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ChatGPT takes center stage as students ditch tutors in favor of AI-powered learning

Bynewsmagzines

May 29, 2023
ChatGPT takes center stage as students ditch tutors in favor of AI-powered learning

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According to a recent survey by Intelligent.com, a prominent higher-education planning platform, students and parents increasingly favor studying with ChatGPT over human tutors.

The survey findings expose a significant transformation in student perspectives on educational assistance. A staggering 85% of high school and college students who have availed themselves of both ChatGPT and traditional tutoring sessions during the recent academic year assert that ChatGPT surpasses traditional tutoring in effectiveness as a learning tool.

Likewise, 96% of parents with school-age children share this viewpoint, firmly convinced that studying with ChatGPT generates superior outcomes for their offspring.

Such confidence in ChatGPT has resulted in a remarkable shift: 39% of students and 30% of parents have completely replaced their tutoring sessions with this AI-powered platform.

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Parents surveyed affirm that ChatGPT’s capability to rectify errors facilitates a more accurate learning experience for their children. They also report that their children prefer using the software for oral practice, resulting in significantly improved outcomes.

“Students and their parents believe ChatGPT is a highly effective study tool that is more convenient and efficient than traditional tutoring, to the extent that many have actually replaced tutoring sessions in favor of ChatGPT,” Diane Gayeski, higher-education consultant at Intelligent.com and professor of strategic communications at Ithaca College, told VentureBeat. “Parents find ChatGPT to be an attractive tutor because it’s free, always available and answers questions quickly. It’s quite good at providing basic concepts and even practice questions on common topics such as algebra, geography and foreign languages.”

The study compiles feedback from 3,017 high school and college students and 3,234 parents of younger students. Among these participants, 801 individuals were from the United States.

For student respondents, stringent demographic filters were applied to ensure their ages fell within the range of 16 to 24 and that they identified themselves as “students” regarding employment status. As for parents, respondents underwent rigorous demographic filtering to confirm they had at least one child, followed by a primary screening process to verify that they had at least one child enrolled in elementary, middle or high school.

Boosting grades and efficiency with ChatGPT

The report indicates that almost all students have substituted some of their tutoring sessions with ChatGPT. A remarkable nine out of 10 students express a preference for studying with ChatGPT over studying with a tutor.

Additionally, the survey findings underscore that upon integrating ChatGPT into their study routine, 95% of student and parent respondents have witnessed improvement in academic grades.

ChatGPT predominantly substituted tutoring sessions in subjects like mathematics and “hard” sciences such as chemistry and biology.

“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 Gayeski told VentureBeat. “This is, of course, assuming the student has enough background knowledge to give ChatGPT the right type of prompt.”

Is ChatGPT really effective? 

Gayeski noted that despite the survey’s clear indication of ChatGPT’s popularity, experts widely believe that it will not serve as a long-term, complete substitute for tutors in the near term.

“ChatGPT cannot do what experienced human tutors do because it’s reliant on the user entering good prompts. For example, if I struggle to conjugate Italian verbs, I might ask it for some drills and practice. But human tutors are experts in teaching a topic,” said Gayeski. “They know what questions to ask to assess a learner’s grasp of the content, and they can diagnose students’ misconceptions and provide specific feedback.”

She emphasized that human tutors possess valuable knowledge regarding the types of questions commonly encountered in standardized tests and an understanding of what specific teachers within their school district expect from assignments.

Gayeski explained, “A tutor can offer tailored examples suitable for a 15-year-old. However, while ChatGPT can provide such examples, the user must possess the skill to articulate the request effectively.”

She doubted that a teenager harboring a dislike for biology would excel at formulating prompts that would yield engaging content and effectively evaluate their grasp of the subject matter.

“Often, students struggle in classes because they cannot predict the kinds of questions that their teachers may ask to assess their knowledge. That’s why we often hear from students that they studied hard for a test but still did poorly. In some cases, teachers want pretty direct terminology or lists from the texts they are using, and ChatGPT can’t know that,” added Gayeski.

She highlighted that while 95% of surveyed students and parents reported improved grades since incorporating ChatGPT into their studying routines, a human tutor plays a vital role in providing structure.

“That’s why many people use personal trainers at a gym — it’s not necessarily that they don’t know how to exercise or use the machines, it’s because having that appointment provides [for] people to get positive feedback and encouragement from the trainer that can foster persistence,” said Gayeski. “For effective results, ChatGPT is totally reliant on the user entering good prompts. The student has to have enough background knowledge to give ChatGPT the right type of prompt.”

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