ChatGPT and P2P breakthrough solutions and savings in educational experience design in online learning
Educational (learning) experience design is a cutting-edge trend. Its main difference from other approaches is that the focus is not on the program itself, but on the experience that the student gets.[1] And it's best to pay attention to the emotional aspect as much as to the subject itself and the ways to receive knowledge and competencies. [2] The emotional aspect affects learning too.
Emotional influence can be longlasting. If we like learning, we master the content better, and we are looking forward for other training programs. The motivation is growing. [3]
Generally, we can distinguish two areas of experience design:
  1. Personalized: the focus is on each person.
  2. Mass-oriented: the focus is on the majority. It may seem that the mass-oriented focus is less demanding: you determine what is suitable for the majority and direct all resourses to it. If we speak about an average number of students, it may be true. But if you need to teach less than 20 or more than 300 people, it can be much more profitable to lay down a personalized approach in terms of both cost and value for your client (that is, on their retention and repeated training).
Attention to feedback from the student
The most important thing in experience designing is to build a system with constant appeal to the student. First, get introductory information about the student, then offer a real individual trajectory, and ask again — constantly analyze and implement feedback results.
What should you ask first?
The information can be divided into 3 important groups:
  1. Goal setting: individual goals of the student. Keep in mind here that you need to define real goals, not formal ones which are the easiest to name. It's more about learning to code in order to make a program which will help the student's grandmother to search for information about discounts in a store, rather than about "structuring knowledge".
  2. Organizational features: preferred formats and modes, features of training. What time of day is more convenient to study; reading, listening or watching; tests or essays; group or individual classes.
  3. Emotional background: what they like to watch, what kind of music they prefer, what calms them and what unnerves them, what colors they like. Strange? For the usual learning design — yes, it is unusual. But if you think about how you yourself would like to study, the answer to such a question already raises awareness and subjectivity of the student. And this means engagement and, as a result, greater efficiency. And when you see that your preferences have been taken into account, you get even more engaged. This was reflected in the Hawthorne experiments.
You need to adjust the learning process taking into account the feedback from your students. You can't ask for feedback and then do nothing about it — it is important to calculate resources, plan the whole algorithm.
Of course, in real life, there is often lack of fundings from the organization, and authors do not have enough time, for the fullfledged profound process with all the necessary variations. When there are not enough resources, focusing and prioritization become especially important. In case of online learning, what are the priorities? Where should we put the focus, remembering that time and money are not limitless? How can resources be saved when designing an online learning experience?
Architecture of learning processes
Online learning initially is built on the salutary technologies. "Salutary" because, with the proper process architecture, they can lift a large load from professors and teachers, content authors, methodologists and administrators. This proper architecture is a big and important matter. And, of course, there are some tricks and lifehacks. Let's discuss some of them.
ChatGPT as a learning assistant
Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer is a "smart" technology for maintaining a conversation. In fact, this engine combines the functions of a teacher, a methodologist and a search engine. Moreover, the focus is on the teaching and methodological functions. Students write questions and receive answers in a live language.
Surely, getting prompt answers to questions like "When do I submit the work?", "Can I use 10 sources instead of 40?" is very convenient. By the way, for most of the questions that students have, a regular chatbot, not even as high-end as ChatGPT, will be enough.
Designing educational experience with the use of cutting-edge technologies is quite easy. At the first stage, you need to think about what technology to use in different pieces of the process and the system.
Why? For example, in order to:
  • give prompt and correct answers to students' questions (answering promptly is important);
  • help to choose sources;
  • capture the dynamics of the learning process to increase efficiency and satisfaction.
Isn't it scary to voluntarily include such a thing in the educational process? Imagine a ballpoint pen. You can write beautiful poems with it, or you can harm someone. There's something similar with ChatGPT. It is important to know the features and weaknesses, to use the tool correctly. If you do, it is not scary at all — it is very useful.
P2P or mutual learning
The general trend of the modern world is decentralization. It allows you to use resources more wisely, make the system more reliable and win trust of the users. There are also many opportunities for decentralization in education. Some of them are:
  • P2P is a relatively new term, but it is not a new thing in teaching at all. Some adults remember that at school the teacher attracted excellent students to check the test work of other pupils in the class. This can be considered a prototype of P2P.
  • Learning in groups is a common thing. This format is not used actively, although it can help with many tasks. But we're not talking about it now.
Now I'd like to talk about peer-to-peer learning, when students teach one another. Students often master the content of the training to varying degrees. If we speak about teaching adults, sometimes students may know certain topics deeper than the teacher. If we design the mechanics of mutual teaching within the educational experience framework, it is quite possible to save resources and increase efficiency. The conveyance of the acquired knowledge is one of the reliable ways to consolidate it.
Partnership of students
What we are talking about is students joining pairs or groups based on interests, goals or other reasons. Associations may be temporary, or they may be permanent, lasting throughout the entire learning process. Now many universities offer senior students to help the juniors get used to learning. You can develop this practice even further, and for this, you need to do the following:
  • make the "senior-junior" combination principle optional;
  • add systematizing educational focuses, such as similar learning or work goals, academic success and development zones;
  • introduce convenient technical tools for finding like-minded people, connecting with them, maintaining contact.
There are also a few time and money saving lifehacks that could help "modernize" educational experience. For instance, UGC — user generated content — introducing student-created materials into learning.
A process based on constant feedback from students
What's most important is that you should remember that educational experience design, resource saving or not, online or offline, is always an open, live, constantly self-correcting process. Best to see it this way from the very beginning. The algorithm looks like this:
  1. First, you should develop the main idea, collect feedback on it from all your students, correct it according to the feedback you collected.
  2. Then you inform them about new opportunities, and then again, collect feedback and implement it.
  3. It,s necessary to design role models, show exactly how the system works. How people get into it, what they feel, what benefits they get, how they get out of it.
  4. Supporting the process, constantly collecting data about it, analyzing and improving it is a must! Living systems always learn in the course of their work. This principle applies here as well.
  5. Fixing the result seems obvious. It's necessary to understand how effective is what you do. But very often this step is only done on paper, only indicators set from outside the system, for example, by state requirements, are measured. Though it's better to measure the result inside the system, according to the development strategy and to the goals you set. Often, real results are measured by parameters that do not matter much for formal checks. For example, this is an increase in engagement, an increase in academic performance due to the introduction of specific elements of educational experience design, an increase in the effectiveness of professional self-fulfillment.
As a convenient guide to action, you can use the behavioral approach here [4].
It is important that this will not reduce learning to behavioral practice. On the contrary, the use of tools and principles of the behavioral approach can and should encourage the growth of subjectivity in learning, self-motivation, self-fulfillment skill growth.
When educational experience is designed for the comfort of students, when everyone understands how to succeed without ignoring their own traits and qualities, how to achieve goals or abandon them, it's much easier to understand oneself, one's strengths and weaknesses. When you understand yourself, it's much easier to plan how to achieve goals without breakdowns and tears, upgrade your self-fulfillment skills, find and keep your inner motivation for development. Not in spite, but because.
  1. Smyslova, S. (2022). Designing educational experience. Moscow, Russia.
  2. Huiying L. (2008). Research of emotion functions in studying activity of learners. Bulletin of the Moscow University. Series 20. Pedagogical education, 2, 78–89.
  3. Gordeeva, T., Leontiev, D. (Ed.), Osin E. (2011). Contribution of personal potential to academic achievements // Personal potential: structure and diagnostics. Moscow, Russia: Smysl. — 2011.
  4. Thaler, R. (2017). New behavioral economics. Why people violate the rules of the traditional economy and how to make money on it.
Ekaterina Yadova
Ph.D., MBA
Head of the educational companies and projects
20+ years at Foxford, Moscow Business School, Moscow Technological Institute Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Competenciesт Development Centre at Institute of Regional Development.
Expert focused on new education, technology and people: "Personnel for the Digital Economy", marteka, EduNet, "Priority 2030".