Whether it’s in the form of apprenticeships and on-the-job training to modern blended learning, L&D has come a long way. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) is making sweeping changes across industries, helping businesses to be more productive and dynamic. AI is more than what we see with Siri, Alexa or the movie “Ex-Machina.” AI can be a chatbot that pops up at the bottom of a website when you’re buying a laptop or booking an airline ticket – or a learning management system asking employees if they need help.

Scholars Kaplan Andreas and Michael Haenlein identify three types of AI. Analytical AI “has only characteristics consistent with cognitive intelligence’ and uses past experience to make predictions. Human-inspired AI “has elements from cognitive as well as emotional intelligence” and can perform such tasks as recognizing emotions. Humanized AI, which “shows characteristics of all types of competencies (i.e., cognitive, emotional, and social intelligence),” does not yet exist.

The question on L&D professionals’ minds is how AI will impact and improve L&D.

L&D and AI: The Blend

AI will help L&D in three phases.

AI phases

Beginning and Intermediary Phase (Where We Are)

Search engines can use AI to help learners find information on relevant topics, and AI chatbots help teams be more productive. For example, “Jim” helps the DBS talent team reduce time in candidate screening, and DBS is also updating the bot to assess employees.

Intermediary and Advance Phase (Where We’re Going)

With machine learning and deep learning, programmers can create advanced AI trainers who can ask learners what they need and want to learn and then deliver training in audio and visual methods. For example:

Learner: Alexa, I need to work on the Situational Leadership model.

Alexa: Which Situational Leadership mode? Do you want the Hershey model or the Blacnhard model? I also recommend that you learn about this model …

How many hours do you spend creating content? Organizations can use AI to validate needs analysis data and then create content accordingly. They can also use AI to coach and mentor employees on specific skills or to prepare them for future roles.

Finally, organizations will be able to load the entire training process into an AI program, from creating training calendars to scheduling courses to delivering programs.


AI assists us in various ways, from smart cars to smart watches. These applications will continue to expand in L&D as well. What skills do L&D professionals need? The most critical is your knowledge of learning and organizational development concepts, but you’ll also need to upskill yourself in these areas:

  • Machine learning: an application of AI that provides computer systems with the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience.
  • Deep learning: a subset of machine learning that uses artificial neural networks that learn by processing data and mimic the biological neural networks of the human brain.
  • Natural language processing: technology that allows computers to interpret, recognize and produce human language, including speech.

AI is powerful, when it’s used well. Realizing its potential will define the learning and development of the future – which is why we, as L&D professionals, need to develop a better understanding of how AI can work with training.

To learn more about AI and L&D, come to TICE 2019, and attend Gabriel’s session.