Is AI the be-all-end-all of LMS?

2020-09-23

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an integral part of our life each day without us even realizing it. Just as it influences our personal lives (think recommendations while shopping/watching content online or tracking Uber rides), it has also made inroads into our professional lives, especially the learning and development function.

Today, learning management systems or LMSs present one of the greatest opportunities for AI. AI provides numerous benefits to an LMS and lends a futuristic approach to the employee learning experience. An AI-powered LMS helps streamline the way information is offered to learners, facilitating a personalized pathway in a seamless manner. AI also provides precise recommendations based on specific information needs and preferences of users.

Yet, it is also important to understand that while AI makes the learning function easier with all its paybacks, it still requires a human input to function.

The Technology Paradox

The learning function essentially is a great platform for ‘man and machine’ to work together or for ‘human and tech’ to co-exist. Technology like AI definitely enables the learning function to perform well, but learning still thrives better with the ‘human’ element in it. In fact, amidst the growing rhetoric that technological developments may wipe out many jobs in the coming future, it is important to find a balance between technology and human, in all functions, including learning and development.

A strong LMS needs a human touch to flourish and create meaningful learning experiences. Even though AI can offer robust data through surveys and ratings, the metrics still need to be updated by human hands. Also, while AI can increase the functionality of an LMS, it cannot make up for shoddy content. In short, AI augments learning and development but still needs a little human help to enhance the function.

So, while AI is, no doubt an important part of an LMS, the LMS of the future also needs to be one that:

1.Enables collaboration

At a time when social media has become all pervasive, impacting every single aspect of our lives, LMSs that facilitate social learning can be effectively leveraged to offer a quality learning experience. Social or informal learning is the process by which new knowledge is gained through observing peers and interacting with them. It is a great method to learn from each another through social media and knowledge collaboration tools. Social learning is an informal setting that gives learners the leeway to connect with their peers, exchange knowledge, as well as seek help from more experienced individuals.

Through social learning, an LMS can engage learners and make the online training very collaborative for employees. As is known, learning in a social environment is much more effective because the knowledge is organically acquired through interaction and collaboration without a structured approach, which means it can be retained longer.

By incorporating social learning features in an LMS, organizations can create sustainable learning communities around absolutely any topic, course or concept. LMS with social learning integration is like a two–way street that kindles learner engagement and interaction in a natural manner.

Learners can learn in collaboration with each other in real time using social learning functionalities in an LMS. Features such as live video streaming or webinars can be used for an interactive experience while multiple other formats such as audio, video, infographics, interactive sessions, etc can also be used and shared via social media.

2.FacilitatesCommunication

Just as communication platforms are becoming a growing trend in different businesses, in L&D too communication platforms are becoming popular. LMSs that combine real-time communication including text-based and voice-based communication and are equipped with collaborative features like video calling, file sharing and screen sharing are highly effective. LMSs that have communication platforms come with a host of engaging features that today’s modern workforce can relate to. It helps to have a facility that allows to communicate instantly and share files across different mobile devices. The anytime, anywhere connectivity is an added advantage. Also, as compared to a conventional communication system like email, the instant messaging feature offers more responsiveness.

3.Acts as an agent of Culture Change

An LMS, surprisingly, can also become a very effective agent of culture change in a company. It helps bring information directly to employees and in the bid breaks down several barriers including education, gender etc. It brings all employees on the same page in terms of training and development and creates a vital sense of unity within an organization.This also improves employee motivation because it reduces the need for multiple training sessions in varied locations. An LMS also boosts the overall confidence of employees about their workplace because it ensures that they are in the know of important organizational policies by delivering the necessary training.

AI can undoubtedly take the efficiency of an LMS to another level. But an LMS still requires the human element to flourish and should essentially act as system that is in the true sense ‘social’ and empowering for learners. It needs to incorporate features that enable peer learning, collaboration, and informal learning. After all, the best results are achieved when people and machines work together in tandem!

 

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