Artificial Intelligence has been steadily creeping into our technologies for several years now, but it has come to the fore more recently as tools like chatbots, voice-powered assistants and content recommendations on different platforms have become the norm. In the learning and development arena, eLearning has become an invaluable tool for creating operational efficiencies over traditional classroom-based training but remains pretty basic in terms of how it impacts the actual learning experience of employees. All that could change with AI quickly making its presence known as the future of corporate training.
This is where the use of AI in e Learning can have a truly valuable impact: in the way it can improve performance and the effectiveness of corporate training. A study by Deloitte in 2018 showed that 63% of enterprises have adopted machine learning in some capacity. 11% said AI is of critical strategic importance today, and 42% believe it will be critical within the next two years.
AI is quickly becoming a core part of technology in the enterprise-level organization, and it seems that learning technologies are beginning to quickly catch up on this latest trend. But is this just hype? AI sounds complex and cutting edge, but what bottom-line benefits could it provide to the learning department?
Research has shown that in today’s digital world, cognitive overload is becoming more of an issue than ever before. People are overwhelmed, and as learners, they have naturally become more impatient about the relevance, duration, and type of training they are put through.
AI has the potential to enable online courses to be shaped more closely by these individual needs. It can help ensure that the training provided to learners on an individual basis is relevant, not only to their day-to-day role but to their existing knowledge levels. It can monitor progression in a skillset and automate the process of moving an employee through the hierarchy of learning.
As a result, learners are presented with the right training at the right time. They are less frustrated by irrelevant, overly complicated or overly simplified learning for their role and knowledge level. This means learners that are more engaged and training that is more effective for moving the needle in terms of performance.
The L&D Department
For the learning department, the potential for AI to change how they plan, design, and deploy training cannot be underestimated. If AI and machine learning continue to progress as predicted, it could automate a lot of processes that are currently so time-consuming they are actually out of reach for most training departments, despite the learning platforms currently available.
At the moment, tasks such as training needs analysis, instructional design and course content development are still hugely complex and time-consuming. AI has the potential to simplify and streamline these tasks, showing training departments what content needs to be developed and at what level, and which skills or areas need more development within the organization.
The evaluation of training and development is another area that could benefit greatly from machine learning. So often, L&D professionals are working tirelessly to produce quality content, with no real metrics as to the effectiveness of that training. If analytics are available, they are still quite limited in scope. AI can help by providing stronger metrics in learning tools on how learners have progressed in a specific skill set and informing the training department on next steps.
Current Use of AI in eLearning
At the moment, AI is not being as widely used in corporate learning as it is in other sectors. However, machine learning and AI have a way of creeping into the background of technologies without us knowing. Even those who have only the most basic knowledge of what AI actually probably use it all the time in daily life without even realizing it.
The same goes for AI in eLearning. Although there are not many advanced machine learning technologies in use, AI is still a factor in the functions of many learning tools today. For example, the use of big data and gamification in eLearning often have their roots in AI. Some SaaS platforms have used AI and machine learning to customize learning for employees and improve the efficiency of course deployment.
While it may be an industry that has slightly lagged behind in the adoption of AI, there is no doubt that it’s the future of corporate training.
The Future of Corporate Training
Although the implementation of AI technology in corporate learning is still in its infancy considering its huge potential, the figures show that this is changing, and fast. AI is on everyone’s radar, whether they already use it or are predicting when they will adopt it.
The latest figures on the implementation of AI across all areas of business speak for themselves. In Deloitte’s 2018 study, several industries reported an average of 20% ROI on investment in AI technology. 82% of early adopters of AI are seeing a positive ROI from production-level projects in 2018.
Ultimately, AI will mean more effective and streamlined learning for the individual. With this kind of automated tailored approach that AI can offer, both learning departments and learners alike will be saving precious time and resources. There is nothing to suggest this idealized version of online learning will become the norm any time soon. However, huge advances are being made, especially as the spotlight continues to shine on the potential for AI in eLearning to become the future of corporate training.