Workplace Learning & Technology Trends 2020 (Part 2): AI-Powered Learn-Tech Tools & Solutions


As weslowly come closer to the end of 2019, it’s that time of the year again to lookat what ‘was’ and what ‘will be’ in the year to come. Every year brings with ita flurry of new trends, mostly driven by emerging technologies and innovations,which transform employee training just a little bit every time.

With the global eLearning market on a growth trajectory and poised to touch $15.72 billion by the year 2021, it is up to organizations and L&D leaders to get ahead of the curve and start planning and strategizing to leverage the newer learning and learning technology trends for the coming year/s.

Over thenext few weeks, we will take a detailed and comprehensive look at what L&Dleaders must embrace and what they need to let go of in 2020 and beyond- be itin terms of eLearning, learning delivery, employee engagement, new and emergingtechnologies and more.

In Part 1of this series we explored the value in leveraging Big Data, Learning Analytics & Reporting in 2020 and beyond. Today, we explore the role of ArtificialIntelligence (AI) in corporate learning.

Role of Artificial Intelligence

It’sabout time L&D leaders step up their game and realign themselves with the rapidtechnology advancements to optimize theirtraining impact, enhance the learning experience, and develop new strategies totake advantage of emerging technologies, especially Artificial Intelligence(AI).

Accordingto Gartner, AI bots will power 85% customerservice interactions by 2020, while 20% business(training) content will be created by AI. With the availability of limitless amountof data in organizations waiting for analysis to draw actionable insights,there is no doubt that AI will have a massive impact on L&D.

Today, AIis enabling L&D leaders to offer training content and delivery in ways thatwas unheard of before. AI can help L&D personalize content to suit learners’ needs by recommendingappropriate content, based on learningpatterns, style and behaviors and role-based learning, as well as auto-generatelearning content in real time. In terms of engagement, AI-enabled adaptive/ personalized learning has the potential totransform employee engagement.

However,it is also important for organizations and L&D leaders to first understandthe concept of AI, its advantages as well as limitations, before derivingconclusions on the capabilities presented by the technology.

As partof People Matters TechHR 2019 panel discussion, I had the opportunity to speakabout AI and employee engagement- ‘Anythingthat is measured is data and anything that is data can be processed andanalyzed. AI algorithms can be written to make sense of the large amount of learners’data, which can then be used to combine and analyze data from various systems.Using machine learning, data science and better understanding of learners’needs and behaviors, real-time and intelligent insights can then be drawn.

Furthermore,a constant calibration and re-calibration of the AI algorithms will keep theanalysis relevant and correct. For instance, AI can figure out which employeeor team shows varied engagement levels and what areas need more improvement.’

AI-PoweredSolutions in 2020 & Beyond

Goinginto 2020, it is wise to remember that AI is still in a rather nascent stage inits development in corporate learning. Tools and solutions for a wide range ofbusiness services are still widely unavailable. Global tech companies are layingthe groundwork and readying platforms which can be used to create solutionsthat use AI, but data still remains the most important part and its analysis interms of the domain.

Havingsaid that, AI-powered solutions are popping up everywhere in the learningindustry in the form of Chatbots, predictive analytics and behavior mappingtools, along with learning content development, training delivery, L&D operationsand more.

Today, skillsare fast becoming much valued assets in the talent-war to gain competitive advantage.Organizations are feeling the need to leverage varied skill-sets, while the demandfor skills itself is constantly evolving. But, adapting to an AI-led workplace isn’tmuch about more training, but rather, reskilling and upskilling and ‘new’ training. And, AI-powered solutions will play a key role inidentifying skills gaps in the workforce, recommend skills training and ensurea future-ready workforce.

Anotherapplication of AI is seen in the emergence of Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs).According to industry analyst Josh Bersin, "Todaylearning is about 'flow' not "instruction," and helping bringlearning to people throughout their digital experience," addingthat L&D must focus on ‘experience design’ and ‘employee learning journeys’and data-led solutions.

Althougheach organization has its unique training needs and goals, there are few commonbenefits of leveraging AI-powered solutions in training-

  • Training Content Development

Data-driven learning content development is an emerging AIapplication in L&D. Content development tools integrated with AI can assistInstructional Designers create content, based on suggestions such asstoryboards, text, graphics, etc. derived by the AI to make the learningcontent more engaging and effective.

  • Training Need Analysis (TNA)

Infused with AI, learning platforms like the LearningManagement System (LMS) can leverage its analytics data to make recommendations for training effectiveness by identifying training programs that can be upgraded forbetter learning outcomes.

  • Natural Language Processing (NPL)

With machine learning and deep learning, AI can understand anyand all languages to enable voice-based content creation as well as delivery,making the whole mechanism much faster.

  • Virtual Instructor

AI can be leveraged to offer a Virtual Instructor to learnersfor simpler courses, while it can work in tandem with L&D professionals todevelop complex training materials like certifications.

  • Tracking &Feedback

As data is at the centre of any AI application, collectinglearners’ data in the form of surveys, feedback etc. will foster an improvementcycle, where AI will automate the feedback collection process (via a Chatbot), whilealso providing insights by identifying popular courses and improvement areas.

As weventure in to the New Year, it is important to remember that these are some ofthe existing applications, while additional use-cases are sure to slowly pop upwith AI gaining a greater foothold in more enterprise solutions.


Clearly,the advantages of AI are manifold. However, the key is to approach AI inlearning by identifying a specific problem and then figuring out how AI canhelp with the solution. Businesses as well as the workforce need to show theirreadiness to be agile and warm-up to AI and automation, and reskill/ upskill to take up advanced roles and responsibilities. More importantly, organizations and employees need tofoster a learning culture, maximizing the desire to learn over a lifetime inorder to successfully integrate AI in corporate learning.

Next upin the series, we will explore the emergence of Learning Experience Platforms(LXPs) and how learners stand to benefit from leveraging them to reskill/upskill for the future of work.