Originally published: 14 August 2018
Written by: Lynsey Duncan
Studies are starting to show that in online courses, the most important type of engagement for learners is that between instructors and learners; however, instructors are quite busy and don’t always have time to do everything they want to. Adding automation through intelligent agents (IAs) is one way to boost individual interaction with your learners without requiring a lot of extra effort.
Intelligent agents are customizable messages automatically emailed to individual learners when they fulfill a particular task. For example, a teacher may choose to set an intelligent agent to let a student know when they have missed a deadline on an assignment, or a trainer may want to acknowledge an employee who achieved an exceptional score on a quiz.
Intelligent agents require initial set up (which can take less than 5 minutes!), then they work all on their own, in the background of a course. See the attached document for templates that align with most of the use cases below, to simplify your process of getting IAs into your course. Modify the language in the messages as needed, to suit your audience.
Common Use Cases for Intelligent Agents
Here are some of the most common situations where using an IA might be beneficial to your learners:
- Hasn’t accessed course in 2 weeks
- Incomplete tasks on a checklist
- Completed all tasks on a check list
- Earned 80% or higher on quiz/assignment
- Failed test
- Late assignment
- No posts authored in discussion topic
- Received a grade/feedback on an assignment
- Once a learner has reached a topic page in a long course to indicate half way or almost finished
IA Replace Strings
Replace strings help personalize the message being sent, such as addressing the email to the learner’s first name or indicating the date that a specific user last logged in the course. There are several replace strings that can be used in Intelligent Agents - here is the complete list. It is important to note, though, that some can be used only in the body of the message while others can also be used in the subject.
Video Instead of Text
Want to give your learners a break from reading yet another email? Why not record yourself delivering the IA message using Video Note (through Insert Stuff in the body of the email). This can help the learner feel even more connected to you.
Applying IAs to Announcements
Alternatively, instead of using intelligent agents, you can choose to send these automated messages through the Announcements tool instead, so they appear right on the learner’s homepage in the Announcement widget feed.
When using Announcements to send these messages, you do not need all of the additional settings in the attached document; you will only need to apply the name, body of message, and the release condition.