobile messaging applications like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat have entirely transformed the way students communicate, triggering a mass migration from traditional methods of education to a paradigm shift in the methods of learning and knowledge sharing.
Rise of Technology in Education (Ed-Tech)
With the onset of technology, schools are progressively adopting digital teaching solutions to engage with a generation of pupils well-versed with the likes of PlayStations and iPads and thus, trying to make the online classroom more inclusive and participatory.
In contrast, now the primary and secondary schools across the world seem to be more progressive when it comes to adoption of technology. Schools were already using digital tools like smartboards, LCD screens, audio-visual videos, and digital recordings to teach children. Since the start of the pandemic, the recent lockdowns have made these hardware tools redundant, at least for now.
But students and teachers have been able to replicate their teaching methods, and adopt some more, with new and advanced e-learning platforms’ in-app video conferencing feature.
Education technology is breaking a plethora of barriers that refrains students in rural India from receiving quality education in limited space classrooms. The ‘Direct to Device’ technology empowers the students to receive quality education, directly on mobile devices, anytime and anywhere.
Some practices that are noticeable include:
In some countries, the use of Interactive Educational Television has helped remote schools with situations where they have many students but no teachers.
In Pakistan, students are sent small quizzes via messaging apps to their mobile phones to help them know how well they grasp the topics in the classrooms.
How Chat Can Be Useful for Online Education
E-learning platforms with and without in-platform video conferencing have been around for years but are now gaining new thrust in the teaching as educators have been forced to imbibe technology into their pedagogy.
Video chat integrations not only provide real-time collaboration, such as whiteboards, quizzes, etc., but also replicate the entire classroom experience online. They facilitate the deeper discussions that result in understanding of concepts. With its collaborative and connective features, video chat creates an interactive learning experience which augments far wider than the constraints of a conventional classroom.
E-learning platforms and digital schools are perfect examples of how edu-tech platforms with in-app video conferencing can act as complete educational platforms, connecting students and teachers in a virtual classroom complete with collaboration and communication tools making the learning experience far more interactive and immersive for the students from across the globe.
How In-App Chat Improves eLearning Apps
From the surface, they might seem to be just simple messaging applications, but now the modern messaging apps have come with some new functions that have found their way into other technology.
Chat integration platforms, like CometChat, have radically changed how people communicate. Let’s delve deeper and understand some key features of chat integration platforms that can help e-learning models thrive:
1. Bridge the Gap Between Teachers and Students
Voice and Video Chat is an essential asset which you can bank upon because interaction with the teacher can always help the students in getting their problems solved
A virtual atmosphere as a classroom can be created so as to provide tutorials through video and audio conversation. Moreover, teachers can also ask learners for feedback.
In order to convey more complex ideas, the modern chat integration also allows for media to be merged creating unique messages to express one’s ideas.
2. Enable Constructive Learning
Don’t you think that students should be able to communicate in various circles, including their own? Well, with the integrated chat features students can create group chats for group discussions
Teachers can create subject wise open or closed groups for students and manage student access to these groups.
Teachers and students have the opportunity to become partners in learning for longer times, thus creating a sustained community of collaborative learning.
3. Make Sharing Easier
With online education, printed textbooks have become a thing of the past. Now, this is good for learners and teachers (and the environment) as they don't need to carry heavy backpacks.
With file sharing, students & teachers can share videos, ebooks, documents, and assignments directly via chat. Teachers can also easily share course material, reports, performance analysis and more within the chat.
4. Enable Collaborative Learning
Today, digital collaborative whiteboards are replacing traditional whiteboards and thus are enabling the students to have a more interactive learning experience.
Whiteboards allow for effective instruction as teachers can quickly demonstrate the solution for a particular math problem or can draw a diagram to explain a complicated biological concept.
5. Broadcasting Lectures & Classes
Videos are the means of cognitive development and when students are drawn-in by voice & video broadcasts, interactivity and engagement thrive and lead to better knowledge retention.
Live broadcasts to the students are becoming central to learning, a need felt not only by the students but also increasingly by the educators.
Why Your Users Shouldn’t Use Another Chat App Instead
You're probably thinking that students already have so many messaging apps on their phones and why do we need to add another app for the same purpose. Why students and educators can’t use WhatsApp or Zoom to share videos, documents and virtual classrooms?
1. Educators Cannot Have Control
It’s important for students and educators to have a dedicated channel for communication with each other. On external apps, educators do not have control over what students are sharing or talking about.
In-app chat feature allows educators to manage sharing privileges and have better control over conversations. Chats can even be moderated and filtered.
2. Switching Apps Hampers Learners' Experience
Although social media influences your learning in a myriad of ways, using external apps during online classes surely disrupts the overall learning experience, also known as LX.. According to a lot of studies, students who spend time switching between different apps are more likely to get distracted and lose focus resulting in poor retention.
With the presence of a chat feature, students do not need to leave the e-learning platform and can focus entirely on the online classes. Moreover, in-app chat helps boost engagement amongst students in terms of group communication, thereby building a sense of community and giving them no reason to switch to external apps.
3. Makes Your Platform Seem Incomplete
Communicating is a fundamental part of both learning as well as teaching. And it's important for eLearning platform and LMSs to enable simple, secure and social communication tools for teachers and students. If your platform’s users need to use other apps, like WhatsApp, Slack, etc., for the core purpose of learning, it shows a big gap in your user experience. And this could be a deciding factor for a lot of your potential buyers.
4. There’s Too Much Distraction
Users who leverage e-learning platforms for studying purposes are exposed to more distractions compared to those who take face-to-face classes — thereby affecting their academic performance.
For instance, exchanging messages from external applications can be seen as an unwanted interruption. Integrating in-app chat in e-learning platforms can not only eliminate the need to use external apps but also help students improve their performance through its versatility and unobtrusiveness.
5. Analytics & Reports
Every student has a unique voice, skills, and experiences. When students communicate through external apps, educators or teachers have no visibility about their conversations.
The integration of an in-app chat, such as CometChat, allows educators to see real-time data of students’ engagement with the online classroom. Sentiment analysis allows educators to understand how students feel about the classroom, and can act as great feedback for teachers and educators.
How E-learning Apps Can Add Text & Video Chat in Minutes
Building a text and video calling engine from scratch is the traditional approach. Why build when you can buy!
CometChat is a text, voice & video chat solution that powers hundreds of e-learning apps and websites. Our readymade chat integrations are simple, easy, and reliable to use. They allow eLearning app developers to add pre-built peer-to-peer chat to any app or website in less than 10 minutes.
We focus our resources on three unique deployment types that can fit any existing app and technology:
Chat Widgets make it easy for your development team to add basic chat functionality to your project. All you have to do is sign in to the CometChat developer dashboard, configure the widget according to your needs, then copy and paste the code on your app.
Our Chat SDKs & APIs are the way to go if you're looking for a more comprehensive tool with text, voice and video chat for your eLearning platform. From Android to iOS and React Native to Cordova, these provide a seamless integration with any platform and tech stack you may be working on.
Our pre-built Chat UI Kits are the perfect fit if you need everything, from chat features and infrastructure to chat user interface, readymade to go live in less than a day. They are as simple as drag and drop and give you complete access to the source code for any customizations.
Human minds are much more complicated than advanced science; the old traditional classroom (or factory..) approach to teaching is not the ideal solution when it comes to transferring knowledge to the diversified new generation.
Chat Integrations are a disruption in the education technology industry that can help both- slow and fast to be better learners. Start building chat for your app by signing in to our developer dashboard. Or talk to us for more information.
About the Author
Kushal is an engineer turned content marketer with great enthusiasm for technology. He has worked with engineering, product and marketing teams to create and launch software products. Currently, at CometChat, Kushal is helping the software developer community create meaningful connections between real people in an increasingly digital world