In our fast-paced world that we call “Earth”, where new gadgets and tools vie for our attention daily, there’s a transformative force quietly making its mark – Artificial Intelligence (AI). And in the learning and development space, AI isn’t just a buzzword, it’s reshaping the way we learn and teach.

At its core, AI serves as a tech-savvy sidekick, mirroring human intelligence in machines. Picture it as a digital companion well versed at problem-solving, language comprehension and decision-making. Within this realm, Machine Learning (ML) takes centre stage, enabling systems to learn and adapt without explicit programming.

Now, let’s start with the positives – personalised learning. AI possesses the remarkable ability to analyse individual learning styles, tailoring content to suit diverse preferences, including career development plans. It’s just like having a personal advisor, not only making learning more effective but also catering to the diverse ways in which we all absorb information.

Addressing the perennial challenges of assessments, AI emerges as a superhero with automated assessing and grading systems, even able to provide feedback and guidance. According to recent statistics from the McKinsey Global Institute, by automating administrative tasks, including grading, educators can reclaim up to a third of their time. This not only alleviates the burden on educators but also opens up opportunities for more engaging and interactive learning methods.

But there’s more – AI grants us access to learning anytime, anywhere with on-demand, 24/7 accessibility. This is the modern way, it’s what’s expected in 2024. UNESCO reports that over 1.57 billion learners worldwide faced disruptions in their learning journeys due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What happened? AI stepped in, offering a lifeline of continuous learning, transcending geographical boundaries and fostering a global culture of education on-the-go.

In the spirit of inclusivity, AI goes beyond accessibility, it breaks down language barriers. Imagine learning in your native language, regardless of your geographical location. AI translation tools actualise this vision, creating an inclusive space where languages seamlessly converge. Even in person technology is now available. Imagine facilitating a workshop for thirty people, all of which speak a different language to the facilitator. In yesterday’s world this would have been a problem to overcome, perhaps requiring multiple workshops, with multiple facilitators who speak the required language – all at extra cost. But today, this simply requires participants to wear a headset, and in real time the facilitators words are translated into any chosen language. It goes further, you can even choose the style of voice, and in some instances a famous voice to deliver your message! As I sit here now, this congers’ visions of David Jason in the character of Del Boy delivering me learning on fire safety. But in all seriousness, there is an ethical side to this that must be considered. It must be controlled and monitored, or before too long we will not know what is real and what is AI quoted.

Yet, AI grapples with more than just ethical challenges. The potential for biases in AI algorithms, as clever as they are, poses a concern. According to a survey conducted by EdSurge and Digital Promise, 68% of teachers express worries about biases in AI tools used in education scenarios. Vigilance is crucial to ensuring fairness and impartiality.

Addressing the elephant in the room – job displacement. AI’s role is more of a sidekick than a substitute. It’s here to enhance what we as human beings do, making learning even more exciting. It’s a collaboration, not a competition – humans and AI working together to create ultimate solutions and opportunity. Ai does its thing, leaving us to innovate and apply that human touch that can never be replaced. Statistics from the World Economic Forum provide a reassuring perspective here. By 2025, AI is expected to create 12 million more jobs than it displaces, signalling a shift towards AI as a catalyst for new job opportunities rather than a threat. Just like the introduction of mobile phones in the late 90’s, replacing traditional landline telephones, you can resit it, but it’s here and its only going to get bigger.

As for privacy concerns, they are not unfounded. AI thrives on data, but with great data comes great responsibility (see what I did there). Implementing robust measures to safeguard our information is paramount, instilling our trust in this AI-infused journey.

Now, the exciting part – AI is not a distant dream, it’s already leaving an indelible mark on the world around us. Adaptive learning platforms like DreamBox and Knewton, mentioned by EdSurge Research, tailor materials for personalised learning experiences. Language learning apps like Duolingo, boasting over 300 million users globally, showcase AI’s prowess in adapting lessons to individual paces, making language acquisition a breeze.

In the professional realm we’re seeing an impact too. Imagine a sales team improving negotiation skills through AI-powered simulations from companies like Rehearsal. These simulations analyse responses, providing personalised feedback for targeted coaching, accelerating the learning process.

For corporate training, platforms like Pathgather (now Degreed) use AI algorithms to curate personalised learning paths. By assessing individual skills and aspirations, employees receive tailored recommendations, fostering a culture of continuous learning.

In compliance training, AI-driven platforms such as Kryon automate course creation and updates. They use natural language processing to ensure content aligns with regulations, streamlining the learning process.

AI is also enhancing leadership development with platforms like Butterfly.ai. Using natural language processing, these platforms analyse leaders’ communication styles, offering actionable insights for targeted coaching, refining leadership skills or a personal basis.

In talent acquisition, Eightfold.ai leverages AI to analyse resumes and identify top candidates based on skills and cultural fit. This data-driven approach expedites recruitment and ensures unbiased talent acquisition.

These real-world examples demonstrate how AI is a practical tool, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of business learning across vast domains. AI really is everhwere!

What’s more, imagine cars driving themselves! No not in a sci-fi movie, but on the roads around you. AI makes it happen by reading the road with cameras and sensors. The UK Automated Vehicles Bill was published last year and has put the UK at the forefront of regulation of self-driving technology. It’s estimated that 38,000 new jobs will be created in the UK alone from this £42 billion industry. It’s huge!

For me, as AI continues to evolve, we need to embrace its potential, celebrate its benefits and address challenges responsibly. The partnership between humans and AI isn’t about technology overshadowing us, it’s about technology enhancing the human touch. Let’s ride this wave of innovation, where AI becomes our ally, making the journey of learning even more exciting and enriching.

To learn more, check out a recent episode of the Ever-So-Lean Podcast, where I met with AI and Learning expert Steve Dineen from Fuse Universal – https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-fwazy-1479720

To hear more of my ramblings, follow me on LinkedIn – Matt Sims, or check out my Blogs at Blog – Ever-So-Lean (eversolean.com)

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