Learning and development technology is moving at a rapid pace, especially with the pivot to virtual-based learning in 2020.

Now, in 2021, for most organizations artificial intelligence accelerated from a distant dream to a more current, and needed, reality. 

Driven by the data source it has been programmed to store, AI gives machines the ability to recognize, respond to, and learn from inputs. 

Here’s why AI is important for learning: 

  • We know that a one-size fits all approach does not meet the needs of modern learners
  • Yet, we often struggle with how to surround each learner with the learning assets that are right for them, in the time and place they need them. 
  • AI gathers insights from the vast amount of learner data coming in, conducts a deep analysis of that data, and thereby facilitates the curation of customized learning solutions, all without copious amounts of analysis on the part of the Learning Professional. 

When we test AI against the Nine Elements of Modern Learning, we find that AI can be a valuable tool to support both the Upgrade and Surround Actions of the Learning Cluster Design model. 

AI drives three of the Nine Elements of Modern Learning – accessibility, for me, and hyperlinked – through features such as “suggested for you.” 

Here’s an example of how AI helps learning experiences become “for me”

When you use YouTube, suggestions pop up in multiple ways: when you begin to enter a search in the search field, on the homepage from videos you’ve watched previously, and at the end of the video you just watched. When we think of Artificial Intelligence, we often think of futuristic, out of the box functions, when in reality adding these types of YouTube capabilities to your LMS or intranet can upgrade the modern learning experience for your learners without having to reinvent the wheel. 

Here’s an example of how AI makes learning “autonomous”

Another element of modern learning that AI checks off is autonomous. Many organizations use chatbots for customer service interactions, but are they using it for learning experiences? For common questions that a new hire might ask a colleague, manager or trainer, a chatbot could not only be faster, but more accurate and up-to-date. 

Just as customer service chatbots are fed with thousands (if not millions) of data points, internal learning chatbots could be fed with endless information from product specifications to policies and procedures to system-related troubleshooting. 

Remember, chatbots are only as good as the information feeding them. If the answers are not comprehensive or updated, users may get frustrated and give up.  If your organization already utilizes chatbots for customer service, inquire about the possibility of using internally for learning purposes!

Here’s an example of how AI makes learning “social”

When we look at both upgrading and surrounding learners with modern learning assets, having a social element is crucial. Modern learners want to interact with other people, hear what others have to say on a topic, and want to validate information by getting opinions from others. AI can help learners create and share their own learning playlists. Rather than relying on L&D understanding their individual needs, colleagues in similar situations can find curated curriculums created by others who are closer to their work. Going back to the modern learning elements accessibility, for me, and hyperlinked, these playlist can be suggested based on previous searches, job title, or a number of other data points fed to the AI.

Ultimately, using the Learning Cluster Design model helps guide L&D in how to strategically design AI tools to provide a cohesive modern learning journey. Learners are able to get content based on their preferences, when and where they need it most. Moreover, AI adds an additional layer of accessibility to learning assets, and enables learning professionals to not only provide immediate access to “for me” learning, but to track results, analyze data, measure learning outcomes, and make learning more effective and efficient.

How are you using AI? We would love to hear your examples – small or large!