Posted on: March 18, 2022
Author: Harbinger Interactive Learning
Chatbots: A Good Way to Engage and Enable Learners image

This article was previously published by Harbinger Interactive Learning  and is republished here with permission because IACET deemed it to be a resource that is relevant to IACET stakeholders.

We’ve come a long way from the Turing test-Eliza to Siri-ALEXA-Google Assistant since the evolution of chatbots in 1950, when Alan Turing, an English computer scientist, published “Computer Machinery and Intelligence.” The journey has been long, and manifestations have been far and wide. Organizations are relying on chatbots for enabling them to provide proactive customer service and also helping them to deliver scalable, personalized solutions. Chatbots in the workplace, as trainers and mentors, can have a significant impact on learning outcomes.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the different types of chatbots that are utilized based on their capability to deliver specific solutions. I will elaborate the concept further by providing a case study of a real-life chatbot solution deployment for a quick-service restaurant.

Types of Chatbots

Chatbots are classified into three types based on their capabilities:

  1. Simple chatbots,
  2. Smart chatbots,
  3. and Hybrid chatbots.

Simple chatbots or FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) bots have a predetermined flow or questions. They are rule-based, task-specific with minimal capabilities. When interacting with users, these chatbots do not infer anything from previous interactions or conversations. Instead, they follow predefined paths. During the chat, the user may be prompted to select options related to their query. The chatbot then identifies the next step in the conversation based on the user’s current selection. These chatbots are well-structured and compatible with customer-service functions, and they can be viewed as an IVRS (Interactive Voice Response system) on the chat.

Simple chatbots are very effective for learning the tasks or operations which have unique business rules and often undergo changes, like SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) at healthcare organizations. Compliance training can be another good candidate for a simple chatbot.

By 2024, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $9.4 billion.

Smart chatbots are AI (Artificial Intelligence) enabled and are designed to simulate near-human interactions with customers. These chatbots can hold natural-language conversations and understand intent, language, and sentiments. These chatbots need programming to understand the context. They require a lot of data to comprehend and are difficult to implement. Smart chatbots have been tweaked to create virtual assistants. Siri, Amazon Alexa, for example, accumulate knowledge from every human interaction. AI-powered bots can quickly adapt to each individual’s learning needs and help them obtain a more meaningful learning experience.

Hybrid chatbots meet that middle ground. They’re a combination of simple and smart chatbots. Hybrid chatbots can understand intent and context and do some rule-based tasks, making them a balanced instrument for consumer interaction. When used in eLearning, hybrid chatbots can improve both learning efficiency and user experiences.

Chatbots have seen their full potential in customer support, product support, sales support, travel booking, and more. However, chatbots in learning and development have not been explored to their full potential.

Chatbots are becoming an integral part of enterprise training. One such use case is content curation and presenting information to employees in the flow of work. In light of new technologies and easy access to constant connectivity, learners’ expectations and behaviors continue to change. Learners now do not want to wait for L&D (learning and development) teams to run a training class or eLearning module. A chatbot can become the differentiator by bringing information/knowledge on-demand in the form of micro-nuggets. This eliminates the requirement for a learner to go through a complete course to comprehend a concept or acquire an inevitable fact.

Case Study: Chatbot for Quick Service Restaurant

At Harbinger Interactive Learning, we implemented a chatbot at a large enterprise.

The quick-service restaurant chain had floating staff, and hence training them on the various operations of the restaurant was a challenging task for the L&D team. The following were the significant challenges faced by the L&D team:

  • The information was scattered across several documents and in multiple formats.
  • The staff came from multiple linguistic backgrounds.
  • The staff used email to ask questions or seek responses to their queries, and the process was person-dependent.

To overcome these challenges, Harbinger eLearning experts implemented an AI-based chatbot solution having the following unique differentiators:

  • The chatbot was voice-enabled and could take queries and respond in multiple languages. This not only helped minimize individual dependency but also overcome linguistic barriers.
  • The chatbot was able to search through documents from many sources and deliver precise information about the document.

AI-based chatbot business benefits

  • Cost Advantage: The enterprise saved costs on creating courses specific to operational information. A major advantage was that the learners got information when needed, in the flow of work.
  • Enhanced Efficiency: The operational efficiency also increased, thereby helping the staff to serve the customer better.

Future Enhancement Plan

The solution has a potential for further enhancement.

The chatbot can be upgraded by presenting an analytics dashboard. This dashboard can monitor frequently asked questions and offer insight to the L&D team so that they can optimize their training/onboarding activities and other learning initiatives.

About the Author


Harbinger Interactive Learning is a global design and development company specializing in eLearning modernization, learning experience design, and custom eLearning solution development. Harbinger has over 25 years of experience in building custom learning for top-notch global companies and renowned training & development organizations, for improving performance and business outcomes through impactful eLearning solutions.

With a vision of 'Transforming lives at every workplace', we keep working towards developing innovative learning solutions that could help organizations. Our design and development capabilities extend from a deep understanding of learning, strong skills in instructional design, visual design, and expertise in digital learning technologies.

  • Our key service offerings include:
  • eLearning Modernization
  • Custom eLearning Development
  • Game-based Learning
  • Interactive videos
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Learning Technology Development
  • Microlearning
  • Virtual Instructor-led Training
  • AI-powered learning solutions

Harbinger has been appreciated by various learning and development analyst bodies from time to time. Harbinger Interactive Learning has been winning Brandon Hall Awards consistently from 2017 to 2021. Harbinger has been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year’ category of the prestigious Learning Technology Awards for two consecutive years. We have also been conferred with the Chief Learning Officer Award and Training Magazine Networks Choice Awards 2021 in gamification and Custom Content/Program Development

For more information, visit or contact at 425.861.8400.

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