A world of hybrid work calls for a strategy of hybrid training. But a hybrid of what?
If you thought we meant a combo of in-person and online, think again. The new hybrid blends AI-driven learning with traditional online resources, and while Nikolas Kairinos, as CEO of Soffos AI may have a clear vested interest in success – and promotion – of AI-led solutions, it’s difficult to find fault in the logic. And even more difficult to resist adopting an AI-first mindset sooner rather than later.
He tells UNLEASH:“As the pandemic resets major work trends, these changes carry certain caveats – particularly when it comes to learning and development (L&D).
“Although businesses have tried valiantly to adopt virtual learning models, switched to video conferencing platforms and enrolled staff members on e-learning courses, carrying out L&D remotely has proved challenging.”
It was panic stations for many organizations as winter turned to spring in 2020, and perhaps not enough care was taken to get digital learning right.
He mentions Soffos AI’s latest research that highlights it’s not been easy in the move to digital-first for many organizations, with more than a third struggling to effectively train staff.
“No doubt, time was of the essence at the start of the pandemic, and virtual learning solutions were implemented quickly to ensure that staff could still benefit from development opportunities,” notes Kairinos.
“Over time, however, problematic issues began to appear. Businesses found it increasingly difficult to engage employees through a video format, while generic training programs were delivered en masse without accounting for individual learning preferences or knowledge gaps.”
As Kairinos says, the imperative now is for “business leaders to evaluate the impact of technology on their employees’ professional development and utilize available tools with greater purpose.”
Putting it into practice
But how? Positively, there are steps that can be taken to increase the quality of L&D by investing in learning tech that can provide more nuanced support to employees.
Discussion turns to the many faces of artificial intelligence:
“Platforms bolstered by Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI for example, will be able to engage workers far beyond the capacity of uninspiring learning solutions.
“[And] gamification should not be overlooked as decision-makers explore ways to motivate their workforce and overcome screen-fatigue”, explains Kairinos.
For as long as I can remember, the skills gap has been a problem for L&D departments.
Whether it’s graduates unprepared for the world of work or training programs unfit for purpose, there has long been a disconnect between the skills organizations need and what’s available. Could AI help provide the bridge that L&D so desperately needs? Kairinos thinks so.
“For employees to succeed in their careers, learning leaders today must give them the ability to build, develop and transform their skills on their own terms. A new generation of technological solutions are equipped with the ability to field difficult questions and offer succinct answers in natural language, while also instilling a mindset of lifelong learning. With round-the-clock support available through their personal devices, employees can progress confidently on their learning journeys at their own pace in their own ways.
“Meanwhile, sophisticated algorithms will adapt training on the fly as these platforms learn autonomously about how employees engage with new information. Rather than providing standardized courses, why not provide a bespoke curriculum for each individual user?”
It’s a refrain we’ve heard before. But maybe, with the acceleration of change and years of digital transformation fast-tracked over a matter of months, just maybe, we’re seeing the changes we’ve long been promised.
But analytics needs to play a part too, with regular inquiry rather than occasional intervention being far more effective. Kairinos harks back to the quaint old days of assessment:
“In the past, it was not unusual for L&D schemes to be bi-annual initiatives – but any worthwhile learning platform will encourage regular engagement and have the functionality to inform learning leaders consistently about what’s working and what isn’t.
“Thanks to granular insights at both an individual and company-wide level, HR leaders can take a more agile approach and arrange staff training interventions when required. After all, our needs naturally change over the years – and in the new hybrid working climate, where observing these requirements is not so easy, providing actionable business intelligence will be key.”
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