Crafting Effective ChatGPT Prompts: Harnessing AI for Research and Navigating Pitfalls (E.g. Fonofale)

Crafting Effective ChatGPT Prompts: Harnessing AI for Research and Navigating Pitfalls

ChatGPT Prompts: Precision or Indecision in the Age of Information Overload

The challenge of finding accurate information online is ever-present. Traditional search engines, while vast, often fall short in delivering the precision we seek.

Enter ChatGPT: an artificial intelligence tool designed for targeted and accurate results.

Below, I recount my journey using ChatGPT to delve into the intricacies of the Fonofale Model within vocational education.

This AI tool promises to revolutionise research, cutting through the clutter of the digital realm, but we can increase our chances of getting good results for ourselves and others if we take a more considered approach.

Navigating the Pitfalls of ChatGPT

ChatGPT, for all its prowess, requires a discerning approach. A known quirk is its occasional propensity to “hallucinate” answers, producing seemingly plausible yet potentially inaccurate information. And, like any tool, it isn’t flawless and can occasionally err.

For those using ChatGPT, cross-referencing and verification are paramount, especially when basing decisions on its outputs.

Sole reliance on ChatGPT without due diligence can mislead, underscoring the importance of treating it as a guide rather than an absolute authority.

I experienced this recently when I was looking for some more in-depth explanations of the Fono Fale approach that we use as a Pacific model of education, health and well-being.

Two Prompts: Describe in detail the fonofale model

First attempt

This is what I tried first that gave incorrect information in some places:

  • “Provide a detailed account of the fonofale model and its applicability in New Zealand’s adult education, particularly vocational training. Elaborate with practical examples and strategies.”

Second improved version

And this is my more refined prompt that gave a much better response once I incorporated the details that I needed in the response:

  • “Describe in detail the fonofale model, specifically focusing on the parts of the fale, including the falealuga (roof), the pou (posts), fa’avae (foundation), and the cocoon. Emphasise the significance of each part, their interconnections, and their relevance to the wellbeing of Pasifika people. Highlight the cultural, spiritual, physical, mental, and other dimensions, as well as the importance of aiga (family) in Pacific Island cultures. Additionally, discuss the impact of time, environment, and context on Pasifika people within the framework of the fonofale model. Provide a comprehensive overview that captures the essence of the model and its applicability in New Zealand’s adult education, especially vocational training.”

Two more prompts: Delving into one aspect of the fonofale

First attempt

Again, here’s what I started with:

  • “Describe the fourth pole of the fonofale model. How can it be tailored to cater to diverse Pacific learners in a vocational context? Discuss the role of the ‘other’ pole in fostering inclusivity and strategies ensuring the incorporation of varied learner perspectives.”

Second improved version

And here’s what I ended up with that gave a much better response:

  • “Delve into the ‘Other’ pou of the fonofale model, detailing its significance and the dimensions it encompasses, such as gender, sexuality/sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic status. How does this particular pou contribute to the holistic understanding of Pasifika learners’ wellbeing? In a vocational context, discuss strategies to ensure that the ‘Other’ dimension is addressed, fostering inclusivity and recognising the diverse perspectives of Pacific learners. Provide a comprehensive talanoa on the importance and application of this dimension in educational settings.”

Crafting Effective Prompts with ChatGPT: Lessons Learned

While I’ve chosen not to post the results, I encourage you to test these prompts for yourself and draw your own comparisons. Your outcomes may vary from mine. Three key takeaways emerge from this exercise:

  • Firstly, ChatGPT’s initial output might not always be trustworthy, necessitating a discerning approach.
  • Secondly, when crafting prompts for broader use, an iterative refinement process is essential.
  • Furthermore, having prior knowledge about the subject of your inquiry can significantly enhance the quality of your prompts. This might seem like a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, but it’s especially pertinent in roles like train-the-trainer or teacher education.

Let me know how you get on…!

If you found this interesting or useful

Check out my other content on AI in Education here. There’s more on how you can use Chat GPT to enhance learning.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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