Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always been a bit of a daunting topic for me; thinking that there could one day be robots walking alongside us without us even realizing it made me a little paranoid. My thoughts would immediately go to movies like iRobot and the Terminator where humanity would be overrun by self-aware robots. However, the more I began to investigate what AI is and the uses it’s currently being developed for, I began to take a more pragmatic view of the technology. Most interestingly, there’s a myriad of uses for AI in learning and development, making training more effective for trainees, and facilitating the development of material for trainers.
AI uses for Learning and Development
Perhaps the biggest impact of implementing AI in learning and development is the ability to create individual learning plans based on data collected and created by trainees. With the ability to analyze data, AI can effectively recommend courses based on a multitude of factors related to educational backgrounds, organizational standing, and employee behaviour. Being able to tailor educational experiences for an individual can make learning more effective, as trainees receive only what is pertinent to them, and not standardized training for the masses. AI can also help trainees further their learning journey’s by consistently recommending, prompting, and reporting on training; a massive task in larger organizations.
On the organizational side, AI can significantly improve learning and development operations by streamlining the creation, analysis, and reporting of training activities. With AI, instructional designers are free to focus on creating quality content for users, instead of focusing on what to create content on. Instructional designers are aided by the fact that AI can help analyze which courses are being taken, how the audience is receiving them, and where problems lie in curriculum – allowing for more time spent creating materials, and less time deciding what to create.
Besides the benefits to instructional designers, organizations themselves can receive major benefits from AI. Likely to be the most significant benefit of implementing AI into learning and development platforms, are the overall cost savings stemming from greater automation in course selection, delegation, and approval. Alongside cost, the organization can help sway cultural change and accelerate education in critical areas at a much more rapid pace than without the help of AI due to the real time insight provided by AI.
The flip side of AI
AI, however, doesn’t come without its challenges, as there can be many barriers prior to successful implementation. The initial cost of implementing AI in your learning and development platform can be very high because the human capital required to design, implement and maintain the platform is significant.
People can also be negatively affected by an AI implementation – especially those with a predisposition to fearing a future with AI. Those not used to having their computer software know more than them, or those uncomfortable with the mass collection of their personal data, will be slow to adopt and trust automated systems. Existing learning and development workers may also feel their job security is threatened with the presence of an automated platform, when in reality it means that roles would be adapted or new roles will be created to supplement the benefits of AI.
Artificial intelligence is prevalent in many of our daily tasks; it’s in our emails, browsers, and movie streaming services, usually without us recognizing it. These benefits from AI will only continue to grow as it creeps into more of our professional and personal activities. As change management and learning consultants, it’s important for us to keep up to date on technology advances and embrace their numerous advantages. As such, AI should not be ignored as it will provide numerous benefits to those companies managing change and learning activities.
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