With business needs shifting rapidly, new technologies disrupting the status quo, and traditional ways of working and learning quickly nearing extinction, learners need access to information in their time of need to keep pace. On top of that, with the overwhelming amount of information and technologies available, finding relevant training on demand can be a challenge.

Fortunately, by leveraging innovative technologies and creating a culture that supports continuous learning in the flow of work, learning and development (L&D) can deliver just-in-time learning when, where, and how employees need it.

Intelligent Recommendations in the Moments That Matter

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) including natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision can help curate and deliver content in leaners’ moments of need. For example, if an employee is prepping for an important sales call, they might be looking to brush up on their negotiation skills beforehand. Rather than venturing out into a learning management system (LMS) to find a relevant course, or even searching the web for instructional videos or how-to documents, the employee can use AI and ML algorithms to recommend relevant resources directly to the learner.

For instance, collaborative filtering, an ML technique, can be used to recommend instructional videos and relevant resources to learners in their moment of need, such as before an upcoming meeting. Meaningful course engagement, written feedback, and reviews (using NLP) from other past learners can also be ingested and inferred into AI models, which can then recommend content sections (i.e., video segments, specific pages, time segments in an audio file, etc.) that are especially useful and targeted to learners’ individual needs. Adding other contextual information such as employee experience, language, location, their preferences, etc., can allow the AI models to make more targeted recommendations. This saves both time and resources: Employees gain access to the training they need without wasting time navigating different systems, increasing productivity and limiting time away from the job at hand. Employers with all of the data points collected can gain deeper visibility into understanding training content that works and also decipher other content that should be added to the learning catalog.

While there still remains value in formal, structured training programs (i.e., comprehensive leadership development programs, solution selling methodologies, etc.) intelligent recommendations can bring bite-sized learning to employees in the moments that matter, such as before an important pitch or when working on a tight deadline for an important project. In other words, AI and ML can help deliver training that can’t wait.

Learning at the Speed of Change

Organizations across industries are facing unprecedented change, with social and economic shifts transforming the way we work — and learn. Even as we’re making our way toward what many have deemed as the “new normal,” business transformation isn’t slowing down any time soon, and rapid upskilling must be a priority for companies looking to stay competitive. After all, as business priorities change and transform, so will individual job roles. For instance, with many companies embracing permanent remote or hybrid work post-pandemic, leaders at those companies must learn to manage remotely — which requires an entirely new set of skills. The bottom line? Employees need to be prepared to adapt as their roles shift, and L&D needs to help reskill and upskill them accordingly.

However, identifying current and future skills gaps across the enterprise is easier said than done. AI and ML can help automate and augment this process by giving you insight into which programs and resources employees are looking for, which skills they have already mastered, which skills others found to be useful to do their jobs efficiently, and which ones they may need in the future. For example, an algorithm might recommend a course on a new coding language to learners who have accessed coding resources or programs in the past. Similarly, it might recommend an unconscious bias training course to a leader who has recently taken a self-awareness assessment. Intelligent, crowd-sourced recommendations will help proactively upskill your workforce by providing insight on the future skills it needs to thrive.

Mixed reality (MR) is another innovative technology that delivers personalized learning in the flow of work. It allows learners to experience various virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) worlds, where they can interact with physical and digital objects in real time. In combining the best of both AR and VR, MR is transforming the way learning is delivered and consumed.

With AI-generated data at your fingertips, and the help of immersive learning programs, you can create impactful and engaging learning journeys at scale and ensure that your learners have the skills they need to adapt when business priorities shift.

Culture Starts at the Top

When Microsoft’s chief executive officer Satya Nadella famously said, “For too long we’ve been the know-it-all company, and we need to become the learn-it-all company,” in an interview with Bloomsburg Businessweek, it signaled a pivotal shift in the prioritization of continuous learning.

Innovative technologies can bring training to your learners in their moment of need. But if they don’t feel supported and motivated to learn on the job, it’s unlikely they will take advantage of all that personalized learning has to offer. Leaders must prioritize L&D in all its forms. They must play an active role in the development of their employees, help them make time for learning, and create a plan for future growth. Leaders play an active role in creating a learning culture, which leads to new ideas, creative problem-solving, and flexibility to meet challenges as they arise.

In addition to getting your leaders on board, find dedicated learning champions from all organizational levels to promote continuous learning. After a learner completes a course or program, or even after they learn a new skill or ability, encourage them to share their accomplishment with others as well as how it brought them closer to their career goals. Your learning champions will act as change agents who will inspire employees across the enterprise to prioritize learning in their day-to-day roles.

Benefits for All

AI, ML, and other innovative technologies can push relevant content to employees in the flow of work, delivering personalized learning at scale. This offers organizations a competitive advantage: As business continues to transform, it ensures its people are equipped to handle whatever obstacles come their way.

Whether a merger or acquisition, a shift to remote work, or learning to navigate new technologies and systems, personalized learning ensures your people are prepared to not only survive but also thrive during times of change. For more information, visit KPMG Learning Services.

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