Nikolas Kairinos, CEO, Soffos.ai, considers how AI technology will enhance peer to peer learning
Given the events of the past year, virtually all projections anticipate that the post-pandemic workforce will be relatively more remote. And as such, organizations will be facing a pressing demand to shift their learning and development (L&D) strategies accordingly. More specifically, organizations might be re-evaluating the place of peer-to peer (P2P) incentives as employees become increasingly geographically dispersed and more tasks become automated.
Indeed, the rate of adoption for artificial intelligence (AI) has surged in the post-pandemic environment, with many businesses digitizing their L&D schemes to facilitate remote training, in the absence of face-to-face contact. Already, the technology is ubiquitous, with 77% of the devices that we use day-to-day featuring AI in one form or another, and more generally, growth in the global AI market is forecasted to reach almost $60 billion by 2025.
Turning our attention back to the corporate education space, this might lead some individuals to believe that we are on course for an AI takeover, with human learning leaders outranked by a fleet of robots in the near future. However, I would argue that this is not the case. In the future, I expect that educators will find their roles enhanced by the onset of innovative new technologies – here’s why…
Peer-to-peer learning will remain vital
Although concerns about how AI will affect the roles of corporate educators are not unfounded – indeed, the World Economic Forum estimates that by 2022, automation will displace a staggering 75 million jobs in the global workforce more generally – the reality is much more complex. As a result of cutting-edge technologies, as some roles are displaced, new skillsets and categories of jobs will emerge. But for HR practitioners and learning leaders, one chief task will likely remain un-touched by AI – and that is peer-to-peer learning initiatives.
P2P initiatives are unlike their digital counterparts in that they require a human touch to succeed. Historically, these initiatives, which encourage students to learn through collaboration and discussion, have been upheld as one of the most effective methods of knowledge transfer. In the work environment, these benefits are magnified, due to the fact that colleagues are likely to share a mutual understanding of their specific workplace, as well as similar daily experiences.
In this way, P2P initiatives work around the premise that co-workers will be able to gain and retain knowledge more effectively when they are teaching and learning from one another. Likewise, the fact that individuals might be less intimidated to ask a co-worker for help than they would a training manager or someone else higher in the ranks, means that employees might be more forthcoming when it comes to their L&D. In fact, these incentives can also empower employees with an increased sense of autonomy in their roles, enabling them to learn and seek out new information whenever they require it.
Although employees might now be working more from home and new technologies are on hand to assist with these efforts, new research has revealed that many workers are eager to return to the physical workplace for training incentives. Although EdTech solutions have been vital component of pandemic training strategies, according to a survey from Soffos, a significant 43% of full-time workers have found it difficult to engage with online working materials throughout this period.
So, while EdTech is an increasingly important aspect of knowledge-transfer, this goes to show that employees crave interaction when it comes to their professional development.
Pushing classroom limitations
Businesses should take these figures as a worthy lesson: the findings from Soffos’ research indicate that learning leaders would do well to think carefully about which EdTech solutions they decide to implement. A large part of this would be to avoid over-relying on generic solutions, such as pre-recorded seminars and web-based training – instead, organizations should look to foster a well-thought-out blend of cutting-edge tech, piloted by human training leaders.
These leaders will likely add a much-needed human element to tech-based training, providing some much-needed input and oversight into the delivery of knowledge. To this end, businesses should look to invest their funds in technologies that allow for this collaboration between man and machine. For example, organizations might look to AI solutions that provide sophisticated data analytics and personalized instruction, or augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) technologies to deliver immersive training.
These technologies go above and beyond what standard online platforms can provide, delivering training schemes that are at least adjacent to in-person incentives, even while staff are apart, and making the learning process a much livelier, interactive experience. As these technologies progress, educators will, for instance, be able to deliver their training in ‘super resolution’ via VR headsets – meaning that workers will not be able to distinguish their home offices from the real thing.
What’s more, learning leaders will be able to harness the granular data analytics provided by AI-bolstered EdTech to tailor their P2P incentives for real success. These technologies will be able to conduct thorough assessments of a user’s current knowledge level and account for any gaps in understanding. Learning leaders should therefore be able to tailor the topics and content covered to suit individual needs. Ultimately, this ability to steer training schemes, without long hours of meticulous planning and administration, should be a real bonus for educators.
Finally, beyond spending fewer hours on the careful planning of personalized L&D strategies, learning leaders will also benefit from seeing their own knowledge enhanced. Indeed, one of the greatest advantages of AI-based learning is its ability to “teach the teachers” and develop higher order thinking skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.
Due to the capability of AI to understand every learner’s current level of comprehension, these technologies will allow corporate educators to pinpoint their own areas for improvement. Learning leaders will benefit from access to up-to-date instructional techniques and resources at their fingertips, as well as enhanced awareness about their own strengths and weaknesses.
When it comes down to it, EdTech alone might not be the be all and end all; however, when coupled with enthusiastic employees and corporate trainers, man and machine make for a formidable duo.
About the author
Nikolas Kairinos is the chief executive officer and founder of Soffos, the world’s first AI-powered KnowledgeBot. The platform streamlines corporate learning and development (L&D) to deliver seamless professional training for employees.