A new study from artificial intelligence (AI) solutions provider Juji found that student engagement is the top challenge in managing online programs.

According to the study, “Challenges and Opportunities in Online Learning: Four Key Findings from University Leaders,” university decision makers said two other top challenges include recruiting prospective students (45 percent),and developing quality online courses (35 percent).

The study also found that the current solutions being used by decision makers to address their top priorities are mainly human-driven and difficult to scale, while technology-driven solutions are less than satisfactory. Nearly 30 percent of study respondents said they were beginning to explore AI-powered solutions to meet their needs. That said, decision makers said they expect private sectors partners to provide them with technology guidance, and easy-to-adopt technologies that can better support online education success.

“University leaders told us while they are looking for solutions to scale out their online programs, they still need to maintain a high-quality student learning experience,” said Dr. Michelle Zhou, CEO of Juji. “We also learned that universities want high-quality solutions that can scale and also be implemented easily and quickly.”

For the universities that are exploring AI solutions, there are still obstacles in the way of fully realizing the potential of new technologies. Nearly all of the universities exploring AI to aid student engagement and retention said they don’t have IT staff dedicated to AI, and they don’t have a lot of time to train AI tech on their own.

When it comes to helping schools overcome the AI obstacles, Dr. Zhou pointed towards cognitive AI assistants and no-code AI solutions. She said that “cognitive AI assistants, in the form of chatbots, are potential solutions for universities to scale out student and prospect engagement still with a human touch. Further, no-code AI solutions require no IT resources and minimal set-up time. Not only will such solutions increase student/prospect engagement, but will also relieve university professionals from doing repetitive tasks, such as answering tens of thousands of student questions and guiding prospects to apply for an online program.”


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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs