Using Skill Chatbot to Address India’s Skill Shortage and Unemployment

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations // India has a paradox of skilling where an acute shortage of skilled workforce, as well as high levels of unemployment, exists together. To address this and to ensure that India reaps the benefits of demographic dividend, it is critical to skill its youth population. Affordability and accessibility of avenues for skilling is still a challenge for uneducated and unqualified youth. They also require platforms for skilling that facilitate learning at their own pace and time, local language instruction, usage of multimedia formats to retain attention and minimal entry-level requirements. // In addition to the unemployed youth, India’s artisans and rural entrepreneurs would also benefit from the skilling on digital literacy, financial literacy, digital financial literacy, citizen services and data management. As per a baseline study undertaken by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and Commonwealth of Learning (COL), even when the artisans, weavers and rural entrepreneurs possess smartphones and access the internet, using smartphones to acquire new skills and conduct business is minimal. The majority of the respondents expressed interest in training in online commerce, social media marketing and online data management. It is in this context that Skill Bot becomes relevant. // Skillbot is a self-learning chatbot built on the Telegram platform. Telegram is a free, open-source and accessible messaging service. Unlike WhatsApp, which offers paid chatbot features, Telegram chatbots are completely free as well making them accessible to organizations. // Skillbot was developed by DEF and Commonwealth of Learning to teach digital literacy, financial literacy, citizen services and data management. Skillbot is multilingual and employs tutorial lessons, audio graphics, infographics, flashcards, interactive quizzes and activities for teaching. Since both Telegram and Skill Bot is free, easy to use and accessible, this provides a platform for those without access to formal avenues of learning to acquire the skillsets. Using the Skillbot requires basic digital literacy only. Additionally, since it is interactive with continuous assessment, learners can proceed at their own pace. So far, 2400 users have been accessing it. // From an organizational point of view also, Skillbot is a valuable tool. Covid-19 pandemic has restricted the ability of organizations to reach out to learners. Skillbot provides the opportunity to deliver content to a large demographic at a minimal cost. Organizations find it costly to build, manage, promote and maintain mobile applications or web-based learning management systems. Telegram also provides back end technical support, further reducing cost and labor. // Paper ID 0553

Self-Learners,Mobile Learning (mLearning),Skills Development,Employment