AI for Learning: Students’ Perceptions and Use of ChatGPT

Jonathan PHAN and Jessie TENG
Centre for English Language Communication (CELC)

Editor’s Note: Jonathan and Jessie reflect further on results of the survey they conducted to find out students’ perceptions and use of ChatGPT as a learning tool in their English communications course, particularly the extent to which AI has enhanced their students’ educational experience. 
They first shared this study at HECC 2023 under the sub-theme “AI and Education”.


Phan-Teng-anchor pic Jessie (with Jonathan) present their study during HECC 2023.

Phan, J., & Teng, J. (2024, May 30). AI for learning: Students’ perceptions and use of ChatGPT. Teaching Connections.


When ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot and Large Language Model (LLM) developed by OpenAI, was launched on 30 November 2022, it became an option for university students to use the AI tool for academic purposes. Those who have embraced ChatGPT are optimistic on its use in education (Limna et al., 2023; Ngo, 2023), due to its benefit as a learning resource (Elkhodr et al., 2023). However, there are students who do not use them regularly (Singh et al., 2023), since they feel that the answers are not always accurate (Shoufan, 2023), and prefer to use it only as an additional resource (Kanabar, 2023).


As tutors in an undergraduate English language communication course at the National University of Singapore (NUS) (ES2631 “Critique and Communication of Thinking and Design”), we were curious about how our students perceive and use ChatGPT, as well as the corresponding impact on them. Therefore, we administered a survey questionnaire in September 2023 that contained thirty-four 5-point Likert questions and two open-ended questions, for which we received thirty-nine responses.


The survey results show that our students have a positive perception of ChatGPT, which is in line with the findings of previous studies (Limna et al., 2023; Ngo, 2023). The majority of our survey respondents reported using ChatGPT in their assignments to summarise texts (76.9%) and collect information to formulate ideas (71.8%), which suggests that they perceive the output of ChatGPT as a useful learning resource (Elkhodr et al., 2023). Respondents also described positive impacts on their learning, primarily in increasing their confidence, motivation and language skills. However, the extent of their use and consequently its impact appear to depend on the type of assignment or subject, and the complexity of the task.


Although our students view the use of ChatGPT in a positive light, they are also aware of its limitations, particularly in terms of its accuracy. One student stated that “ChatGPT is highly inaccurate and therefore unreliable”, a view supported by two other respondents who commented that the information provided by ChatGPT “may not be accurate” and could be riddled with “imaginary references”. In addition, our students noted that the quality of the output obtained from ChatGPT depends on the prompts used, where the use of “specific” prompts would facilitate the effectiveness and ease of using the AI tool. Some students also expressed concerns surrounding the use of ChatGPT, which include the issue of using ChatGPT to cheat and plagiarise, and increasing competition among students due to some gaining an advantage through using ChatGPT over those who do not use it.


Based on the above, it is clear that our students find ChatGPT to be a useful tool for generating ideas and initiating the learning process. As such, its use for learning should be encouraged. Moreover, to aid students to use the tool effectively, they could be trained to write effective prompts to elicit high quality output that facilitates learning. Learning how to write effective prompts and adapt prompting practices would enable students to converse with ChatGPT via a two-way negotiation process, in which the tool plays a more active role that co-shapes educational experiences with students (Dai et al., 2023). The intended effect is to encourage students to be more proactive and critical when conducting research, thereby ensuring their experience of using AI tools for learning would be a constructive one.


In addition, due to the potential inaccuracy of ChatGPT output, it could be highlighted that information generated from ChatGPT should be treated as a supplementary resource (Kanabar, 2023) and verified before being integrated into students’ work.


Finally, we as educators need to be ready to provide resources and proper guidance for students to use ChatGPT judiciously and responsibly. By doing so, we pave the way for students to learn how to use AI tools to enhance their learning.



Dai, Y., Liu, A., & Lim, C. P. (2023). Reconceptualizing ChatGPT and generative AI as a student-driven innovation in higher education. Procedia CIRP, 119, 84-90.

Elkhodr, M., Gide, E., Wu, R., & Darwish, O. (2023). ICT students’ perceptions towards ChatGPT: An experimental reflective lab analysis. STEM Education, 3(2), 70-88.

Kanabar, V. (2023). An empirical study of student perceptions when using ChatGPT in academic assignments. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 514.

Limna, P., Kraiwanit, T., Jangjarat, K., Klayklung, P., & Chocksathaporn, P. (2023). The use of ChatGPT in the digital era: Perspectives on chatbot implementation. Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching, 6(1), 1-10.

Ngo, T. T. A. (2023). The perception by university students of the use of ChatGPT in education. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 18(17), 4-19.

Shoufan, A. (2023). Exploring students’ perceptions of ChatGPT: Thematic analysis and follow-up survey. IEEE Access, 11, 38805-38818.

Singh, H., Tayarani-Najaran, M., & Yaqoob, M. (2023). Exploring computer science students’ perception of ChatGPT in higher education: A descriptive and correlation study. Education Sciences, 13(924), 1-23.



Jonathan PHAN is an Instructor at the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC). Previously, he taught the Intensive English Programme at Universiti Sains Malaysia, and was formerly a graduate research assistant. He also taught English to primary and secondary students in Malaysian schools. His research interests include English as a Second/Foreign Language, and writing skills for Malaysian indigenous students (Orang Asli).

Jonathan can be reached at


Jessie TENG is a Senior Lecturer at CELC, where she has been teaching for more than two decades. Her students have consisted of both undergraduate and graduate students, and she has taught a variety of courses, including proficiency, academic writing, critical thinking and communication skills courses. Her recent research interest is in how teacher and student peer feedback impact student learning.

Jessie can be reached at



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