In this era of on-demand access to any content we want at any given time, workplace learning has been transformed to meet our evolving expectations. What was once an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all experience has now been replaced by the rise of learning solutions that reach learners where they are and deliver content that is relevant to their own learning journeys.

To accomplish these goals, organizations are increasingly turning to machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to connect learners with the right content at the right time. These powerful tools allow learning and development (L&D) leaders to break down the barriers of standardized training. These experiences are engaging, timely and better aligned with personal development and organizational objectives.

Personalized learning that utilizes human-powered AI allows for concentrated practice in a psychologically safe space, in which learners feel more engaged, supported and empowered to acquire the essential skills that take them and their organizations to the next level.

Leaders will want to consider these trends when considering how they can incorporate AI into their strategic and personalized training and development initiatives:

The Value of Practicing, Failing and Trying Again

 Learning and skill-building should never be one-and-done; they should be continuous and an integral part of a company’s culture. Learning essential skills through practice is fundamental, but in most organizations, the process of trying, failing and trying again is largely unstructured.

Organizations can build and support their L&D initiatives by prioritizing and positioning practice as an essential element of learning. An organization that creates this priority and provides a safe space to continually practice essential skills will see positive business outcomes and true transformation.

Meeting Learners Where They Are

The most effective L&D programs have a clear perspective about what it takes to achieve proficiency in skills or competencies and illuminate a pathway for learners to achieve them, taking into account individual needs, prior knowledge and capabilities, learner support and real-world relevance. This process is more effective with access to rich information and deep learner data.

Learning programs that are tailored to the individual are centered on:

    • Motivation and engagement: Learners must feel connected to the content and that it is relevant to their career and job role at all stages throughout the L&D program.
    • Empowerment: Learners have the agency to lead successful outcomes and multiple opportunities to achieve the program’s objectives and goals.
    • Challenge consistency: Learners should expect a consistent degree of difficulty throughout the program and that the goal can realistically be completed in the time allotted.
    • Responsiveness: Learners receive prompts and realistic feedback that indicate progress against goals.
    • Support: Learners get appropriate support to facilitate and extend learning during the program and beyond.

The Role of Human-powered AI in Personalization

Leadership requires power skills such as the ability to build trust and connections, influence others, problem solve, present information well, and coach team members. These are no longer viewed as “nice to have” skills. They are key ingredients to successfully navigate challenging situations, build company loyalty, and enhance employee longevity. In short, they lead to bottom-line results.

Immersive learning solutions using human-powered AI offer learners the opportunity to practice these skills through simulations in a safe, interactive and fun space. Simulations present practice opportunities through scenarios that prepare learners, scaffold them appropriately and facilitate feedback and reflection. Simulations also measure and assess a person’s abilities throughout the engagement and use that data to extend learning journeys in meaningful ways.

Imagine, for example, that you are a new manager who has to give difficult feedback to a team member. While you may feel unprepared to do so in an empathetic way, this demonstrates a real opportunity for growth. A simulation using human-powered AI, in which you interact with a responsive, human-led avatar, allows you to practice this skill as needed. You can test out different approaches, pause the simulation to bring down anxiety and gather your thoughts and try again. You can practice until you feel confident to have the conversation with your team member.

The safe space created by the simulation removes any barriers that come from interacting with another person and increases the learner’s vulnerability, leading to more authentic interactions and personal development. Implementing a culture of practice encourages continual growth and empowers all employees to lead with empathy.

Customization vs. Personalization

You might think that customization and personalization are the same thing. But when it comes to L&D, they are distinctly different.

Customization in corporate training focuses on a limited view of departmental needs or the need to take a particular action, such as compliance-based training. While some corporate training needs to be customized to adhere to specific and specialized needs throughout a company’s lifecycle, customization alone doesn’t prioritize imparting organization-wide skills or consider a learner’s own performance and comfort level with the subject. In fact, the more customization that is done when developing a learning program, the less relevant the resulting data becomes as the analytics are unable to reveal larger trends, patterns and skills gaps within the company’s workforce.

Personalization is much more advantageous for today’s organizations. Personalized learning programs are aligned with individual and organizational needs rather than to a particular role, transforming them from rote activities into supercharged strategic business initiatives. They consider a learner’s level of performance in acquiring skills (from beginner to advanced), not just identify what skills they need to learn.

As mentioned, data is a key component of personalized training. Consistent analysis of learner performance is imperative for an organization because it can identify trends in their workforce that give them a chance to focus their training in specific areas. The essence of personalization is the innate ability to measure performance in real time and over an extended period of time. Learners benefit from direct and immediate feedback while they are learning. Meanwhile, they also have the advantage of experiencing improvements or opportunities for growth over time. This allows them, as well as their managers and mentors, to know what they need to improve or advance to the next level in their learning.

Personalization + Practice = Powerful Transformation

When learning is personalized — tailored to fit the learner’s needs as well as the organization’s objectives — and it encourages deep practice, opportunities for change abound. Immersive learning solutions that harness the possibilities of human-powered AI deliver on this promise and uphold learners throughout these transformational journeys.