Cultivating a Learning Culture with an AI-powered Virtual Coach

Companies are increasingly putting themselves in the shoes of their employees to develop strategies that would result in a more committed and productive workforce. Cultivating a learning culture can be a constructive step in this direction. Prioritizing learning with a significant focus on upskilling and reskilling is the need of the hour.

Talent retention was never easy, and the global pandemic has made this all the more challenging. According to a study, 38% of employees are engaged and 13% are actively disengaged at work.

Transformation of a workplace culture into one that promotes continuous learning doesn’t happen overnight, but some steps can be taken to get started. To begin with, organizations should start focusing on delivering better learning experiences.

Unique learning experiences – The secret sauce

With a focus on making this cultural transformation successful, organizations are required to captivate learning into their core values and build a firm belief of leadership support among employees. The crucial part is to design a top-notch learning experience. It can be easily done by prioritizing the following key components.

  • Make learner-centered strategies a priority
  • Make learning available in the flow of work
  • Include rewards as a key component

AI is everywhere, and it has a lot of potential in the L&D world. We discussed the significant role of AI in ‘making learning an everyday work’, in full detail in one of our previous blogs. In case you missed that one, read here.

AI bots for close interactions

For quite some time now, many companies have been using AI bots to provide cutting-edge digital customer interactions. According to research, consumer retail spending via chatbots is expected to reach $142 billion by 2024. Chatbots encourage engaging dialogues, and AI allows the bot to be responsive, agile, and adaptable. Chatbots that are more advanced learn from each conversation, identifying preferences and providing recommendations based on previous requests. Chatbots enable collaborative working practices by facilitating information exchange, makes learning an everyday part of the workflow, and providing a training experience that is similar to conversing with a colleague…a few of the many ways chatbots make meaningful interactions by providing efficient learning support.

Furthermore, AI-based bots can readily adjust to each person’s learning demands and help them attain a more meaningful learning experience.

However, every organization has its own distinct and structured work ecosystem, which cannot be denied. The integration of AI-coach into an existing workplace ecosystem is what the L&D leaders are concerned about.

Integrating AI in an existing workplace learning ecosystem

AI is increasingly being adopted and implemented into businesses of all sizes, to increase revenue, lower operational costs, engage with customers, and automate day-to-day tasks. HR professionals are using AI to speed up the sorting and filtering of resumes, onboarding candidates, creating new roles and altering organizational structures. Also, HR leaders need to respond with effective and adaptive learning and development programs that will not only help train people but also lead to measurable payoffs.

AI integration into the workplace is surely going to unravel unexpected benefits. Organizations can make AI integration successful by taking the following four areas into their consideration.

    • Identifying the sweet spot inside an existing ecosystem where AI can be implemented. For instance, let us suppose a company adopts Microsoft Teams as a productivity tool. A layer of AI-enabled virtual coach could be introduced in the Microsoft Teams environment to assist the users.
    • Delivering content at the point of need with the help of an AI-enabled virtual coach. For content to be AI-ready, it must be searchable, accessible, integration-friendly, and include meta tags for media material to facilitate access. When a learner seeks an answer to a question without going through the complete learning material, an AI-enabled virtual coach can provide an answer within a matter of a second.
    • A virtual coach, by gauging numerous learner metrics and learning patterns, can measure the learning outcomes. The outcomes-based learning approach is an effective way to build specific competencies in a learner, to master several skills. This can increase employee motivation and can instill trust in employees.
    • AI-powered chatbots can double employee engagement by helping organizations to stay connected with their employees through continuous feedback capture and handling various aspects of an employee’s learning lifecycle.

What is it about this coach that makes it so effective? Undoubtedly, the ability to deliver personalized learning experiences. The image below depicts a high-level workflow of a virtual coach in the flow of work.


(AI-enabled Virtual Coach Workflow)

Perhaps AI is on its way to becoming the next technological advancement, and this has already started. By combining big data and other machine learning technologies, AI-powered virtual coaches can bring a multitude of benefits to the table.

Proactive support to the learners, understanding learning preferences, and keeping learners up to date are some of the benefits of the AI-powered Virtual coach. It also generates an ecosystem of nudges to boost learning and supports ongoing performance management.

Organizations are moving from a culture of training to a culture of learning. Technology has an important role to play here and AI is on its way to becoming the next remarkable thing in L&D.

Are you planning to incorporate AI into your workplace to improve learning and development?

Get in touch with us to discuss more!

How Off-The-Shelf Learning Providers Can Take Advantage of Technology Disruptions [2021 Updated]

Technology disruptions can be a big sink for any business, if not handled well. Off-the-shelf learning providers have witnessed multiple such disruptions in the last few years. Such disruptions could result in huge capital expenditure or delay go-to-market plans, adversely impacting the bottom line in either case.  As the CEO or senior leader of an off-the-shelf learning provider, how do you handle such challenges? Is there a way you can leverage these disruptions to your advantage? How can you use your existing resources to turn such disruptions into an opportunity?

Harbinger had the privilege of hosting some of the world’s highly accomplished learning and development leaders twice for its Interactive Learning Power Hour – an online roundtable discussion.

The first instance of this Power Hour, which was hosted in August 2020, included 6 L&D experts as panelists. The names included Frank Russell (Founder and CEO at Prositions), Dehumo Bickersteth (Owner and Principal Consultant at DTB Services), Desiree Pinder (E-Learning Consultant at XP Learning), Michael Schreiner, PMP (Vice President of Content at Vector Solutions), Nicole Prolow (Training Development Specialist), and Rahul Singh (Sr. GM at Harbinger Interactive Learning). The discussion was led and facilitated by Dr Vikas Joshi (CEO at Harbinger Group).

In the second occurrence of this Power Hour, which happened recently, in March 2021, we hosted two more esteemed L&D leaders – Timothy Donohue (Vice President of eLearning Solutions at IHRDC) and Moriam Seriki Rouse (Chief Learning Officer at AdvanceOnline Solutions, Inc). This session was led and facilitated by Poonam Jaypuriya (Vice President of eLearning at Harbinger Group).

In both the sessions, the respective hosts presented the key types of disruptions that content providers can face. The panelists then shared their in-depth experiences and insights on how they found some interesting opportunities in the disruptions they had witnessed in their career span.

Socio-Economic Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are the disruptions that arise outside somewhere and affect your business.

Disruption Opportunity
COVID pandemic There is a need to produce COVID educational content in line with the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Rise in gig economy The gig economy generates rapid onboarding needs because people are going to come in and go out.
Inclusion of millennials in workforce The millennials in workforce are driving the need for micro learning.
Importance of diversity and inclusion – gender, race, accessibility A lot of makeover might be required for learning content that’s several years old and may need to be redone keeping the sensitivities for diversity & inclusion, going forward.
Focus on well-being With the increased focus on well-being, off-the-shelf content providers are looking at creating a lot of new content on mental health, financial well-being, etc.

Workplace Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are the disruptions you experience inside your business.

Disruption Opportunity
Shift towards remote work This disruption created opportunities for off-the-shelf content providers to help in developing competencies related to remote work. For example, managing team and motivation in a remote working mode.
Focus on digital channels New content was rapidly needed to develop skills of employees to use digital channels for communication. For examples, sales team need to start selling products and solutions online instead of face to face meetings.
Need for reskilling Employees need to be reskilled for new technologies, new processes, or new job roles; and these skills need to be developed in the context of the prior skills.
New public health regulations With the COVID situation, there are new public health regulations coming up and employees need to be trained before coming back to work.

Design Technology Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are changes at a technology level purely from a design perspective, these disruptions can impact the way you design learning content.

Disruption Opportunity
Rise in automation With technology upgrades, new ways of working emerged with automation. For example, platforms using AI to help in language learning; using Google translate for rapid and cost-effective translations. Using AI to generate questions from raw content by using tools like Quillionz. Off-the-shelf content providers can use technology to reduce the cost of production.
Phasing out of Adobe Flash With Flash sunsetting, there was a huge demand for migrating content to newer technologies like HTML5, Unity, and mobile-friendly content.
Rise of dynamic video This led to usage of technology to deliver interactive and dynamic videos with analytics. Exaltive is a great example of the same.
Emergence of mixed reality Boeing has reported 25% productivity improvement for technicians using mixed reality content. Off-the-shelf content providers are in the early stages of exploring this technology.

Delivery Technology Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are disruptions driven by change in delivery technologies.

Disruption Opportunity
Emergence of social collaboration technology Social collaboration platforms like Teams and Slack are now used in day to day work life. Delivering learning through such platforms in the workflow is another opportunity area for off-the-shelf providers.
Increased adoption of mobile technology Using mobile to deliver learning bytes based on need and learning pattern is another opportunity for off-the-shelf content providers.
The shift from LMS to LXP There is a lot of conversation around how to syndicate off-the-shelf content with platforms like EdCast, Percipio, and Degreed.
Rise of artificial intelligence/machine learning Delivering off-the-shelf content pieces for personalized learning experiences to learners using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies is another area of opportunity to explore.
Rich data analytics Generating rich data analytics based on learner behaviors and work patterns; and using those insights to deliver just-in-time learning content in the workflow, has huge potential.

For detailed insights, be sure to tune in to both the session recordings through the links shared below.

August 2020 Power Hour

March 2021 Power Hour

As evident from the discussions, there are opportunities that each types of disruption can bring along. Off-the-shelf content providers need to carefully watch out for those and take advantage of them. At the same time, it is not feasible for off-the-shelf providers to work on each opportunity on their own.  Custom content learning businesses can support them for best results.

Have you devised an opportunity out of a technology disruption? What success stories do you have to share with the industry? Please comment below or drop us a note at info@harbingerelearning.com.