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3 Ways AI Is Shaping the L&D Future

The possibilities for artificial intelligence (AI) tools are almost limitless, from AI-powered language translation to immersive virtual learning experiences. And this AI-powered future is not theoretical; it’s our reality. The learning and development (L&D) industry is abuzz with this excitement, but what AI tools are the front-runners right now? Which applications are leading the charge?

#1: AI-Driven Translations

As organizations strive to expand their global reach, translating content accurately and efficiently has become paramount, and traditional methods are often costly and time-consuming. AI’s generative capabilities and large language models (LLMs) provide real solutions that address these challenges.

Not surprisingly, different companies are approaching the adoption of AI-powered translation in different ways. Established translation companies are leveraging AI to enhance their capabilities while maintaining high-quality standards. Emerging tech startups are building user-friendly platforms that connect users to LLMs. Some provide self-service tools for efficient translations, and others offer a hybrid solution, combining machine translation with human translators for refined results.

Some organizations are also setting up their translation departments to be powered by LLMs. This approach allows them to use their own data and create a customized translation history. It offers more control but requires a deep understanding of AI and a commitment to managing it effectively.

But AI’s impact on L&D goes beyond text translation. Some tools can generate videos from text and seamlessly translate them into multiple languages, offering a dynamic and efficient solution for creating multilingual content.

#2: AI-Generated Video

The potential of AI-generated video is exciting. But as our industry’s experience with it matures, our standards for quality and effectiveness also continue to mature. For example, some AI-generated avatars provide compelling voiceovers, but the lip-syncing is off-balance. This can significantly disrupt a viewer’s experience.

Let’s pretend we’re using AI to help generate a dishwasher loading tutorial video. We fed the AI tool a script, and then AI provided a library of clips to illustrate the steps to properly load a dishwasher. While the AI system sequenced the steps well, the video didn’t explain why tableware should be placed just so and how, if it is not, it won’t get cleaned properly. This is because AI does not grasp the full scope of human knowledge and experience.

This is where human intervention becomes invaluable. Video producers can step in to refine and polish the video, aligning it with their creative vision and expertise—and, in this situation, adding critical information to explain why we do things a certain way. This collaborative human + AI approach leverages AI to handle repetitive tasks and automate production while preserving the essential human touch that defines a well-crafted video.

#3: Personal Productivity Bots

The concept of productivity bots is generating a lot of excitement. These bots have the potential to become indispensable assistants that help us avoid meeting fatigue. One of the most remarkable aspects of productivity bots is their capacity to reduce the burden of repetitive tasks. They allow you to focus on what you do best while providing a valuable safety net, ensuring no task slips through the cracks.

Imagine this scenario: you find yourself in a back-to-back meeting schedule, and while you may take your own notes, it’s a relief to have an extra set of digital eyes and ears, an AI productivity bot, to assist you. This productivity bot accompanies you from one meeting to the next, listening in, transcribing discussions, summarizing key points, and even identifying action items.

But it doesn’t stop there. These bots can integrate seamlessly into your workflow, making appointments on your calendar and sending you reminders to follow through on your commitments. For instance, if you promised to deliver a report by Friday in a meeting on Tuesday, your trusty productivity bot will ensure you stay on track by sending you nudges throughout the week.

The AI-Powered L&D Future

Just a decade ago, many of the ideas—AI-generated translations and videos and personal productivity bots—would have sounded like science fiction. Yet here we are today, at the cusp of a new era in learning and talent development driven by the power of AI.

The magic in all these AI solutions lies in our ability to collaborate with them. They complement our capabilities, augmenting our work rather than automating it entirely. While they excel at handling the mundane, we, as human experts, contribute creative touch, critical thinking, and empathy.

About the Authors

Matt Donovan
Chief Learning & Innovation Officer
Early in life, I found that I had a natural curiosity that not only led to a passion for learning and sharing with others, but it also got me into trouble. Although not a bad kid, I often found overly structured classrooms a challenge. I could be a bit disruptive as I would explore the content and activities in a manner that made sense to me. I found that classes and teachers that nurtured a personalized approach really resonated with me, while those that did not were demotivating and affected my relationship with the content. Too often, the conversation would come to a head where the teacher would ask, “Why can’t you learn it this way?” I would push back with, “Why can’t you teach it in a variety of ways?” The only path for success was when I would deconstruct and reconstruct the lessons in a meaningful way for myself. I would say that this early experience has shaped my career. I have been blessed with a range of opportunities to work with innovative organizations that advocate for the learner, endeavor to deliver relevance, and look to bend technology to further these goals. For example, while working at Unext.com, I had the opportunity to experience over 3,000 hours of “learnability” testing on my blended learning designs. I could see for my own eyes how learners would react to my designs and how they made meaning of it. Learners asked two common questions: Is it relevant to me? Is it authentic? Through observations of and conversations with learners, I began to sharpen my skills and designed for inclusion and relevance rather than control. This lesson has served me well. In our industry, we have become overly focused on the volume and arrangement of content, instead of its value. Not surprising—content is static and easier to define. Value (relevance), on the other hand, is fluid and much harder to describe. The real insight is that you can’t really design relevance; you can only design the environment or systems that promote it. Relevance ultimately is in the eye of the learner—not the designer. So, this is why, when asked for an elevator pitch, I share my passion of being an advocate for the learner and a warrior for relevance.

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