From next semester on, there will be a new feature on SHRIMP: A Chatbot! Students will be able to talk to our one and only aquatic team member and resident learning expert, Shrimpy, who will help them use and navigate the platform more easily and who will provide advice on how to learn more effectively. Here’s a picture of him:
Since the beginning of SHRIMP in 2015, we have worked to improve the platform continuously. One of our main goals is to further improve how the platform gives feedback to the students, and how it advises on how to study best. That’s why we came up with the idea of adding a chatbot that could answer usability questions, motivate, and offer learning advice tailored to the individual student.
Since the end of last year, we have thus been working on our chatbot. Not only did we program the chatbot and design the user interface. We also had to give the chatbot a character and face by carefully planning out the dialogs. We decided that it should be Shrimpy, our former mascot, talking to the students. We gave Shrimpy an elaborate personality and history, which will be explained to the students as soon they enter the platform.
Shrimpy as the character talking will function as a learning adviser and tutor for the students. It discusses learning activities, motivates, gives tips and explains the different tools to them. In the future, it will also suggest possible reading paths. It can also activate knowledge as well as provide assistance, for example, in processing challenges or using features.
Since we started working on the chatbot, we already created over 30 possible conversation for these different occasions. Whenever a conversation is triggered by an event, Shrimpy will start talking to the user. These events can be, for example, a certain usage time, a new badge, new challenges or tasks that have not been completed. Users can talk to Shrimpy by selecting answers. This way, they will advance the conversation and get the answers to their questions.
Creating a chatbot from scratch was a fascinating, sometimes challenging but cool experience for the entire SHRIMP team. But even though some details, dialogs or functions required a lot of thinking and discussing, we had a lot of fun working on this new part of the SHRIMP platform, and we are excited to roll out this feature in the Fall.
We hope that the use of SHRIMP will become even easier, more meaningful and more fun through a chatbot. Enjoy the new feature!