Utilizing GenAI Tools in Higher Education: Revolutionizing Learning and Teaching
Dimitris Pantazatos, Maria Grammatikou

Integrating Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) technologies in higher education marks a significant shift in traditional teaching methodologies. GenAI tools like large language models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT [1], offer personalized, interactive, and adaptive learning experiences. This shift addresses diverse student needs and enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills, promising to transform the educational landscape. This article will briefly overview the integration of GenAI tools in higher education, exploring their potential benefits, challenges, and practical implementation.

Enhancing Learning Experiences

GenAI technologies provide a unique opportunity to enhance learning experiences in higher education. These tools enable educators to create more engaging and interactive learning environments. By leveraging GenAI tools, educators can provide personalized feedback, tailor content to individual student needs, and promote active learning.

A study by Yilmaz and Karaoglan Yilmaz [2] demonstrated that AI-driven tools could significantly boost student engagement and motivation, leading to improved learning outcomes. Their research highlighted how AI tools could cater to various learning styles and preferences, making education more inclusive and effective​​.

Furthermore, Singh and Singh [3] explored how AI technologies facilitate differentiated learning. Their study showed that AI tools could adapt to individual student needs, providing customized learning experiences that enhance understanding and retention of material​​. This personalized approach ensures that all students can achieve their full potential regardless of their starting point.

Developing Essential Soft Skills

One of the significant benefits of integrating GenAI tools in higher education is their potential to develop essential soft skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving. These skills are increasingly important in today’s digital age, where the ability to think critically and solve complex problems is highly valued.

A study conducted by Pantazatos et al. [4] focused on the impact of a ChatGPT-based virtual assistant in a university-level network management course. The study found that using this AI tool significantly enhanced students’ critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The virtual assistant provided interactive and adaptive learning experiences, encouraging students to engage deeply with the material and think critically about their responses​​.

Moreover, the study highlighted the importance of these skills in network management, which requires a high level of problem-solving and critical thinking. By integrating GenAI tools, educators can better prepare students for the challenges of the professional world, ensuring they possess the necessary skills to succeed.

Addressing Challenges and Ethical Considerations

Despite GenAI tools’ promising potential, their integration into higher education has several challenges and ethical considerations. Trust and transparency are crucial factors that need to be addressed to ensure the effective use of these tools. Peres et al. [5] emphasized the necessity for ethical AI integration and transparency in using AI-generated content. Their research highlighted the importance of fostering a trust-based relationship between students and AI tools to enhance learning outcomes. Ethical considerations include ensuring that AI tools do not perpetuate existing biases, spread misinformation, or compromise student privacy​​.

Furthermore, Haque et al. [6] explored the interplay between students’ trust in GenAI tools and their motivation, confidence, and academic performance. Their study underscored the importance of building trust in these technologies to improve learning outcomes. Students who trust AI tools are likelier to engage with them, leading to better educational experiences​​.

Practical Implementation of GenAI Tools

Implementing GenAI tools in higher education requires careful planning and strategic integration. Effective prompt engineering is essential for creating impactful interactions between students and AI tools. Korzynski et al. [7] introduced the AI PROMPT framework, providing a structured methodology for crafting effective AI prompts. This framework ensures that AI interactions are clear, contextually rich, and capable of promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills​​. The AI PROMPT framework consists of several key elements:

  • Articulate the Instruction: Clearly define the task or question to ensure the AI understands the context.
  • Indicate the Prompt Elements: Specify the components of the prompt to guide the AI’s response.
  • Provide Ending Cues and Context: Include cues to signal the end of the prompt and provide contextual information.
  • Refine Instructions to Avoid Ambiguity: Ensure instructions are unambiguous to prevent misunderstandings.
  • Offer Feedback and Examples: Provide feedback and examples to guide the AI’s responses.
  • Manage Interaction: Facilitate a dynamic interaction between the AI and the user.
  • Track Token Length and Task Complexity: Monitor the length and complexity of the prompts to maintain clarity and relevance.

These elements are crucial for creating effective prompts that enhance the learning experience. By employing this framework, educators can ensure that GenAI tools are used effectively to support student learning.

Case Study: ChatGPT-Based Virtual Assistant in Network Management Education

The practical implementation of GenAI tools can be illustrated through a case study involving a ChatGPT-based virtual assistant in a network management course in which 18 students participated. This study, conducted by Pantazatos et al. [4], aimed to assess the virtual assistant’s impact on developing students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills​​.

The virtual assistant was designed to provide interactive and adaptive learning experiences. It engaged students in problem-solving scenarios, encouraging them to think critically about their responses. The assistant facilitated a dialogue-centric environment where prompts and responses evolved in a dynamic conversation, mimicking human-like exchanges.

The study involved a pre- and post-intervention survey in evaluating changes in students’ self-assessments of their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The results showed a significant improvement in these skills following the intervention, as it is shown in the table below:

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Comparison
SkillMean (Pre-Intervention)Mean (Post-Intervention)T-StatisticP-Value
Critical Thinking3.674.39-3.200.0053
Table  1. Comparison of Mean Self-Assessment Scores for Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills Pre- and Post-Intervention

The mean score for critical thinking increased from 3.67 in the pre-intervention survey to 4.39 in the post-intervention survey. Similarly, the mean score for problem-solving skills rose from 3.83 to 4.50. Statistical analysis using paired t-tests confirmed the significance of these improvements, with p-values of 0.0053 for critical thinking and 0.0037 for problem-solving skills (confidence level 95%). In addition, students reported higher levels of engagement and satisfaction with the learning process, highlighting the effectiveness of the GenAI tool. This use case was supported and implemented during the SOULSS project activities.


Integrating GenAI tools in higher education presents an exciting frontier for enhancing learning and teaching methodologies. These tools offer significant benefits, including personalized learning experiences, enhanced student engagement, and the developing of critical soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. However, their successful implementation requires careful consideration of ethical issues, trust-building, and strategic planning.

As technology continues to evolve, the potential for GenAI tools to revolutionize education will only grow. Future research should explore these tools’ broader implications and applications across various educational settings and disciplines. Based on this, future research should employ a larger, more diverse sample and a Randomized Control Trial design to assess the impact of AI tools in education more robustly. In addition, more use cases for various fields, such as engineering or natural sciences, should be employed and examined using various LLMs and not only based on the most popular, like chatGPT. By doing so, educators can ensure that GenAI tools are harnessed effectively, creating a dynamic, inclusive, and forward-thinking educational landscape that prepares students for the challenges of the digital age.


[1] OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model]. OpenAI. Retrieved from https://www.openai.com/chatgpt

[2] Yilmaz, R., & Karaoglan Yilmaz, F. G. (2023). The effect of generative artificial intelligence (AI)-based tool use on students’ computational thinking skills, programming self-efficacy, and motivation. Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence, 4. doi:10.1016/j.caeai.2023.100147.

[3] Singh, H., & Singh, M. H. (2014). Differentiating Classroom Instruction to Cater Learners of Different Styles. Indian Journal Of Applied Research. doi:10.15373/22501991/December2014/25.

[4] Pantazatos, D., Grammatikou, M., & Maglaris, V. (2023). Enhancing soft skills in network management education: A study on the impact of GenAI-based virtual assistants. In proc. of IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference – EDUCON 2024.

[5] Peres, R., Schreier, M., Schweidel, D., & Sorescu, A. (2023). On ChatGPT and beyond: How generative artificial intelligence may affect research, teaching, and practice. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 40(2), 269–275. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2023.03.001.

[6] Haque, S., Eberhart, Z., Bansal, A., & McMillan, C. (2022). Semantic Similarity Metrics for Evaluating Source Code Summarization. IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension.

[7] Korzynski, P., Mazurek, G., Krzypkowska, P., & Kurasinski, A. (2023). Artificial intelligence prompt engineering as a new digital competence: Analysis of generative AI technologies such as ChatGPT. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 11(3), 25–37. doi:10.15678/EBER.2023.110302.