Shayan Badiei received his B.Sc. in Computer Engineering (Software) from Islamic Azad University, Najafabad Branch, Iran.
Nowadays virtual communications and social networks play a significant role in people’s lives, and human-computer interaction is growing. Chatbot, which uses a conversational interface, is one of the tools for human-computer interaction. Chatbots can mimic human dialogues, hence people enjoy using them. These tools can be used in different domains, such as education, information retrieval, business, and e-commerce. The popularity of chatbots has resulted in the increase for their development. However, since chatbots are multi-dimensional software that use various technologies, such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing, their development is a complex, time-consuming, and costly task.
One of the main ideas that is used in software engineering to cope with the complexity, is to increase the level of abstraction and apply component-based development. Low-code development is one of the approaches that follows this idea, and along with the reduction in complexity, tries to generate the code automatically. In this study, a low-code framework, called Dana, is proposed for developing educational chatbots. The rationale for limiting the domain to educational chatbots is both the wide range of usage of such chatbots and being able to fully generate the code. Using Dana, the developer can develop educational chatbots in a short time without any expertise. The proposed framework is web-based and provides pages for designing the chatbot. At the end, using some simple configurations, the code of the chatbot is generated.
The evaluation of the framework is done in several steps. First, the scalability of the Dana framework is evaluated using four case studies. Then, the usability of the framework is evaluated by a questionnaire. Additionally, the generated educational chatbot is evaluated in terms of usability. Finally, a comparison is made between the present study and other related research in terms of the ability to make an educational chatbot.