How To Make Your Training More Effective With AI

Pairing artificial intelligence with training can maximize learning impact.

The letters “AI” are used today as if they were completely new and exciting. But artificial intelligence is not new. In fact, artificial intelligence has been studied since at least the 1950s.

Why the increased attention on AI now? And how can AI help make training more effective?


Artificial intelligence or AI is the broad science of creating intelligent machines. These days, it refers to making computers mimic human behavior.

Some people fear AI suddenly will replace them at their jobs. We will have to adapt to a new way of doing things where decision-making is more data driven.

The consumer market has directed AI over the last few years. Consider the number of social media platforms that have emerged in the last 15 years. These social media apps provide a wealth of data to be analyzed. Then came Apple’s iPhone 12 years ago. Smartphones provided apps and data from a larger number of people. The richness of this data propelled AI to the forefront.

The challenge is applying the science of AI to the workplace to the same degree as businesses have to consumers. Think of the algorithms associated with Netflix or Amazon and their personalized recommendations for what to watch or read next. I personally had watched the first two seasons of the TV show, Designated Survivor, before it was canceled. Guess what showed up in the front position of recommended shows to watch when the third season recently was released on Netflix?


Some of you may have experienced LinkedIn Learning. If you have, you know you can set up your personal profile of interests and the system will recommend courses from its catalog. Once you take various courses offered, it will make recommendations for you just like Netflix does. And you can promote the courses you have taken and receive online high fives for doing so.

AI can do much more when coupled with learning and development. AI monitors and accumulates data on everything you do with online learning. The learning systems will record what courses you participate in and when, which days of the week you typically take learning programs on, the time of day you typically take the training, and the types of programs and information you consume. Do you complete courses in one sitting? Or do you take bite-size chunks and return later to finish it? From this analysis, AI-driven learning tailors future learning experiences that fit each student.


Smart content is another area where AI comes in. Smart content draws upon existing online content and dynamically changes it for you based on your interests, needs, or past viewing behavior. Smart content essentially becomes your online assistant and condenses existing content into more digestible digital guides. Current static content becomes a personalized learning experience.

AI creates smart content dynamically based on employee demographics and characteristics. Personalization occurs through targeting methods, automatic optimization, and measurability to generate dynamic content.

Imagine being tutored by your learning management system (LMS). You’ll experience your learning content, and depending on your interaction with it, AI will adjust future content. Content can step down or step up based on the difficulty or ease you encountered, the feedback you gave, and the time taken on different components.

Universities use AI in some areas to customize the “feed” and flow of information content and needed materials into a student’s course—all customized to each learner’s needs—and to provide appropriate feedback and encouragement based on his or her performance.

Today, I received a text message from our car dealership that allowed me to confirm, cancel, or reschedule my repair appointment tomorrow. In chatbot fashion, I could respond and received the corresponding automated response, along with the next steps to take, if needed.

In higher learning institutions, they call a similar kind of chatbot “teacherbots.” They are disrupting regular teaching approaches. However, work at the School of Education at Charles Darwin University in Australia questions the use of AI technology in properly helping students maintain competencies and graduate attributes that universities esteem. Different industries must look deeper at how AI can help or hinder real learning.

Schools in China are using AI through robots that automate the grading process. Harlem school students now are learning to code through AI because of a collaborative program between MIT’s Media Lab and Google, which is bringing computer science to students not normally given such opportunities.


Companies will always need constant upskilling of employees with talent management demands. Apparently, the half-life of skills on the job is getting shorter. And AI can assist HR by customizing learning for employees that recommends subjects and skills the organization needs.

AI does an amazing job of personalizing the learning experience for employees. However, the full potential of improving learning through AI is still on the horizon. As Learning and Development (L&D) professionals, we need to help AI technology professionals explore the opportunities and capabilities AI can bring to learning in the workplace.

Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP, is author of “GIVING the Real Recognition Way” and Chief Learning Officer at Rideau Recognition Solutions. His consulting and learning skills focus on helping companies “give real recognition the right way wherever they are.” For recognition insights, visit: For more information, e-mail him at or visit

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