Your friend: Artificial intelligence in corporate training

• 7 min read

Corporate training and development with artificial intelligenceArtificial intelligence (AI) brings about different reactions for different people.

Some of us start to excitedly visualize virtual reality vacations, self-driving cars, and hoverboards soaring over the ocean. Others are a bit more bleak and fearful about living in a world where episodes of Black Mirror are a more plausible reality.

The truth is that, at least for right now, both of these visions surrounding AI are pretty polarizing, and neither really encapsulates the point of it, to begin with.

The point of AI at its core is to stretch a person’s bandwidth even further by letting a machine do some of the thinking. It’s like having an assistant who is fully capable of coming to the same conclusion that you are but without asking for any one person’s additional time.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) explained

The truth about Artificial Intelligence (AI) is that you’re probably already using some form of it whether you realize it or not.

Two of the most recognizable voices to humanity, Siri and Alexa, are fine examples of voice-activated computers that grow more intelligent with machine learning.

Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon all use AI to predict our interests to match us with content that aligns best with what we’re looking for and what we’re most likely to enjoy. (Not so scary, right?)

That sounds all well and good, but if AI is a way to access human intelligence without a human, how does that impact those with jobs in the learning field?

Training Industry quotes the author of “Artificial Intelligence for HR”, Ben Eubanks, who says that AI will not be replacing people anytime soon, and the reason for that is because ILT is still crucial to training. The social component of learning is not anticipated to be wiped out because humans learn socially and ultimately thrive when they can learn from other people.

The idea is to use AI-driven learning solutions for training and development in a way that supplements the training we are already doing. Picture your ice cream cone on a hot day – that’s your training program. The cherry and sprinkles on top just take what you have and make it even better – that’s where AI comes in.

Think about cars – they did not prevent us from walking all together. In fact, because there are so many cars in cities like New York City and Toronto, it actually makes more sense to walk if you can.

What cars have done is made it so that you have the option to move faster from point A to B if you like, but walking is still an important part of everyday life.

Artificial Intelligence gives us a similar luxury by offering more brain power without demanding more time. Taking the humanness out of training, however, is not the end game here. People still need other people and added technology is just here to help.

Related: What you should be looking for in an artificial intelligence-powered learning platform

AI in corporate L&D: what is it good for

So, if it’s not here to steal all of our jobs but it’s not going to do your whole job for you, what is AI actually good for?

One common misconception is that AI is just a fancy content recommendation tool.

Training Industry actually spoke with Docebo’s CEO Claudio Erba to debunk this idea, and these were his thoughts: “The industry thinks about AI strictly as a tool to suggest content, but to succeed, AI must cannibalize the full legacy product and transform parts of it”. The idea here is to take our traditional learning strategies and use AI to make them even stronger.

So what functions of a legacy LMS does Artificial Intelligence actually make better?

Related: 3 new ways Docebo supports personalized learning with artificial intelligence

How artificial intelligence in corporate training looks in action

Even if you’re skeptical, you have to admit: there are things that technology does make easier. That’s the whole point of AI technology in your learning technologies. Here are some features that you can expect to see if your learning program is powered by AI.

  • Virtual coaches: AI-powered virtual coaches act as a proactive learning coach for the users in your platform. It is made to guide them through their learning activities and work within the learning platform to recommend content, monitor progress, answer content-related questions, and send push notifications related to content or deadlines.

Imagine all of the things you do as a manager (phew, that’s a lot). Now imagine someone else is able to come in and complete more manual tasks, keep your team on track, and offer one-on-one guidance for learners. Sounds like your new assistant, right? This is a virtual coach.

  • Deep search & auto-tagging: With an AI-powered learning platform (LMS), the AI analyzes both formal and informal learning assets and improves their discoverability with the platform’s search feature.

When someone shares a new learning asset or creates new training material, the AI synthesizes the information in the asset to produce search results that are most relevant. During this process, AI identifies key phrases, and creates tags for assets automatically to make learning content easier to find by using deep search.

In application, if you share an interesting article in your platform and your coworker needs to reference it a few days later, they can just search for it and find it in seconds. This prevents anyone from needing to dig through a bunch of search results that may not be as relevant.

  • Personalized learning: Personalization in a corporate environment was once unheard of. Employees were just a drop in the ocean of an organization’s workforce and “one-size-fits-all” was the mantra. Now, employee training is a whole new ball game; we can use AI to address different learners and different learning styles. A personalized learning experience is not only preferable but simply more effective with AI.

While AI is not just a content recommendation tool (we stand by that through and through), it does have the ability to provide relevant content suggestions that their colleagues are contributing to the platform when they’re already watching an asset. AI can also give recommendations based on what your job title and content you’ve already consumed.This alone creates a more personalized experience with a similar feel to Spotify or Netflix.

Related: Why AI-powered personalized learning experiences are here to stay

How AI will benefit corporate training and development

Artificial Intelligence, which combines data collection and technologies such as machine learning, can bring automated and personalized learning strategies to life by being truly responsive to your learners’ needs. Here are some of the benefits AI brings to the table:

Close skills gaps: AI will give us the ability to more accurately identify employee skills gaps and suggest the best ways to close them. How? Machine learning algorithms predict outcomes, allowing you to provide specific content based on a learner’s past performance and individual goals. For example, online learners that express a particular skill gap receive targeted recommendations that build knowledge related to their skill gap, in a more personalized format.

Proactively support learners: Virtual coaches will become even smarter and more targeted as they support learners with a proactive response to personalized learning and development.

Invite-to-Watch features, for example, are designed to elevate the social learning experience by ensuring that those who will value a particular piece of learning content most actually get their eyes on it. When a user uploads a piece of learning content, ideally the platform automatically produces a list of those within the organization who might find it interesting. AI (machine learning in this case) can analyze the content to produce a list of users who have shown an interest in similar assets in the past.

Interpret advanced analytics: AI can collect and interpret a vast amount of data, meaning that you will be able to gather key insights easier than ever. AI requires regular data injections to be most effective. Think of AI as a learner itself: the more data it consumes, the more intelligent it becomes. For example, algorithms can analyze both new content and historic learning patterns, including content preferences of learners in the platform. As an AI powered system is fed more content, it becomes better each time at identifying patterns within the content and those who will find it most useful to produce more effective social learning experiences.

Related: Why and how to create a continuous learning culture

Name a better duo: AI and employee training

Machine learning is our friend and it’s looking like it’s here to stay. The good news is that you can use artificial intelligence to optimize one person’s brain power and time without overworking one person.

Learning programs that are powered by artificial intelligence can take away some of the more manual tasks that come with learning so that your admins can focus on strategy instead of content suggestions and tagging.

When you say “Hey Siri” to find something out instead of, say, pulling over your car, putting down your hair curler, or pausing your run, you’re putting a little more time back into what matters most or is most pressing at that moment. That’s the ideal scenario for admins and their learners.

On another good note, AI-powered technology gives us the ability to personalize user experiences to make a learner’s journey through the learning platform more relevant, targetted, and enjoyable for each individual.

We think it’s safe to say: there is no better duo. (Hey Siri, play you’ve got a friend in me by Randy Newman).

Ready to learn more about how AI can revolutionize your learning program? Download Your Guide to Artificial Intelligence in L&D for a more in-depth peek.