The Future of L&D: How Machine Learning is Redefining Learning Experiences

Read Time: 4 minutes

Machine learning has revolutionized various fields and disciplines in a relatively short period of time. Across a range of industries, many learning and development teams have begun experimenting with this innovation to maximize return on investment, streamline processes, develop personalized learning and training content for employees, and more.

The following overview will cover some of the ways machine learning is changing L&D for the better. It may inspire you to embrace this powerful tech development at your own company.

What is Machine Learning?

Before understanding how machine learning is changing L&D, you need to understand what machine learning essentially is.

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence involving training methods that allow computers to “learn” without being directly programmed by a person. Instead, with machine learning, a computer typically analyzes large amounts of data to develop the ability to identify patterns naturally. In essence, machine learning involves a computer’s “brain” learning in much the same way as a human brain.

A basic example of machine learning may involve a computer analyzing many pictures of apples. Over time, the computer will theoretically learn to identify what an apple is without being programmed to do so. The computer will simply develop the ability to identify the shared visual characteristics of apples.

This is very similar to the way a person learns. After all, many baby books also involve teaching young children to identify certain types of objects by showing them repeated images of those objects.

That’s just one example. As the following points demonstrate, more sophisticated machine learning systems can play a critical role in a company’s learning and development efforts.

Machine Learning Can Facilitate Personalized Learning

Research indicates that students tend to perform better in various subject areas when learning content is tailored to their specific abilities and needs. Thus, it’s probably safe to conclude that employees are also more likely to develop new skills and knowledge if L&D training programs are personalized.

Machine learning can facilitate such personalization. It may do so by analyzing data related to an employee’s learning experiences, such as their scores on tests and similar assessments, the speed at which they complete certain online training programs, and more. The machine learning program can then generate personalized content and learning paths for individual workers based on its analysis of this data.

It’s worth noting that surveys indicate employees are more engaged at work when they feel their employers have put forth an effort to offer them access to training and development opportunities. If your employees know you’ve taken the extra step of leveraging new technology to ensure their learning experiences are personalized, engagement may increase to an even greater degree.

Measuring the Effectiveness of L&D Programs

You want to be confident the money and time you’re investing into learning and development programs for your employees is well-spent. As such, it’s wise to require employees to complete quizzes, tests, and other such assessments when they complete various training programs.

Doing so can serve multiple purposes. True, assessments can help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual employees, letting you know when a particular worker may need extra time to focus on developing a new skill or acquiring new knowledge.

However, if the results of an assessment indicate that many employees have not developed the skills they were meant to develop through a training program, you could safely conclude that this program isn’t as effective as it should be, and may thus need to be improved upon.

Reviewing the data from tests and other such assessments can be a time-consuming process. Luckily, machine learning systems can analyze large quantities of data virtually nonstop, helping you efficiently determine whether an L&D program is delivering results, or whether it needs to be refined.

Generating Learning and Development Content

To some extent, a sophisticated machine learning system could even help you develop new training content for your employees. Remember, through data analysis, a machine learning program can help you better determine whether a given training program is serving its intended purpose effectively.

This means a machine learning system can not only identify training programs that need to be improved upon—but it can also identify training programs that are already strong and effective. Furthermore, it may be able to identify the shared characteristics of these programs, potentially using this information to generate new content that possesses the same basic strengths.

Odds are good you’ll have to build upon and modify this content yourself to ensure it thoroughly serves your needs. It’s unlikely a machine learning program can simply generate a perfect training course for your employees automatically. Nevertheless, it can theoretically provide you with a foundation upon which your L&D team may be able to begin developing stronger content than they’ve produced in the past.

All that said, it’s, of course, important to exercise a certain degree of caution when using a technology such as this one. For instance, because a machine learning program may be analyzing large quantities of employee data, you need to be confident the program will use said data safely and ethically.

Generally, though, it’s already clear that machine learning has the potential to revolutionize the way L&D teams generate content, personalize learning programs, and assess outcomes. Its usefulness is likely to grow as the technology improves.

Use Powtoon to Create Dynamic Learning and Development Content

Although machine learning can certainly improve the ROI of your L&D department, humans still need to primarily handle content generation, developing training content that’s impressive and dynamic enough to yield real improvements in employee performance.

Research has shown that video content can result in more efficient and effective learning. Luckily, you don’t need much video production experience (or even a large video production budget) to create strong video-based L&D content. With Powtoon, creating high-quality training videos is easy, even for an amateur. Sign up today to learn more!

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Hanna is Powtoon's Content Marketing Strategist. She joined Powtoon as a copywriter in 2019, after graduating from university with a specialized degree in marketing and business. She continues to inspire people to create incredible video content with blog posts, videos, guides, and more. Hanna's passions include reading, singing, and caring for animals (#proudvegan). Nothing makes her happier than waking up to her two black kitties who, contrary to popular belief, are good luck!
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