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A New Approach to AI Integration in Learning Technology

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Todd Boes
September 1, 2023
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The new wave of AI in learning technology shows no sign of slowing down. With a new tool coming onto the market seemingly every day, it’s an exciting time to be in the training industry. Just think about how this technology might enable you to do your job better, faster, or more efficiently. Kristine Kukich, our Director of Customer Marketing here at Thought Industries, has written about the ways AI will potentially become an embedded part of the new workflow for training professionals. And, in advance of our product showcase at our COGNITION23 conference, I wanted to share some sneak peeks of the AI-powered features we’ll soon be offering to our customers. It’s based on four capabilities:

  1. Accelerating content creation and production timelines
  2. Decreasing operational friction by streamlining across teams
  3. Personalizing feedback at scale, without losing quality
  4. Serving highly relevant content to learners’ needs and interests

Understanding Benefits and Risks of AI in Learning Technology

Perhaps the most well-known capability of AI in this space is generating content, and for good reason. Generative AI can speed up content projects dramatically, remove repetitive tasks, and free you up to be more creative and strategic. But there are drawbacks and more pragmatic arguments, too: while these tools are so new on the market, it’s hard to be 100% sure where your private, sensitive information goes after you input it into an AI tool.

As the market becomes more and more flooded with technology in the “AI Revolution,” the reality is that most learning organizations won’t be investing in every AI tool available. They’ll need to pick and choose what’s most impactful to their team, their process, and what’s possible on their customer education platform. Many will rely on their LMS to offer new AI-powered solutions or integrations based on what they’re trying to achieve. But there’s a learning curve we need to accept. In fact, it can (and should) take teams plenty of time to learn and incorporate these tools into their flow of work.

Our 4 Key Strategies for Adopting AI

At Thought Industries, we want to enable a modern experience for admins and learners alike – while ensuring minimal risk to our customers, and avoiding leaving them hanging with a grand vision and low functionality. Embracing AI in learning technology effectively will require an intentional, incremental approach, which includes:

  • Leveraging trusted, proven capabilities to empower learning teams on key functionality with minimal security risk, 
  • Partnership and support to avoid offering an incomplete execution of the vision, and
  • A tested and flexible framework that gives our customers space to adjust and evolve.

Here’s the four-part framework for integrating AI capabilities into the Thought Industries platform. These capabilities are either part of our core platform or on our near-term roadmap, so we can enable customers to deliver better, more efficient, scalable learning.

1. Accelerate Content Creation

Likely the most discussed and prominent form of AI in any industry now is generative content. For training organizations, this technology is a game-changer for speeding up the process of creating learning content – from course copy, to descriptions, to assessment questions. We’ve always aimed to make it easy and frictionless for everyone, including non-specialists, to build learning content, but adding a generative and prompt-based element levels up that vision. Including this functionality native in our platform will make it easier than ever to instantly generate the content you want to see in your learning experience.

Taking full advantage of generative AI in learning technology brings tremendous value, including: 

  • Speeding content production timelines for training materials & assessments
  • Starting the process with recommended prompts to create valuable content even faster
  • Editing and optimizing existing content through Natural Language (NL) prompts, natively in-platform to cut down on steps
  • Allows full-time staff to devote more time to strategic tasks

2. Decrease Operational Friction

AI-powered site design and building for delivering engaging and compelling learner experiences  will absolutely change the game when it comes to reducing development and production time. This no-code building functionality means customers can easily optimize web and mobile experiences solely through an AI-powered prompt interface and the ability to learn your brand’s style and voice (or borrow from inspiration!) 

Ultimately, this removes bottlenecks associated with designing, then building new pages and sites – and instead makes it accessible for any team or any role regardless of technical or design skill level. If you can describe it, you can build it.

For learning teams, this will mean benefits like:

  • Bringing your design visions to life faster without the need of technical resources to design and customize “templated” learner experiences
  • Easily A/B test different options to boost the impact and results of different pages and CTAs (call-to-actions)
  • Removal of time-consuming bottlenecks, which means more time for strategy and creativity 

3. Personalize Feedback & Coaching

When it comes to providing meaningful, valuable online assessments to learners, it seems learning teams have always had to make the choice between “good, but slow” or “quick, but superficial.” Maybe you’ve found yourself having to lean on quality feedback and coaching from your experts, but the number of learners makes it an unsustainable process. Or, you’ve tried an auto-grading method, but the outcome for students isn’t up to par with what you’re trying to achieve. 

Our goal is to open up accessibility to provide both a meaningful and reliable assessment of the learner’s understanding, as well as the ability to scale infinitely. With AI-powered video assessment, all learners can receive speedy feedback and coaching that are truly helpful (and include notes on soft skills), meanwhile your experts and instructors spend their time only in the areas where they will have the most impact.

AI-powered coaching means:

  • You can provide personalized comments and interactions without tying up expert instructor time
  • Accommodation of a large volume of learners without compromising quality
  • Automated recognition of the intent of what the learner is saying, not just the words themselves
  • A highly consistent grading system as you grow and scale your learning

4. Serve Highly Relevant Content 

A key component of our technology has always been the ability to make learning as relevant, personalized and close to the moment of need as possible. Our recommendation engine and machine learning algorithms are a critical part of our vision of AI in learning technology. The more a learner is served relevant content that suits their needs and use case, the more likely they are to stay engaged. Take these recommendations a step further with custom learner dashboards that spotlight a user’s progress and achievements, and your learning program becomes a unique and personal hub for every individual.

Leveraging content recommendation technology means you can:

  • Provide learners with the content they need next based on what they’ve already completed
  • Remove the guesswork and search time for new content, potentially getting lost or distracted
  • Hyper-personalize their experience with your program, delighting them from the first interaction

AI: The Positive Disruptor in Learning Technology 

It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities of AI in learning technology. We’re a market that often struggles with a need for more efficiency. On the other hand, there are few learning leaders I’ve met that are willing to compromise on a quality learning experience, even with a lean team. AI is likely to be a great accelerator of everyday processes at the heart of learning enterprises.

At Thought Industries, we’re thoughtfully planning and building. We’re committed to being reliable partners as we all move forward in this brand new digital transformation. For most, a measured approach will probably work best: what’s your biggest pain point as you build and launch training? What are your highest-priority training engagement strategies? Start with incremental solutions that will address those needs. And, make sure your vendor places your data security needs above all else. 

Marry the possible with the pragmatic. 


Get in touch now to learn more, and join us for COGNITION23 for our official release announcement.

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