AI will introduce more innovative approaches to learning and development – Sanjeewaka Kulathunga

A hot topic in the corporate world today, AI is being debated at all levels. Many business leaders and commentators believe that artificial intelligence will be our future. As it turns out however, it’s a present reality.

For example, AI is applied to sort our emails to prevent spam; and Amazon and other e-commerce platforms seek assistance from artificial intelligence to recommend products to clients based on the information collected. And Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant rely on it to improve their users’ experiences and interactions.

Although artificial intelligence is still in its initial phase of development, it has already attracted numerous investors who believe that AI powered products have a promising future. AI also has the potential to radically alter learning – or training – and development in the near future.

To streamline the organisational learning process, training and development professionals should be aware of rapidly evolving technologies. Corporate training specialists must explore and implement AI initiatives, to develop new training strategies and techniques.

Experts at Gartner – a leading research and advisory firm – have predicted that by 2025, about 85 percent of customer services will be performed by machines rather than humans.

Another report claims that AI will be responsible for around 20 percent of training materials. According to the Bank of America, artificial intelligence will account for annual industrial growth of US$ 14-33 trillion by 2025.

As a result, AI will significantly impact the learning and development (L&D) sector. Its software and machine learning are required by L&D specialists, to keep track of massive quantities of data and information. They will also be able to develop new training programmes for effective learning by creating an AI-based simulated business environment and incidents on a real-time basis.

People learn and process new information differently. Personalising the corporate learning and development process will be more effective if employees’ learning preferences are taken into account. Using AI, training programmes can be tailored to the learning needs and wants of individual employees.

Cofounder and CEO of Anders Pink Stephen Walsh asserts that 93 percent of organisations want to incorporate learning into their routine workflow. Although 56 percent of corporate learning and development occurs in a formal setting, and is delivered on a face-to-face basis, both the training schedule and format of information delivery are unsatisfactory to most learners.

To make learning more valuable and relevant to the business environment, reinforcers remind learners to put their knowledge into action. Everyone knows that employees are too busy and sometimes lazy to work on their career development.

According to Bryan Austin (who authored a report titled The Modern Corporate Learner), specialists are only willing to devote one percent of their precious time to learning and professional development.

The MASIE Center, a renowned international learning lab, states that only 15 percent of the learning programmes assigned to employees are completed. Despite this fact, organisations invest billions of dollars in employee training every year without gaining much productivity.

Although it’s extremely important to evaluate learning process performance, it calls for time and effort. Data is quickly collected and analysed by L&D professionals who use AI systems to gain certain insights on learning effectiveness. While a learner’s progress is highlighted, any gaps in knowledge that may exist could also be noted.

If there are any gaps in knowledge, an AI enabled learning programme can suggest an appropriate solution. When combined with artificial intelligence, a four-level Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model will perform even more effectively, ensuring that the original learning objectives and goals are accomplished.

The use of AI-based tutors can eliminate the need for teachers, lecturers, speakers and coaches.

DARPA in the US has sponsored a study on developing a digital tutor that will mimic the interaction between an experienced specialist and a trainee. It demonstrates how trainees who use AI-based digital tutoring gain skills faster and outperform experts.

Applying artificial intelligence to corporate training, learning and development will enable learners to access training information, depending on their preferences, abilities and personal qualities.

It also opens up programmes for all categories of learners including those with disabilities. To make learning even more effective and efficient, a learning platform powered by AI will enable trainers and managers to provide training choices to their staff 24 hours a day.