How AI is already transforming L&D.
Did you get any work done last week? Or did you spend all of your time playing with ChatGPT? Be honest. :-)
My timeline has been flooded with screenshots of chatbot responses that I can best describe as the AI-generated equivalent of a sixth grade book report.
I don’t like trends. It took me 10 years to see Avatar. I don’t think the metaverse is a real thing. I’m not on TikTok. If everyone else likes a thing, my instinct is to avoid it.
Still … ChatGPT is impressive. The output may not be particularly insightful, but the UX is contextual, easy to use and decently accurate. That’s more than I can say for any other chatbot I’ve used to this point. I’m looking at you, Siri!
Listen to this episode of the Hard Fork podcast with Casey Newton and Kevin Roose for background on how ChatGPT works and what its evolution could mean for the future of consumer tech. Spoiler: this is how Bing overcomes Google to become the world’s dominant search platform!
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AI is already an important part of the L&D digital toolkit. You may not interact with it directly like a chatbot, but it’s still there. AI suggests design layouts in PowerPoint. AI captions your Zoom sessions. AI recommends learning paths in your LXP. Simply put, AI is how modern tech works.
As the tech advances, it will continue to transform how L&D works.
As users, AI is fostering learning equity. Ex: AI can translate content into hundreds of preferred languages without breaking your budget, increasing development opportunities for employees around the world. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s getting better every day.
As creators, AI is accelerating content development. Ex: AI can generate assessment questions, including correct answers and realistic distractors. IDs still review and improve content before it’s distributed, but they can now handle more projects and support larger audiences.
As administrators, AI is automating backend processes. Ex: AI can prioritize every employee’s development program based on role requirements, professional goals and performance outcomes, thereby reducing the need to manually assign training.
As managers, AI is clarifying the impact of L&D. Ex: AI can proactively suggest adjustments to learning programs on the fly based on copious amounts of data, reducing the need for manual reporting and analysis.
Sounds awesome, right? This is just a sample of the ways AI is already being applied within L&D. However, like any other tool, we must control our AI-powered enthusiasm and ask lots of questions. Every L&D pro may not understand exactly how the tech works, but we must understand how it impacts the people and organizations we support.
How is AI trained? The tech is only as good as the data that informs it. We have no idea where ChatGPT is getting its info or how accurate it is. This doesn’t fly in the workplace, where a poor decision made based on bad data can put people in danger. Imagine a restaurant server relying on a chatbot to determine if a customer with an allergy can eat a specific dish. That info must be reliable!
Where does the data live? Companies have data retention policies. Governments are adopting stricter data privacy regulations. Our tech must align with these rules. Otherwise, it’s a nonstarter.
How transparent is the UX? People may get so much value from the tech that they don’t really care how it works. But they still deserve the opportunity to know how their data is used and, if necessary, opt out.
The last thing we want to do is add risk by introducing a well-intentioned but unproven technology.
This is why the most important part of the ChatGPT craze is the conversation, not the tech. Over a million people have used it so far. It’s generating excitement about the possibilities for what comes next. It’s showing people what it’s like to interact with tech in a more familiar way. Instead of entering keywords and being pushed a pile of links, they’re asking questions and getting answers. How does this compare with the experience in your LMS or company intranet?
The bar just got raised. Will L&D keep up?
And now … a holiday poem about microlearning as written by a machine.
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
But the children were nestled, all snug in their beds,
While visions of microlearning danced in their heads.
They had learned so much this year, in bite-sized bits,
And they couldn't wait to see what new knowledge the night brings.
For microlearning is a gift, to be savored and shared,
It makes learning fun and engaging, and never bores.
With just a few minutes each day, you can learn so much more,
And grow your knowledge, like a present beneath the tree's core.
So here's to a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year,
And to microlearning, the gift that keeps on giving, my dear.
May you learn and grow, and never stop exploring,
And may the joy of learning always keep you adoring.
Matthew Daniel from Guild Education nails the problem with organizations telling employees to “own their own development” in this LinkedIn post. TL;DR: a content library in an LXP does close the opportunity gap. People must be afforded the time and guidance needed to take proper ownership of their development. If this isn’t built into the work experience for every employee, those with built-in advantages will flourish while the majority continue to fail behind.
I’m hanging out with Adam McDaniel from Apex Performance Group on this week’s episode of The Learning Evolution Podcast. We discuss my new book - The Modern Learning Ecosystem - and how it can help organizations keep pace with the ever-changing workplace. Our convo went so long that Adam’s granting me a sequel appearance!
Make sure every calendar invitation includes a brief description. People are already burned out, especially heading into the hectic holiday season. Don’t add stress by making them guess why you scheduled a meeting. Summarize what will be discussed and how they’re expected to prepare. This will also help people determine if they need to attend live or if they can just pick up the notes later.
Next Sunday, I’ll explain why L&D should spend most of its 2023 budget on managers.
Be well. JD