I’m sure by now, you know I’m a nerd for all things tech.
Especially, learning tech!
There’s so much fascinating stuff out there.
The latest introduction of consumer-facing AI tools is making the space even crazier.
But in a good way.
It’s time to go on a wild ride through the emerging learning tech scene. So grab a cup of your favourite beverage (mine’s white tea, FYI) and we’ll begin our totally awesome journey.
We’re going to explore:
- Artificial Intelligence
- VR and The Metaverse
I even invited some friends from the L&D world to share their hot takes too.
Ok, let’s bring out the big guns first.
You’ve probably heard of ChatGPT right now. Hell, I bet you’re 94 yr old Grandmother has heard of ChatGPT.
Yet, ChatGPT is not the only AI tool in town.
Like all industries, the introduction of consumer AI tools will change the way we work and learn. How it does is remained to be seen.
Yet, we can take some fun guesses, right?
Artificial intelligence, or AI as the cool kids say, is used to describe a computer system’s ability to perform tasks that would usually require human intelligence, such as recognising patterns or understanding natural language.
It’s like having a personal assistant who can help you with complex tasks, but without needing to take a lunch break!
AI is quickly becoming a major player in all industries, not just the learning space.
We’re seeing tailored use cases already with tools from Synthesia and D-ID aiming to support learning designers in the corporate world. These tools focus on using digital avatars to speed up the content creation process.
To learn more about Synthesia, I asked fellow L&D friend Kevin Alster from the Synthesia team to share his thoughts. Can you guess what product he used to create this?
Here are more ways AI can support workplace L&D teams.
AI can analyse data on how employees learn and use that information to deliver personalised learning experiences.
AI can automate routine tasks, such as scheduling and tracking progress (urgh!), freeing up L&D teams to focus on more important tasks.
- Real-time feedback
AI can provide real-time feedback to individuals, helping them to identify areas for improvement quickly at the point of need. No waiting 6 months for that performance review!
- Predictive analytics
AI can analyse data on individual behaviour and use that information to predict future performance, helping L&D teams to identify and address potential issues before they become a problem.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds very minority report-like to me!
I could not finish this section without mentioning the biggest superstar in the AI world right now – Chat GPT.
It’s the first consumer-facing tool to break through. It’s been my helpful companion in writing this article and speeding up my research efforts.
You can learn more about how I use Chat-GPT here and how you can get the best from it with clear prompts.
Virtual Reality/ The Metaverse
Ok, this is the thing which the company formerly known as Facebook has gone all in on (at the time of writing, anyway).
Now called Meta, its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg heralded the Metaverse as “The next chapter for the internet. Our goal is to help build the fundamental tech to bring the metaverse to life.”
But, will it live up to the hype?
It’s been derailed of late due to the breakthrough of AI-powered work companions, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead.
Let’s delve deeper into this:
Blockchain education blog, That Blockchain Thing, defines the Metaverse as “a shared virtual space where people can interact with one another and with digital objects using avatars. Think of it as a mix between the internet and virtual reality.”
In a lot of ways, the Metaverse feels like the next evolution of VR.
Till now, most VR experiences have merely been like watching a film.
Now, we have the capability to not only engage but manipulate these virtual spaces too.
To learn more about this world, I reached out to Helen Routledge from the immersive learning firm, Totem Learning.
I posed two questions to Helen:
1/ What opportunities could VR provide to the workplace learning industry?
The key benefit VR can bring is safe practice.
It has the potential to transport people anywhere. You put on the headset and can be doing anything.
So, rather than using that power to simulate offices, which most of us have experienced and can easily access, let’s use it to take people where they can’t go.
For example, at Totem, we’ve created VR welding experiences, enclosed spaces training and company vision pieces which end up in space.
Any training that is expensive to organise, that comes with health and safety overheads, or requires specific setups and rigs are perfect opportunities to explore VR.
The business case of reduced costs, overheads and potential to reduce accidents is easy to make.
And while it is exciting to don a headset and be wowed by the visuals, for L&D, it will always boil down to impact and return on investment.
I want people to explore this technology but we need to balance the excitement with real-world applications.
At Totem, we help organisations work through these challenges to ensure they are using the right technology for the right objective.
2/ How do you see VR tech and the promise of learning in the Metaverse fully realised in how we work and learn today?
I see huge potential for VR in learning and development for the right challenges.
However, the deployment and support challenges need to be ironed out. For example. right now if you use Meta’s VR everyone will need a Facebook account.
Now when it comes to the Metaverse, this might be a controversial opinion but I take everything I read with a passive pinch of salt.
A lot of what is being touted as the Metaverse is just gaming.
When you dig below the surface in the purpose-built Metaverse worlds we see very low user uptake, and frankly, a lot of poor design.
But this technology has been around for many years.
Critically, we should always be asking ourselves, ‘what problem is this solving?’ before thinking about any tech solution.
You’ve probably heard the word blockchain associated a lot with the crypto industry.
Crypto is probably the first real use case anyone made of the blockchain. But, let’s be clear, blockchains are the technology that powers lots of uses. Imagine the blockchain like Apple iOS.
Better yet, let’s ask Chat GPT to help us here.
Firstly, I asked CGPT to give me a standard definition of a blockchain. Here’s the response:
“A blockchain is a secure digital ledger that records transactions and cannot be altered once recorded.”
I like how it got straight to the point.
Let’s tweak this and ask it to explain the concept of blockchain tech like we’re 5 years old 👇.
“Imagine you and your friends are playing with building blocks.
Each of you has a block, and you can stack your blocks on top of each other to make a tower.
Now imagine that instead of building blocks, we have special blocks that can remember things, like a diary. When you add something to your block, everyone else can see it too, just like if you showed them what you wrote in your diary.
But what if we didn’t want anyone to be able to change what we wrote in our blocks?
That’s where the magic of the special blocks comes in.
Once we add something to our block, it gets locked in place and can’t be changed. And when we stack our blocks on top of each other, they all get locked in place too, like a tower that can never be taken apart.
That’s what a blockchain is: a tower made of special blocks that can remember things, and once something is added, it can’t be changed.”
Fair play, CGPT. You did good.
Make sense? Good, let’s roll onto use cases in workplace L&D.
- Issue and verify credentials
Blockchains can be used to securely verify and issue credentials, such as certifications or degrees, for employees who complete training courses or programs.
An L&D team can use a blockchain to create digital credentials that are tamper-proof and can be easily verified by employers or other third parties. Pretty cool, huh?
- Personal learning data
Blockchains can be used to create decentralised and transparent learning data for employees.
Each employee’s learning history and achievements can be securely recorded on the blockchain, giving L&D teams a complete picture of an employee’s skills and competencies.
This data can be transferred and accessed easily between teams. Perfect for a large organisation.
Who doesn’t love free presents when learning something new?
It’s a classic tactic used on kinds, yet still works well with adults.
Blockchains can be used to incentivise and reward employees for completing learning tasks or modules. So, an L&D team could create a blockchain-based rewards system that allows employees to earn tokens or coins for completing training tasks.
These tokens can then be redeemed for various rewards or perks, such as additional learning opportunities or company swag.
You have reached your destination
Well, that’s a wrap, folks!
From AI to VR and everything in between, the possibilities are endless.
And the best part? We’re only scratching the surface.
- Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it!
- New technologies are here to help us learn and grow in ways we never thought possible.
- Keep an open mind on emerging tech in your work.
Before you go… 👋
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