WhatsApp for Education – A Complete Guide
In the post-COVID era, the world of education has undergone a drastic change. From March 2020, several schools, universities, and other learning institutes had to temporarily close their doors to meet the mandatory requirements related to national lockdowns and social distancing. According to UNESCO, in the first week of April 2020, the pandemic had negatively affected almost 1.3 billion learners worldwide. As of July 2021, around 31 million learners are still out of the classroom and lacking access to in-person instruction. These unprecedented trends increase the need for newer, more innovative, and “virtual” ways of learning.
Enter – EdTech.
In 2019, global EdTech investments had crossed $18 billion. By 2025, the online education market is expected to top $350 billion. Technologies like the cloud, mobile computing, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are among the key drivers of these trends. Chat applications like WhatsApp for education and WhatsApp EdTech chatbots are also helping to usher in the Golden Age of EdTech.
The use of WhatsApp in education is already making waves in the sector. In the coming years, WhatsApp in education will help democratize learning and empower educators and educational institutions to disseminate knowledge to more learners than would ever be possible with the traditional, in-person education system.
This blog aims to unpack the advantages of WhatsApp for educational purposes.
- What are the advantages of online teaching through WhatsApp?
- What are the benefits of WhatsApp for students?
- How does WhatsApp teaching differ from in-person teaching?
- What do WhatsApp online classes look like?
- What are some other use cases of WhatsApp for education?
All these questions are answered in the coming sections.
Education, WhatsApp, and the Post-COVID World
Around the world, WhatsApp boasts approximately 2 billion active monthly users, eclipsing other popular apps like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Twitter, and Snapchat. In April 2021 alone, WhatsApp was downloaded 13 million times. Available in 180 out of 195 countries and 60 languages, over 100 billion messages are sent via WhatsApp every single day. Best of all, WhatsApp is free to download and use.
WhatsApp is already the default means of person-to-person communication in many countries. But all these advantages make it the perfect tool for virtual education and learning as well. Millions of students in both developed and developing countries now use WhatsApp for educational purposes – to learn remotely, connect with teachers and classmates, and enhance their knowledge and skills. Online classes through WhatsApp almost eliminate the need for face-to-face lectures, ensuring the safety of everyone involved without compromising the quality of instruction or the learning ability of students. These are vital advantages in a post-COVID world where physical classrooms and face-to-face learning are now rarer than ever before.
WhatsApp for Education: Disseminating Learning in Low-Connectivity Locations
WhatsApp enables seamless, anytime communication between students and teachers. It is ideal for use in low-Internet areas and schools with the necessary digital resources for online teaching.
WhatsApp is also a fundamental tool for teachers who only have essential smartphones without support for modern Internet-based collaboration or communication tools like Zoom or Google Meet. Through the app’s user-friendly, familiar interface, they can run online classes through WhatsApp to meet their teaching goals and help students meet their learning goals. Thus, even amid technological limitations, the use of WhatsApp in education ensures that student learning continues and that schools can keep their doors open – figuratively, if not literally!
Community-based Teaching and Learning with WhatsApp
In addition to offering a highly accessible, easy-to-use, and low-connectivity platform for teachers, WhatsApp is also an excellent tool for community-based learning. Around the world, non-profit groups leverage WhatsApp to disseminate free learning resources to marginalized children. They often deploy WhatsApp content in multiple formats to provide broader and more equitable learning opportunities for children who lack learning and development resources.
Unlike traditional classroom learning, which is often one-way and reactive, WhatsApp is much more dynamic and proactive. Learners can not only listen to, watch and learn from their teachers from the safety of their own homes; they can also access numerous resources and materials in real-time to solidify their learning. Furthermore, they can complete assessments at home under the supervision of a parent or guardian, submit them to the teacher, and even discuss them via a class with WhatsApp. These benefits enable deeper, community-oriented learning that creates better results in learning retention and knowledge up-gradation.
Other Compelling Advantages of WhatsApp for Education
Teachers can leverage WhatsApp for online teaching to deliver lectures in a virtual environment. To support their teaching objectives and enhance students’ learning and retention, they can provide videos, audio clips, PPTs, notes, assessments, and other resources to ensure that students continue to learn, even outside the physical boundaries of the traditional classroom.
WhatsApp supports free voice and video calls so teachers and students can stay in touch, even outside stipulated study periods. Teachers can also send timely reminders or notifications about exams, homework due dates, etc., to keep students engaged with the learning material and the subject.
As required, instructors can follow up with students one-on-one to maintain the pace of their educational progress. This can be especially beneficial for students who struggle to keep up with the rest of the class or are too shy or intimidated to open up about their struggles in a public setting like a school classroom. Teachers can stay in touch with such students and even give them extra attention to boost their confidence and improve their learning outcomes.
More advantages of WhatsApp in education:
- Stimulates a dynamic learning environment
- Facilitates rich interactions and 24×7 learning even outside the classroom
- Encourages real-time communication between teachers and students, and teachers and parents
- Fosters collaboration between students so they can learn better together
- Share educational resources to match the learning styles and needs of different students
- A familiar, comfortable interface that students love to use for learning
WhatsApp for Teachers’ Professional Development
As we have already seen, WhatsApp is changing the face of education all over the world. But in addition to creating beautiful opportunities (and results) for students, WhatsApp is also beneficial for training (or re-training) teachers, particularly in the post-pandemic era.
In some parts of the world, WhatsApp-based teacher training programs for foundational literacy, numeracy, etc., have helped close subject knowledge gaps and reinforced previous training. They have also facilitated rich discussions where teachers (and teachers’ teachers) shared knowledge, experiences, best practices, and learnings to make them better educators for the students in their charge.
Advantages of WhatsApp EdTech Chatbots
A WhatsApp EdTech chatbot enables educational institutions to introduce automation into many processes. This not only saves time and effort for staff but also allows students to access the information they need quickly and in a low-friction format.
Student 1 wants to know the last date for applying.
Parent 1 is looking for information for a particular course or field of study.
Student 2 is thinking of dropping the subject and needs impartial, friendly guidance.
Alumna 1 wants to contribute to the university’s Alumni Fund but is unsure of the process.
A WhatsApp chatbot can be set up to address all these needs in a simple, automated, yet personalized way.
With a tailored Conversational AI-powered WhatsApp-based chatbot, educational institutions can:
- Improve the quality of their administration and services
- Increase student engagement through familiarity, convenience, and ease of use
- Resolve issues quickly and in a way that feels natural and seamless to users
- Tailor conversational flows for users
- Assist prospective, current, and past students, and thus maintain solid and mutually beneficial relationships
- Automate data collection and communications to design personalized marketing campaigns
Best of all, it’s not even difficult to build a WhatsApp EdTech chatbot. With a no-code chatbot builder like Gupshup, any learning institution (school, college, university, etc.) can create a WhatsApp chatbot for compelling, natural, and omnichannel conversational experiences.
The Gupshup bot-builder platform offers many other advantages that simplify EdTech chatbot creation and deployment:
- Easy-to-use, drag-and-drop builder interface
- Conditional logic triggered by user responses
- Contextual understanding for smooth conversation flows
- Rich answers and support for multiple media
- Pre-designed templates to speed up bot creation
- Smooth bot-to-human conversational handoffs
WhatsApp EdTech Chatbot: Important Use Cases
WhatsApp is so versatile that its usefulness goes beyond online teaching and learning. A WhatsApp-based EdTech chatbot can be used in numerous ways in the education sector, not only by students and teachers but also by marketers, administrators, alumni liaisons, registration/enrolment staff, student support staff, etc.
WhatsApp for Education, Gupshup for Education
After COVID, increasing digitization and virtualization have impacted every aspect of the human experience. This includes education, learning, and development. WhatsApp for education already has so many practical applications that it’s now hard to imagine the world of knowledge without it.
Teachers and educational institutions can now conduct online classes through WhatsApp. They can also share learning materials, communicate with learners 1×1, and nurture a positive, collaborative social atmosphere that enhances learning for all kinds of students. Moreover, they can send updates and notifications, share relevant information about exams, and keep students engaged and interested with fun quizzes and assessments.
But as we have seen in this blog, the use of WhatsApp in education goes beyond teaching and learning. Educational institutes, marketers, and administrators can also leverage the power of WhatsApp EdTech chatbots to generate and nurture new leads, engage with current students, re-engage with ex-students, simplify several administrative processes, and generally reduce stress for all stakeholders.
So, for educators looking for a user-friendly, low-friction way to leverage WhatsApp for their needs – there’s no better time than now. And there’s no better bot-builder platform than Gupshup! Learn more about our affordable, low-code bot-builder platform that can be effortlessly customized for use in the education sector.