Article: Employees want humans in charge of their L&D programs, not AI

Learning Technology

Employees want humans in charge of their L&D programs, not AI

In a new Wiley Workplace Intelligence Report, we come across a staggering truth: Employees are optimistic about the benefits of AI, but they still want humans in charge of their L&D programs.
Employees want humans in charge of their L&D programs, not AI

Since the introduction of Generative AI, there has been debate about its implications to automate tasks and make  lives easier, as we utilise our time on strategic tasks, that in turn, bring about impact. While organisations and leaders across the globe are looking at AI adoption in several HR functions, according to a recent survey by Wiley, it has been found that workers express little interest in seeing L&D activities led by AI. And the numbers are staggering!

The latest Wiley Workplace Intelligence Report states that nearly six in ten respondents (59 percent) of the 3,000 professionals surveyed across various industries in North America prefer to see an instructor (in-person or virtual) directing their workplace development learning as opposed to the 7 percent, who prefer AI-directed learning. At a time when L&D leaders are looking at market solutions for content curation by AI, a vast majority (87 percent) of respondents want the content to be developed by a subject matter expert. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that those surveyed are akin to AI, they just want humans to create, plan and direct L&D activities. Nearly two-third respondents agreed that AI can be used for administrative tasks to increase efficiency. 

While budget has been the biggest barrier to wider AI adoption, a fourth of the respondents agreed and cited that it is a complex, costly and time-consuming process that requires upgrading organisational infrastructure, software and training. When it comes to workplaces, a meagre of one-third of them are actively using AI with 29 percent utilising AI capabilities for at least one business function. But 36 percent respondents revealed their organisations are yet to adopt, with more than a third unsure if it will happen within their workplace. 

After the major developments in AI, Bill Gates was of the opinion that AI could be the biggest advancement in computing since 1980. But L&D leaders in the recent past like Nick Shackleton Jones, Phil Allen, Helen Marshall and Clark Quinn have shared their own beliefs on why humans matter in shaping L&D. In a LinkedIn post, Nick Shackleton Jones highlighted how employees welcome the opportunities to develop and look for experiences where they have a chance to grow. “They want to feel like they belong, and feel part of something worthwhile. As things stand, AI doesn’t help much with any of that.”

Digging deeper into Generative AI’s ability to design course content, L&D leader Phil Allen posed a rather critical question: If generative AI is so useful to L&D people to help them generate everything that's needed to create course content quickly, then isn’t that info available to anyone? To elaborate his point more, he gives an example and writes, “Why would I go to my LMS/LXP to find course content that's been created from Gen AI, when I can go straight to the AI tool, ask it the question on the skill I'm trying to develop and interrogate it myself?”

For Helen Marshall, she is an ardent believer that for her, L&D is all about putting the human back in AI. In a recent article on the impact of AI on L&D, Clark Quinn wrote, “While AI can remove some tedium, it still requires talented humans to create and curate the content, review the output, generate meaningful practice, and tie it all together into a learning experience. That’s likely to remain true for quite a while, despite advances — and we think that’s to the good.”

This is the juncture we stand at when we think about AI adoption in L&D and how organisations and leaders are sceptical of the tech advancements. Not to say that there won’t be transformations in the future but it will come at a cost none of us are aware of or understand today. If you want to explore more of these topics with the most progressive L&D experts, join us at People Matters L&D Conference ’23 at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai where we explore and discover how AI aligns with L&D, what the future holds and the topmost challenges as we look towards 2024. Register now!

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Topics: Learning Technology, Learning & Development, #PMLnDIN

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