As a budding student, I heard my teachers routinely use the phrase, “defining the terms” when introducing a new subject or concept to our class. Often complicated and requiring memorization, defining the terms is the foundation to higher learning and understanding. Defining terms are like coat hangers, you use them to organize and categorize your stuff. The same goes for the learning world especially in this fast-paced world of Artificial Intelligence.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Artificial Intelligence is defined as technology that performs some or all work that a human being can do with similar or better results. Most people think of artificial intelligence as physical robots lifting boxes or packaging things on a conveyer belt, however artificial intelligence is much more than that. In the training and learning space, artificial intelligence is the use of data to help make good learning decisions.
For example, say a participant is a new hire on a sales team that sells pharmaceutical products. He or she may have sales experience and even product experience, however, when learning new content or new products, how much of their prior knowledge will help them with their new products to know and sell? In this example, Artificial intelligence could assess the salesperson’s level of product knowledge and instantaneously “adapt” the new learning content to the individual. Think of the potential benefits: meeting each learner at their own levels of understanding and all in real-time; greater content retention; ability to get new products to market quicker since training is more directed. These are just some of benefits, and this exactly what AI is doing right now.
Most learning programs are geared to teaching specific content regardless of the experience levels or aptitudes of the participants. The problem here is that these programs often lump all participants together. What happens frequently is that boredom sets in for the more advanced trainees, but AI can address that. What if artificial intelligence could determine the level of expertise that a participant has and automatically adapt the content to them right at the point of learning? Well, this is exactly where artificial intelligence performs today.
Called Adaptive Learning, it is the ability for the system to know and then to instantaneously cater the learning to the participant’s current level of understanding. Artificial intelligence is programmed to evaluate a participant’s level and then immediately produce content at that level. Think about when we were children at school - some students were able to keep up with the teacher, while others were left behind, and still others were bored because they were advanced students. Artificial intelligence solves for these scenarios resulting in happier and more engaged participants.
In my next blog, I will continue the series on Adaptive Learning and share an interview I had with a leader in this learning space along with important statistics and success stories.