Employee training has been around for centuries, in one form or another. Just think about blacksmiths training apprentices, and young men learning to be knights.
But just like society and the world of work as a whole, employee training tactics and tools have been evolving since the Middle Ages. In recent times, employee training programs have benefited from new concepts in educational methodology, educational psychology, and now artificial intelligence (AI), so in 2020, traditional training methods are likely to be as out of date and irrelevant as a blacksmith.
Although the importance of onboarding new hires, teaching employees to use your tools, educating about company culture, and upskilling to keep pace with changing roles hasn’t changed, the way that training programs are implemented and run has altered.
Employee experience is increasingly important for employee engagement, according to 96% of HR professionals, and your employee training programs play a key role in that. Today’s workforce considers growth opportunities to be more important than compensation when it comes to choosing a workplace, which of necessity includes training and professional development programs.
If you want to field employee training programs that are efficient, effective, and enjoyable, you’ll need to look for ways to use the revolutionary qualities of AI to upend typical frontal education.
- AI supports personalized learning
Everyone is looking for individualized experiences that are customized to their own unique needs. Employee training programs are no exception. Each of your employees has different learning preferences and different amounts of prior knowledge, and wants to learn at different speeds and at different times of the day and week.
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AI makes it easy to offer personalized training programs that meet these demands, instead of slotting all your employees into a single training program. Because AI itself learns from its users, AI-powered training programs can automatically pick up on user needs and adapt accordingly. Use AI to provide on-demand, flexible training programs that match your employees’ schedules, prior knowledge, and attention spans.
2. AI training programs are more engaging
The more engaging your training programs are, the greater the chances that your employees will complete them and focus while doing so. With the help of AI, you can mix up the pace and format of information delivery, adding entertaining points like animations and videos.
AI can also enable you to connect learning experiences for multiple employees, without undoing the individualized nature of each one, in order to gamify the process and encourage friendly competition.
3. AI can match employee learning styles
Different employees have different learning styles, including auditory learners, visual learners, and active learners. It can be extremely difficult for visual learners, for example, to understand and take in content that’s presented in text format, but you might not have the time or the resources to convert your training materials into multiple formats.
Here again, AI can step in to quickly alter content across different formats, so that you can teach your employees in ways that make it easiest for them to learn.
4. AI can support active learning
No matter what kind of a learner you are, everyone learns faster from active learning than from passive learning. It’s like the difference between learning to ride a bike by actually getting on one and heading off downhill, or by being taught the theory of balance and acceleration in a classroom. Active learning helps employees acquire skills more quickly and retain them for longer.
AI solutions like chatbots help employee training programs make that leap from passive to active. You can use AI to embed training tasks into everyday workflows, so that employees can “learn by doing” as they complete tasks with the help of timely conversational AI.
5. AI can break learning down into bitesize pieces
It’s always daunting to be faced with a mountain of new material to learn, no matter what the context. Just like all other students, you employees will bring more enthusiasm to their training programs and absorb knowledge more readily when they can consume it in smaller amounts.
AI enables you to break up training information into discrete embedded tasks, or to transmit them through a chatbot which can be consulted at will. This way, employees can dip in and out of the training program, instead of having to set aside significant blocks of time to complete whole units at once, making the entire training program seem more manageable, less overwhelming, and less heavy.
6. Reinforce the knowledge multiple times
Sadly, it’s human nature to forget material. You might not realize just how quickly we do forget new information; research by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus concluded that people forget up to 75% of new material within just 24 hours!
However, Ebbinghaus also discovered that regular review can slow down the rate of memory loss and improve retention of new material. In light of this research, you want to build regular review and repetition into your training programs, but that’s difficult to do when they are run by human teachers or last for an hour or more. Employees are also naturally reluctant to interrupt their work to carry out yet another review of material they covered yesterday.
AI instructional programs don’t get bored when they have to repeat material. You can also use AI wizards and chatbots to deliver popup reminders and integrated hints for employees in the course of their daily work, in order to increase the amount of review that they carry out.
AI is changing everything in the world of work, and employee training programs are no exception. By making them more engaging, personalized, and active, supporting regular review, and breaking training up into smaller units, AI-powered training programs can help you craft a motivated and knowledgeable workforce that’s eager to deliver.