Welcome to the third article in a three-part blog series on the role – and potential – of AI in Human Resources, specifically Learning and Development (L&D). We sat down with Erik Duindam, Head of Engineering for Everwise, who recently published a white paper on AI’s potential for L&D. Erik provides informed and informative thoughts on the direction of AI in learning and development, and we’ve worked to capture his thoughts and share them with you. The previous articles addressed AI as a transformative force in HR, followed by the role of AI in learning programs. This article discusses how AI can help facilitate learning experiences–our experience is that facilitated experiences outperform purely instructor-led or self-directed ones.
AI has the potential to open up exciting new capabilities for HR. The integration of early AI tools is already altering the traditional top-down hierarchical structure at many organizations. Companies are becoming more collaborative and team-oriented, and employees more adaptable and cross-functional. So, how can HR leaders prepare employees to learn and adapt along with the implementation of AI?
A changing workforce
A McKinsey Global Institute report found that there will be significant changes in what workers need to know in the coming decade as a result of AI. It will become increasingly important for HR leaders to provide the right job retraining and learning experiences so that employees are able to adapt and stay relevant.
The organizational evolution from traditional structures toward more multi-disciplinary teams has contributed to the need for different learning experiences. The future of employee L&D is social, collaborative, human-centric and ongoing. People are much more likely to learn if they can apply it to their day-to-day jobs. Learners can develop the skills that matter most on an ongoing basis. Personalizing learning around the needs of each learner will help people transition into new roles as they are created by new technologies.
“The L&D world has to change from a more formal type of training focus to a more social, continuous learning focus,” says Erik Duindam, Head of Engineering for Everwise.
AI-driven learning experiences
G2 Crowd predicts AI-driven HR technology innovations will increase by 35 percent in 2019 to help improve the employee experience and facilitate the right learning experiences in the future. How? AI will help connect people, suggest resources, adapt learning automatically and optimize accordingly. AI can use people data, surveys, feedback and content attributes to match people to other people and resources. A human being simply can’t make sense of data like this. IBM Watson Analytics is already analyzing multiple employee data pipelines to predict future skill gaps and future performance.
AI models have been trained to understand all these data inputs. They can interpret the data to determine current or future skill gaps, ROI, employee satisfaction and more. By analyzing historical matches and continuous learner feedback, machine learning models can automatically suggest learning experiences and self-optimize. This way, an employee can be paired right away with the best mentor to support their professional path. Or an employee can match with the right peers, experts and resources to form a meaningful group learning experience.
Enhancing the user experience
AI can also be used to enhance the user experience directly. AI can track what learners have been studying. It can then suggest relevant connections and activities. In this iterative experience, the user can naturally learn what’s next from the most relevant resources. The learning is based on the user’s needs at any given time. HR leaders can harness technology to deliver tailored content and on-the-job training that adapts to workplace shifts in real-time. Other AI technology, like conversational AI and chatbots, can engage at key points in the user journey as well. These tools can provide proactive guidance and help gather context-aware feedback along the way.
The combination of machine learning AI, conversational AI, employee feedback, learning data and external data sources could lead to a platform capable of facilitating learning experiences automatically. How employees are feeling as well as how they learn and what they are searching for will eventually guide the course of study. As AI learns more about the learner, it will get better at recommending content, people and learning paths. Learners can follow customized learning experiences, automatically optimized to fit their wishes and needs.
While we don’t know exactly how AI will impact L&D in the future, we do know that we are in the middle of a significant workforce change. With such a massive shift, HR should be preparing for how best to harness AI to facilitate learning experiences that will enable employees to adapt amidst all the technological disruption.
To learn more, read our white paper on “The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Evolution of Learning & Development.”