The Age of AI: 3 ways to optimise learning and skilling
While artificial intelligence isn’t likely to come for your job (at least for now), the hype and popularity of this new technology spotlights the need for higher education as well as businesses to do things differently in learning and development to equip people with relevant skills and capabilities.
AI already performs tasks across industries, from content generation to insurance claims processing to customer service. In education, it can work both ways: facilitate customised learning for students and help them study at their own pace, or be used as a tool for academic dishonesty such as plagiarism and cheating.
Here are key ways to navigate skilling and preparing for the future of work in the face of rapid developments in generative AI.
Use ChatGPT as an Affordable Tutor
AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT, collecting huge amounts of data on wide-ranging topics and can pass graduate school exams, can work as an intelligent tutor, proposes Anne Trumbore, Chief Digital Learning Officer at the University of Virginia.
While ChatGPT in its current form is mostly unable to stay focused on one particular task – let alone tutoring – it has the potential to do so in the future and democratise the otherwise costly privilege of private tutoring in higher education.
This can be doubly beneficial for international students who already spend on tuition and living expenses overseas, allowing them to save on learning tools to sharpen the saw and expand their learning horizons.
READ MORE | How international education drives the reskilling revolution
Harness Future-proof Soft Skills
In a future where people no longer go to the office, since most functions are replaced by AI, we’ve been sufficiently assured that we can survive disruption by AI by leaning into skills that make us uniquely human, such as creativity, empathy, and other soft skills.
While there’s no assurance for this, given AI’s rapid development and ability to do more than just crunch numbers and create professional-level output, soft skill development remains at the forefront of work and employability.
Findings from the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2023, which surveyed 803 companies across 27 industries and 45 economies, found that even with technology adoption and roles on the rise, soft skills remain important to companies. Analytical and creative thinking are deemed as “core skills,” followed closely by resilience, flexibility and agility, and motivation or self-awareness.
Approach Skilling with Optimism, Not Fear
A survey by Impact Research shows that one-third of students ages 12 to 17 have used ChatGPT for school, thinking it has had a positive impact. Both teachers and students believe it is a prime example of the need to modernise education, with a majority of respondents agreeing: “ChatGPT is just another example of why we can’t continue doing things the same way in modern schools.”
READ MORE | Is it the end of an era for traditional degrees?
While fears and anxieties around what AI can do aren’t entirely unfounded, there’s value to approaching tech disruption with a positive view. If, for example, the focus is on the potential impact on jobs, we can focus on the growth potential for our existing skill sets and roles rather than worry about obsolescence.
Colleges and universities, along with companies and organisations, play a big role in challenging young people and workers to learn new skills – with new technologies NOT a test or simulation to weed out poor performers or those with low adaptive skills, but instead to create an opportunity for growth.