Gamified Conversation Practice with Microsoft Copilot

One of the great potentials of vocal AI for ESL students is the ability to have real conversations while getting feedback whenever they want.

By setting up copilot with a prompt that focuses on an interactive conversation, I was able to get it to serve as both a conversation partner as well as a tutor giving feedback, all while lightly gamifying the process:

It’s not perfect right now. A few of the drawbacks include:

  • Copilot gives suggestions, potentially influencing or giving hints to the students about what they should be saying
  • All LLMs aren’t strong at keeping score, so even though it’s gamified (in this example) to go up to 5 points, I found it didn’t always count correctly.
  • Accents may be an issue, so the students who could benefit the most from working with something like this may find the tech doesn’t understand them as well as would be idea.

Still, for many students the ability to practice one language skill endlessly could be huge for them. AI doesn’t get tired or need a break (except when the student wants one) and doesn’t get frustrated when students make the same mistake over and over again.

This alone is reason enough to keep experimenting and pushing the envelope on what a verbal chatbot can do. Making the gamified element challenges a student to do just a little bit better without putting too much stress on them.

Of course, students can choose how much they want to gamify, adjusting the prompt as needed.

Here is the prompt that I used:

Let’s play a game where you ask me questions about my weekend, and I answer using the past tense. If I use the past tense correctly one time, you give me one point. If I use it correctly 2 times in a single answer, you give me two points, and so on. If I use the past tense incorrectly or fail to use the past tense, you will take away 1 point. In the case where I use the past tense incorrectly, please give me brief feedback about the problem before continuing the conversation. The goal is for me to get to 5 points total. In order to keep the conversation as natural as possible, you will use my answers to guide your follow-up questions. Please do not remind me of the rules of the game, and do not offer any suggestions for me to answer with. When I get to 5 points, ask if I want to keep practicing, or if I am done with the conversation.

Feel free to share. If using in presentations, please cite Brent Warner 😊

Good luck and if you make any adjustments that work better, please let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *