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Transforming Education with Artificial Intelligence: Unlocking Opportunities for Further Education

A wise philosopher once said “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.“


ChatGPT has catapulted the debate around Artificial Intelligence into mainstream media with promises that “This technology will profoundly transform how we live. “

Certainly, ChatGPT has created challenges for educationalists in the classroom and other applications of AI could prove very helpful to aid teaching methods.

Less has been said about the value of AI to help Further Education reduce Admin and increase satisfaction for Learners and Staff. The report published by Rule of 7 outlines several key applications of AI that can reduce costs, improve outcomes, and enhance student and staff satisfaction. We’ll discuss these applications and highlight how AI technology, once in the “Plateau of Productivity,” can revolutionise Further Education.

The Hype Cycle: Navigating AI’s Evolution

Gartner’s “Hype Cycle” model provides a compelling framework for understanding the journey of emerging technologies. In the education sector, AI has passed through the phases of hype and experimentation, leaving it poised for practical applications. AI encompasses a spectrum of technologies, ranging from basic programmable logic to advanced machine learning and generative AI. The true value of AI lies in its ability to apply advanced analysis and logic-based techniques to interpret events, automate decisions, and take actions.

Unlocking the Power of Machine Learning

AI, particularly machine learning, has made significant advancements in recent years. Gone are the days when creating a predictive algorithm or implementing machine learning required a substantial budget. Today, you can harness the power of AI for just a fraction of the cost. This opens the door to numerous possibilities for Further Education institutions.

For instance, machine learning can be used to analyse data and reveal critical insights, such as identifying which postcodes have the highest and lowest rates of student enrolment. It can also establish correlations between website data and student behaviour, enabling colleges to identify applicants more likely to start a course based on their online interactions. Additionally, machine learning can help create early warning indicators for students at risk of dropping out or improving pastoral care.

Triage for Efficient Admissions

One of the challenges in Further Education is effectively screening and triaging student applications. AI can streamline this process and ensure that only eligible and suitable students are admitted. By optimising web content and using chatbots to ask qualifying questions, institutions can route students to the appropriate admissions teams or alternative options. This not only reduces administrative costs but also enhances the overall experience for students and preserves the institution’s brand reputation.

Maximising Student Starts through Automation

Marketing automation platforms have emerged as powerful allies in helping students navigate the decision-making process. These platforms can send a sequence of personalized communications, such as emails and SMS, based on the recipient’s behaviour. By tailoring messages and testing different content, institutions can gain valuable insights into what students truly want. This automation not only keeps the college at the forefront of students’ minds but also minimizes enquiries and calls.

The versatile marketing automation platforms provide robust multichannel communication capabilities that enhance the institution’s brand image. These platforms have become significantly more affordable, making them a sound investment for increasing student enrolments and, consequently, college revenue.

Expanding AI Beyond Marketing

The value of marketing automation technology extends beyond marketing itself. It can also be applied to automate various processes and support other aspects of Further Education. For instance, onboarding new students can be significantly improved by adapting to their online behaviour and preferences. By automating reminders for appointments, interviews, and open days, institutions can boost student attendance and reduce dropout rates. This approach not only supports students but also helps colleges meet the standards set by education regulators like Ofsted.

Sustainability and Cost Control

An essential consideration in AI applications is ensuring long-term value. Institutions need to think of AI as a long-term investment, with the potential for continuous operational benefits. As AI technologies mature and become more affordable, it’s crucial to explore tried-and-tested applications that align with an institution’s objectives. The Rule of 7 emphasizes the importance of AI that has already passed the “hype” phase and proven its operational value.


The integration of AI in Further Education holds great promise for reducing costs, improving outcomes, and increasing student and staff satisfaction. As AI technology matures and becomes more accessible, colleges and universities can harness its potential to enhance the quality of education and streamline administrative processes. By embracing the practical applications of AI, Further Education institutions can position themselves as forward-thinking leaders in the education sector, making education more accessible, efficient, and personalized for students.

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