Technology is transforming the world of work in an unprecedented manner. The penetration of the internet, the convenience of multiple digital platforms and devices are radically altering the fundamentals of professional work. Ease of use, seamless access, and immersive experiences are driving a shift in the experience that employees want and expect. This phenomena is applicable to learning too.
“Learning should be as simple as online cab booking, and as convenient as online shopping”, says Pradnya Arun, Head, Learning Technology Solutions, Aditya Birla Group.
But this seamless continuous learning is not possible without leveraging the latest in technology. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality are touted as the next big technologies that will transform organizational learning.
Decoding AI, ML, VR in L&D
Artificial Intelligence is at its core, related to designing and using machines/software to help make decisions using data. Through machine learning, systems can be trained to find patterns, recognize speech and language, automate repetitive tasks, etc. VR typically requires the use of a device (like a headset) to create a virtual simulation of the real world. It thus offers a fully immersive 3 D virtual experience. Here’s how these technologies can revolutionize learning.
Impact of AI
As Ravi Hemnani, Head, Learning Campus, Siemens puts it, “AI would completely change the way users learn”. It helps in identifying training needs intelligently through multiple data sources, both formal and informal. For example, a chat conversation can be used to identify what an employee wishes to learn to perform better.
- Automating admin tasks in L&D such as calendar scheduling and notifications. This will help L&D professional to focus on more value-adding tasks of a strategic nature, thereby increasing learner engagement.
- Augmenting the design of learning strategies: AI can use past program and future predictive analytics data to create more effective learning interventions.
- Offering learning support: For example, Chatbots can act as quick-resolving assistants for instantaneous and ‘on-the-go’ learning.
- Recommending learning paths: Learners want to create their own personalized learning journey, they want control over their careers. AI can provide personalized learning recommendations for learners by analyzing their goals, performance, learning history etc. We use machine learning in two ways, initially providing recommendations for our curators in order to design better learning paths. In addition, Percipio uses machine learning to enhance search and end-user recommendations.
Above all, machine learning has the power to create integrated HR initiatives across L&D and other spaces. This data-driven learning approach will help rope in performance and recruitment data in the learning strategy, to build more holistic models of talent management and talent development. AI will thus enable a high-level integrated umbrella view of talent, not only for today but also factoring in tomorrow’s business scenario. Predictive machine learning will make this possible and help organizations prepare for a better tomorrow, based on hard facts.
Impact of AR and VR
As Renu Vadhwani, AGM, Online Learning, Reliance puts it, “Today the learner wants to touch, feel and be able to get on to the job right away through a more hands-on experience”.
And often, the best learning is through experience, not necessarily in a classroom or book. Immersive technologies like AR and VR will be the best way to provide real-life experience”, says Apratim Purakayastha, CTO, SkillSoft.
“The technologies will enable three-dimensional learning along with physical demos which will increase the effectiveness of the training,” says Rajesh Lele- Head, e-HR projects, Tata Motors.
Of course, these emerging technologies are still finding their way into the HR and L&D world.
For an average workplace these technologies are about 3-5 years away, says Vasudevan Narasimhan, Executive Director HR, KEC international. But more advanced companies will probably start deploying it right away. The key to leveraging these next-gen technologies for the best benefits lies in being prepared.
“We must make sure there is a concept of digital adoption and mindset that sinks in. The first step is to contextualize everything and make sure people understand digital. Then we must move on to adopting these technologies going ahead”, says Harlina Sodhi, SEVP- Head, Culture, and Capability, IDFC Bank.