Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the way we work, and the field of learning and development (L&D) is no exception. But how can L&D professionals best use generative AI technology?

A recent research report by Wiley, “Artificial Intelligence in Learning and Development: Five Surprising Facts You Need to Know,” revealed that the majority of workers surveyed (59%) prefer to see an instructor rather an AI direct their workforce development learning, and an even bigger majority (87%) want their L&D content to be developed by a subject matter expert — that is, a person — not AI technology.

Clearly, employees want humans to create, plan and direct their L&D activities. But that doesn’t mean that AI can’t be used at all to support L&D. The same survey suggested that employees find it perfectly acceptable for L&D professionals to use AI to make their jobs easier.

AI has the potential to make a lot of jobs easier. When it comes to the work of L&D professionals, AI can increase efficiency and even completely take over administrative tasks that typically take up a lot of time, freeing them up to focus on more strategic efforts such as content development, program evaluation and learner engagement.

Some basic tasks that AI can perform, saving time and effort for L&D professionals, include the following:

  • Enrollment: AI can be used to automate the enrollment process for learners, including collecting and validating their information, sending confirmation emails and creating user profiles.
  • Scheduling: AI can automate the scheduling of training sessions, taking into account factors such as learner availability, instructor availability and room availability.
  • Tracking performance and progress: AI can be used to track learner performance and progress, providing L&D professionals with insights into how learners are engaging with the content and whether they are meeting the learning objectives.

AI can also perform more complicated tasks to help make L&D professionals’ jobs easier, such as analyzing employee skills and preferences to recommend personalized learning paths, implementing chatbots to answer common questions and identifying areas where learners are struggling so that the training content can be adapted to provide additional support.

It’s true that not all employees will embrace AI as a time-saving tool. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that companies which have built AI algorithms to make jobs easier often find that workers don’t welcome the assistance.

And, as ABC News reported a few months ago, many workers are concerned about AI taking away their jobs, rather than making them easier. The threat of AI technology replacing frontline workers and other types of employees definitely exists.

But L&D professionals are generally optimistic about benefits of using AI. Wiley’s report shows nearly two-thirds of the professionals surveyed agreed that using AI for administrative tasks will increase efficiency.

Several organizations have already started harnessing the power of AI to streamline their L&D processes. IBM’s AI-powered Watson Assistant, for instance, has been used to create chatbots that guide employees through training resources and answer their queries. Deloitte’s adaptive learning platform employs AI to personalize learning journeys for its employees, resulting in increased engagement and knowledge retention.

The role of L&D professionals in nurturing talent and driving personal and professional growth cannot be overstated. This is likely why workers want the human touch in L&D activities.

By embracing AI-powered automation, however, L&D professionals can reduce the workload of administrative tasks and spend more time on strategic efforts that give that human touch to employees, enhancing the overall learning experience for workers and ultimately contributing to improved business outcomes.