July 8

The Transformative Power of AI in Higher Education


I think there are so many benefits to AI in higher education.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion surrounding this revolutionary tool. So much so that many higher ed marketers are simply keeping their distance, waiting for the dust to settle before jumping in on this unique opportunity.

But in this rapidly evolving digital world, the use of AI in higher education is no longer optional — it’s essential.

Personalized AI chatbots used to be a muse for science fiction writers.

But with the rapid rise of these sophisticated AI tools, the possibilities for how these bots can augment the prospective student journey seem endless.

Ardis Kadiu shows us the role of AI in higher education. To help us better understand the value of AI in higher education, we brought on Ardis Kadiu, founder and CEO of Element451, to The Higher Ed Marketer podcast.

With a deep passion for AI and its applications in higher ed, Ardis shared invaluable insights on how AI chatbots and cognitive psychology are transforming student engagement and retention.

Understanding the Role of AI in Higher Education

Ardis Kadiu began the conversation by highlighting the roles of AI in higher education: enhancing productivity and improving the student experience.

[When it comes to how schools are using AI], there is what they’re using [AI for], and what they actually should be using [it for], where the opportunities are.

So what they’re using is very minimal right now, and it’s being used a lot around just copywriting. But the opportunities are tremendous!

We look at it from three different areas. One of them is the student experience. How do you improve the student experience on the frontline capabilities, personalized communications and so forth.

The other [opportunity] is around productivity.

As we know, higher education is one of the hardest hit industries [because of our difficulty to] bring in new blood into our system. So [AI] is one of the areas where it can affect tremendously and can be a huge booster around productivity.

The third [opportunity is] in [in the classroom with] teaching and learning. [This is a real opportunity despite the fact that] teaching and learning is also the most controversial [opportunity] given what we’ve seen with ChatGPT and some of the tools around cheating in the classroom.

AI: More than Copywriting

While many institutions are just scratching the surface, AI’s potential extends far beyond basic copywriting and student engagement.

AI can streamline administrative tasks, provide personalized communication, and support teaching and learning in innovative ways.

It’s not just about automation. It’s augmenting our school’s capabilities to offer personalized, efficient, and impactful interactions with potential and current students.

The Power of AI Chatbots

One of the standout topics of our conversation was the use of AI chatbots.

Element451 has integrated sophisticated AI chatbots into their CRM platform to improve student interactions.

These bots are not only available 24/7 but are also capable of handling a vast array of queries, significantly reducing the workload on human staff.

“For example, Foresight Tech saw a 79% resolution rate in queries handled by our bot within the first three months. This resulted in a 21% reduction in call volume,” Kadiu noted, highlighting the efficiency and effectiveness of AI in managing student inquiries.

AI bots can guide students through program choices based on their interests and career goals, making the exploration process more engaging and personalized.

This level of interaction is pivotal in helping students find the right fit and succeed academically.

But there are other ways to use chatbots to boost productivity that many higher ed institutions are not considering.

Knowledge Discovery

The fastest way to boost productivity by using AI in higher education is to use it for knowledge discovery.

The second [area of productivity in higher ed] that most organizations [can benefit from] is knowledge discovery.

So when you think about knowledge discovery is essentially the lifeblood of any organization. [Organizations] use Slack, MS Teams, and email quite a bit [to share internal knowledge with each other].

We have our scope of SOP’s, and we have our documents that tell us how we do certain processes. All of those documents now need to be understood and read by somebody.

So when you think about it from a productivity [standpoint], knowledge discovery is the fastest way that you can benefit from AI.

It takes a new employee weeks or even months to get upskilled and [become] productive in your organization.

But now imagine they don’t have to go to their manager every minute to ask, “How do I do this or that?”

Now they can ask a bot that has all that knowledge across this institution or across the organization.

While most of what you read or hear about AI in higher education revolves around content creation, don’t forget how AI-driven technologies can help you boost performance and productivity in the workplace.

In fact, I’m doing just that with my team here at Caylor Solutions.

Essentially, I’ve taken the data that I’ve created over the years and have created a knowledge base with it.

Then, we created a ChatGPT that will use the knowledge base to answer questions that my team might have around how we think about things and how we would do things.

This knowledge base is made up of content I’ve made over the years including our standard operating procedure manuals, hundreds of blog posts, and the content of my book, Chasing Mission Fit.

All of the content is there, but instead of making a new team member read through it all, or having them go through an extensive training period, they can get their answers from our ChatGPT bot.

This has effectively boosted our internal productivity and helped our team to be more consistent across our projects.

The Future of AI in Higher Ed

Looking ahead, Kadiu is optimistic about the future developments in AI.

He envisions a more integrated approach where AI systems handle complex tasks autonomously, providing a seamless and personalized experience for students.

Conversational interfaces are going to be a lot more common, both on the web and on your apps.

And the conversational interfaces don’t have to stop at text. They can be very multimodal. They can be around video with video generation as we’re seeing right now with [Apple’s] Vision Pro. [With this kind of AI technology] you can have this kind of conversation with other people.

You’re going to see it with voice as well to where you can actually talk to ChatGPT right now and have a conversation with it on your app.

I actually had some of my best conversations with AI and ChatGPT when I’m in the car driving.

So the future [of AI in higher education] is going to be around conversational interfaces. It’s going to be a lot easier to talk to your technology. It’s going to be a lot easier and more natural to get what you want.

I share Ardis’ optimism.

Imagine AI bots not only answering queries but also managing entire campaigns and student support systems autonomously!

For all of us, the goal of higher ed marketers should be to create an environment where technology supports every aspect of the student journey, thus enhancing their overall experience.

Final Thoughts

As AI continues to evolve, its applications in higher education will expand, offering new opportunities for engagement and efficiency.

For institutions looking to stay ahead, embracing these technologies is crucial.

To explore more about AI’s impact on higher education, listen to the full interview with Ardis Kadiu and dive deeper into the transformative potential of AI.

For additional insights and strategies on leveraging AI in higher education marketing, contact us today. We offer a custom 6-hour AI Masterclass where you’ll learn AI best practices, basic/advanced prompt design, and the best AI tools to use – with added time for workshopping through your specific organizational needs. Email us at wilson@caylor-solutions.com to learn more.

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Featured image by Spyrydon via Adobe Stock

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