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Socratic Dialogues for Learning: Towards AI-Enabled Active Learning

Lucile Favero (Ph.D. Student)

This thesis will explore the effectiveness of employing a Socratic approach to the development of chatbots with a particular focus on educational settings, with a specific focus on fostering active learning, critical thinking, and knowledge retention. Building upon existing literature on the Socratic Method in education and the potential of leveraging chatbots for learning, this thesis will first develop a Socratic chatbot. Furthermore, it will carry out a comparative analysis between traditional teaching methods, standard chatbots, and a specially-designed Socratic chatbot. Metrics for evaluation will include the depth of reasoning, knowledge retention, learner engagement, and critical thinking skills. An additional layer of this study will scrutinize the influence of power and trust dynamics on the learning process when interacting with a bot. Given the importance of emotions in learning, the research performed in this thesis will explore the challenges and value of incorporating emotional intelligence features in the chatbot to adapt to the emotional and mental states of the students. The ultimate goal is to create a more intellectually stimulating and emotionally supportive learning environment. The findings derived from this thesis aim to offer valuable insights and implications in the design of AI-based conversational agents for learning.

Primary Host: Nuria Oliver (ELLIS Alicante Unit Foundation | Institute of Humanity-centric AI)
Exchange Host: Tanja Käser (EPFL)
PhD Duration: 01 November 2023 - 01 November 2026
Exchange Duration: 01 June 2025 - 31 December 2025 - Ongoing