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13 Sep 2018

AI vs “Always-On” Learning

Alexander Nicolaus

The benefits of AI, no matter how well-presented, can leave employees feeling uneasy and uncertain about their future and security of their jobs. Will AI one day wipe out thousands of jobs simultaneously? Will it become impossible to find another position in your field of choice? Will it become difficult to find long-term positions to move into?

I don’t think so and here is why…

What employees need – and many want – is the opportunity for continuous learning. By creating an “always-on” learning experience, you can encourage your team members to continually build skills, quickly and easily, on their own terms.

From Instructor-Led Classroom Training to e-Learning

The ongoing training and development of employees is often considered expensive and time consuming.

If you think of your employees as your greatest asset, the payoff is obvious, but when you look at the short-term costs, you may find it hard to justify.

Traditionally, training was conducted in classrooms and led by instructors. This is still how a lot of training is carried out today. Per Deloitte, two-thirds of companies it surveyed still practice traditional models of corporate training. The problem is that not everyone learns at the same pace or even has the same level of interest.

Along came e-learning. At first, it was just the same course material transferred to an online environment. The cost advantages were clear, but the learning experience still left something to be desired.

Today, course authors are developing material specifically for e-learning purposes, leveraging audio, video, graphics, and other visual elements, to stimulate the learning process. Now, e-learning isn’t just cost-effective – it’s also convenient. It allows your team members to learn from anywhere, at any time, at their own pace.

Hear more from Alexander Nicolaus and other top thought leaders at L&D Innovation & Tech Fest as they unpack what you need to know about the new world of Learning & Development.

Thanks to e-learning initiatives, it’s possible to maintain an “always-on” learning experience that’s constantly working behind the scenes.

The Power of Learning Management Systems

Learning Management Systems (or LMSs) are fast becoming comprehensive solutions for an organisation’s ongoing learning needs.

Certainly, they make for a great central holding place for course material. That alone would make LMSs worthwhile.

But more than that, they can be used to facilitate ongoing dialogue with the use of forums and internal social media channels, gamify the learning experience, allow users to access the community and training material from any device, connect your employees to relevant resources, and more.

It isn’t just learners who are impacted by these changes. Instructional designers are also starting to take a different role. In many cases, they are shifting to become learning experience designers and content curators because of the power of LMSs and the abundance of information already available. As it has often been said, “no need to reinvent the wheel”.

The Benefits of an Always-On Learning Attitude

There’s no getting around the fact that AI might make certain job roles redundant or obsolete.

But this isn’t to suggest that human involvement is unnecessary. Oftentimes, the most powerful combination is artificial intelligence accompanied by human intelligence. But this may require a different skill set.

That’s where e-learning comes in. An “always-on” learning environment allows your employees to engage in self-directed learning, which will keep their motivation levels high.

Frequently, team members are placed in certain roles because of their experience or skill set. But it might not be a strong area of interest for them, or even where they’d shine the brightest.

By allowing them to choose when, what, and how they want to learn, you’re giving them the opportunity to make themselves more valuable to your organisation in a variety of capacities. So long as you provide them with course materials that help them develop skills that can benefit the business, you can help them mitigate the risk of career loss.

My Own Learning

One of my own resolutions this year was to adopt a much more positive growth mindset. Consequently, I decided to enrol myself for a Fintech programme and in the autumn begin my leadership coaching certification. These are both short-term (3-9 months) modular learning courses, not too time consuming with a reasonable ROI, and complementary to my interest and future career aspirations.

I might be slow at ultra marathon running, but I will certainly not have AI impact the security of my job or future employability without putting up a good arm wrestle.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on AI and the future of work at the upcoming L&D Innovation & Tech Fest.

About the Author

Alexander Nicolaus is Head of Talent Acquisition at Grab Financial (Singapore). A commercially focused and strategic talent acquisition leader, Alexander comes from an international background with 15 years of experience including positions at Accenture, Jaguar, and Barclays Bank. Alexander is skilled at developing and driving innovative talent strategies to attract and retain exceptional people across disruptive and forward-thinking global organisations.

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