The application of artificial intelligence chatbots is an emerging trend in educational technology studies for its multi-faceted advantages. However, the existing studies rarely take a perspective of educational technology application to evaluate the application of chatbots to educational contexts. This study aims to bridge the research gap by taking an educational perspective to review the existing literature on artificial intelligence chatbots.
This study combines bibliometric analysis and citation network analysis: a bibliometric analysis through visualization of keyword, authors, organizations and countries and a citation network analysis based on literature clustering.
Educational applications of chatbots are still rising in post-COVID-19 learning environments. Popular research issues on this topic include technological advancements, students’ perception of chatbots and effectiveness of chatbots in different educational contexts. Originating from similar technological and theoretical foundations, chatbots are primarily applied to language education, educational services (such as information counseling and automated grading), health-care education and medical training. Diversifying application contexts demonstrate specific purposes for using chatbots in education but are confronted with some common challenges. Multi-faceted factors can influence the effectiveness and acceptance of chatbots in education. This study provides an extended framework to facilitate extending artificial intelligence chatbot applications in education.
The authors have to acknowledge that this study is subjected to some limitations. First, the literature search was based on the core collection on Web of Science, which did not include some existing studies. Second, this bibliometric analysis only included studies published in English. Third, due to the limitation in technological expertise, the authors could not comprehensively interpret the implications of some studies reporting technological advancements. However, this study intended to establish its research significance by summarizing and evaluating the effectiveness of artificial intelligence chatbots from an educational perspective.
This study identifies the publication trends of artificial intelligence chatbots in educational contexts. It bridges the research gap caused by previous neglection of treating educational contexts as an interconnected whole which can demonstrate its characteristics. It identifies the major application contexts of artificial intelligence chatbots in education and encouraged further extending of applications. It also proposes an extended framework to consider that covers three critical components of technological integration in education when future researchers and instructors apply artificial intelligence chatbots to new educational contexts.
The authors would like to extend sincere gratitude to their funders, journal editors, anonymous reviewers, and all other participants who have offered help to review and publish this paper. The first author want to express his special gratitude to the supervisors for his MA program, Prof./Dr. Zhonggen Yu and Associate Prof./Dr. Yan Zhang.
Funding: This work is supported by 2019 MOOC of Beijing Language and Culture University (MOOC201902) (Important) “Introduction to Linguistics”; “Introduction to Linguistics” of online and offline mixed courses in Beijing Language and Culture University in 2020; Special fund of Beijing Co-construction Project-Research and reform of the “Undergraduate Teaching Reform and Innovation Project” of Beijing higher education in 2020-innovative “multilingual+” excellent talent training system (202010032003); The research project of Graduate Students of Beijing Language and Culture University “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” (SJTS202108).
Authors’ contributions: The conceptualization was performed by Yupeng Lin and Zhonggen Yu. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Yupeng Lin. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Yupeng Lin and was revised and edited by Yupeng Lin and Zhonggen Yu. The processes of investigation and writing were supervised by Zhonggen Yu. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Lin, Y. and Yu, Z. (2023), "A bibliometric analysis of artificial intelligence chatbots in educational contexts", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-12-2022-0165
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