I enjoy competing in triathlons, which means I need a fair amount of gear for three different disciplines. One day, I decided it was time for a new bike. I dutifully did my research, visited multiple bike shops, and finally settled on ‘the one.’ Did this new-fangled contraption make me ride faster? Meh, not significantly, if at all. The extra miles I rode on the new bike, however, did shave minutes off my next race time.
We often see a similar phenomenon play out in L&D when shiny new tech hits the vendor hall of the latest conference or event. I mean, how can we forget the revolutionary technology that emerged in the 1980s and has since been relegated to forgotten basements: the CD-ROM (I’ll bet there are some members of Gen Z that have yet to lay eyes on one)? Suddenly, learners could engage with interactive content from the comfort of their own spaces, breaking down geographical barriers.
Post-CD-ROM, here’s a brief timeline showing the tech trends we’ve seen in learning technology over the last 20 years:
- 1990s: The pivotal rise of the internet allowed e-learning to expand. This shift democratized education and learning, making it accessible to a global audience. No longer bound by physical classrooms, learners could access a wealth of knowledge from renowned institutions worldwide.
- Early 2000s: Learning management platforms (LMS) made their debut, streamlining the administration and monitoring of online courses. The LMS platform laid the foundation for the organized delivery of digital education. With an LMS in place, companies gained the ability to track progress, assess performance, and customize learning paths for individual learners.
- 2005-2010: A remarkable surge in e-learning was driven by faster internet connections, more capable development tools, and the widespread adoption of mobile devices. Suddenly, learning became a mobile, on-the-go experience, available at the touch of a button or screen.
- 2010-present: Our desire for information has become insatiable. We want (customized) information, and we want it now; we’ve come to expect the same from our learning content. Today, we find ourselves in an era marked by technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR), which have ushered in a new age of interactive and personalized learning experiences, shaping the future of training and development.
The idea means more than the gear
We have a collective tendency to get enamored with the newest technology until reality kicks in: the new bike isn’t necessarily going to make you ride faster. AI is the latest example. Reflecting on the journey from CD-ROMs to AI-powered learning, it’s clear that technology is only as effective as our understanding and use of it.
A failure of much of the learning content from the 1990s and 2000s was that it basically repurposed classroom learning into a new medium—without the power of interactivity, live customization, and two-way communication (in other words, learner engagement).
We know that engaged learners drive business results. AI can help learning designers create relevant courses and intelligent content recommendations to deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time. As we embrace generative AI in learning and development, we have the opportunity to deliver high-impact, highly contextual course content that resonates with learners on a profound level. With AI-driven personalization, we can create journeys that are not only informative but also engaging and enjoyable.
But while the potential of artificial intelligence in corporate learning and development is immense, it’s crucial for learning leaders to approach learning experiences with the human skills required for successful AI use, i.e., our authentic intelligence. Sure, AI can help with the delivery of the right content, but who decides what the right and relevant content is—for the individual and the organization? AI is a powerful tool, but it’s the human touch that adds context, empathy, and understanding to the learning process (ultimately generating desired outcomes).
Where to from here?
In an ideal future, authentic intelligence, human-centric design, and innovative technologies like AI converge to shape the next chapter of learning and development. Schedule a demo, and we’ll show you how we’re combining AI and our collective (human) skills and experience to improve content relevance, engage learners, and drive business results.
You may also be interested in: 5 Responsible Uses for AI as an L&D Leader