Learning Technology

Don’t Fall For This Tool Before Use Case Trap

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report recently revealed a statistic that caught my eye.

A whopping 86% of people want to use AI to summarise their meetings. Now, that’s a number worth talking about, isn’t it?

We’re all swamped with meetings that seem to go on forever, and if a tool can help us cut through the noise, why not use it? The allure of new technology, especially something as buzzworthy as AI, can often cloud our judgment.

The problem with being starstruck by technology

We live in an age where AI is often treated like the second coming of the tech gods.

It’s heralded as the solution to all our problems, from climate change to healthcare. But let’s not forget, any tool—no matter how advanced—is only as good as the problem it solves.

Read that line again. Let it sink in.

The issue isn’t with the technology itself but with our inflated expectations of what it can do.

While AI has the potential to revolutionise various aspects of our lives, it’s not going to bring about world peace or build a utopian society overnight.

And guess what? Most of us are okay with that. We’re not looking for a miracle. We’re looking for practical solutions to everyday problems.

What do we really want from tech?

The majority of us are simple creatures.

We want to offload tasks that are frustrating, time-consuming, or downright boring so we can focus on things that bring us joy or add value to our lives.

That’s where AI comes in handy. But before you jump on the AI bandwagon (or any tech bandwagon) , it’s crucial to identify the use case first.

Don’t get swept away by market expectations or the latest trends.

How to choose the right tech tool for the job

The Four-Step Approach to Smart Tech Use

When discussing the adoption of any new technology, especially something as complex as AI, it’s essential to have a structured approach.

Here’s a little cheat sheet to guide your conversations:

  1. Use Case: What problem are you trying to solve?
  2. Problem: Why is this issue important?
  3. Task: What specific tasks need to be accomplished to solve the problem?
  4. Tool: Which tool can best accomplish these tasks?

Notice the order?

It’s easy to get excited about a new tool and make the mistake of putting it at the top of your list. Don’t. Always start with the problem you’re trying to solve.

Final thoughts

Digital technology has a lot to offer, but it’s not a magic wand.

They’re tools, and like any tool, they need to be used wisely.

So the next time you find yourself seduced by the latest AI tool, take a step back and ask yourself: “What problem am I trying to solve?”

Because at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

Artificial intelligence Learning Technology

Why L&D Teams Can’t Afford To Get It Wrong With Generative AI

I stumbled upon research this week (probably while doom-scrolling) that shared most Americans don’t think generative AI tools will have a major impact on their job.

But they do think it will impact others much more.

Learning Technology

How To Stop Buying More Bloated Learning Tech

The mind is buzzing on all things learning technology today.

It’s funny to me how I’ve watched the transition over the last few decades in the L&D industry from ‘we need to have as many classroom courses as possible’ to ‘we need as much learning tech as possible’.

When I spoke at the Learning Technologies conference in London late last year, I shared with the 200 attendees packed into our room that the average organisation has 88 different pieces of digital technology for employees to useThat’s bloody mad, right?

If you think about it, it’s not really that staggering in today’s world. I’ve worked with large organisations that have had 20+ LMS/LXPs and tiny organisations that have nothing but a Google doc.

In a confusing land of boundless technology and pressure from market expectations. We lose our way with acquiring shiny new things when we would do well to step back and figure out what’s the right tool for the job. Spoiler: It might mean no tech.

This week’s words were inspired by other words I wrote on LinkedIn.

I shared a thesis that LMS vs LXP is the wrong question and that the right tool for the job is the better one. I fully expected to be met with hellfire and brimstone. Mainly from tech vendors, (I know some of you are reading this!), but that didn’t happen.

Instead, I saw an outpour of “Yes, thank you for saying this”.

So, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief at least knowing I’m not as crazy as I think on some days. The core of my thesis was L&D teams struggle to get unstuck in what can easily be a confusing land of boundless pieces of technology. Which (IMO) means we would be better positioned to ask these questions of ourselves and our teams before uttering the word’ tech’:

1️⃣ What are you solving?

2️⃣ Who are you serving?

3️⃣ What is the best tool for that job?

The reaction to this post got me thinking.

What tools and insights can I share with you to navigate the often complex field of learning technology in your organisation, and most importantly, if you need it?

After a decade-plus dealing with vendors, L&D teams and senior leaders (I’m looking at you CFOs). I’ve picked up a few useful thoughts and experiences which I hope can serve you well.

1️⃣ The Ultimate Checklist Before Buying New Learn Tech

This is a meaty one which walks through the process I used with a 30,000-plus sized business. The key takeaways are to figure out if you really need anything new and pick partners, not providers. Read the whole thing to learn from my wins and avoid my failures.

2️⃣ The 5-Step Framework To Build Your Tech Stack

This one came from a webinar I delivered for Degreed and their customers.

It’s the same framework I’ve used across enterprise orgs and scale-ups with a few tweaks here and there to avoid costly tech mistakes.

3️⃣ The Learning Tech Decision Template

This is a variation of a template I used with quite a few companies over the last 6-ish years.

It’s short and simple but incredibly effective in encouraging critical thinking on your technology decisions. This is the companion to the above visual and you can get the template here.

Ok, folks. That’s it from me.

I hope these tools and insights serve you well in your own practice.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

Learning Technology

5 Innovative EdTech Platforms Redefining Workplace Learning (2023)

In a $360 billion dollar industry with what seems like limitless technology options. It’s hard to cut through the noise.

This is a list of the most innovative EdTech platforms for the workplace.

Artificial intelligence Learning Technology

AI Copilots Will Finally Fulfil The Promise Of ‘Learning in The Flow of Work’

Back in 2018, famed HR analyst, Josh Bersin coined the term “Learning in the Flow of Work®” and the L&D world went mad for it.

For years, not a moment, a social post or industry blog went by without mention of this very phrase.  It became part of the buzzword lexicon quicker than Ed Sheeran can bang out the next heartbreaking tune. It was ingenious.