How Generative AI is Impacting Personalised Learning and Development
Over the past few years, Human Resources professionals have begun to embrace several technological tools to assist in both short and long-term objectives at work. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) has yet to be integrated into many HR plans in 2023, this has been the year for HR professionals to learn more about generative AI's capabilities and the effects it could have in the near future.
As we look towards the end of 2023, we can see that the integration of generative artificial intelligence could begin to reshape HR learning programmes by offering a dynamic and personalised approach to employee development.
In this article, we will be looking at what effects AI may have on HR, with a particular focus on how it may affect learning and development programmes, especially those that have begun to embrace a more personalised approach to learning and development while focusing on the ethical questions that must be dealt with as we look towards this possible future. Additionally, we will explore the potential benefits and challenges for HR professionals seeking to create a future-ready workforce.
What is Generative AI?
Generative AI is a subset of artificial intelligence that, unlike other AI systems, can autonomously create content, including texts, audio, code, images, text, simulations, and video. In Human Resources, generative AI revolutionises processes by offering personalised solutions, streamlining tasks, and enhancing the overall employee experience. We explored some ways that AI is changing HR in a previous article that you can read now for more general context on the new relationship between AI and HR.
Personalised Learning and Development in 2023
In the annual World of Work Trends Report 2023, one of the significant trends we identified was that there would be a shift in how HR professionals understood learning and career development programmes. That change would be a move towards a more personalised approach that would give employees more of an active and empowered role in advancing their careers, often through the use of digital and personal resources so that they can develop the competencies and skills needed for the future.
To make the employee experience of attaining new skills more individualised, many organisations are developing easily accessible and on-demand micro-learning tools to allow employees the opportunity to learn 'just in time' when needed while it can also be integrated into their other everyday tasks. Our 2023 survey showed that 90% of Top Employers already had personalised learning portals, while 62% had microlearning content integrated into their daily activities.
Generative AI could empower HR learning programs to move closer to the personalised learning approaches we noted in the World of Work Trends Report. AI algorithms could do this by analysing individual employee data, including learning preferences, strengths, and areas for improvement, to generate personalised learning paths. This tailored approach ensures that employees receive the most relevant and effective training, enhancing their skill development and overall job performance.
How Generative AI Tools Could Impact Learning and Development Programmes
- Improving Personalised Learning Paths: Generative AI algorithms can analyse individual employee data, including learning preferences, strengths, and areas for improvement, to generate personalised learning paths. That work empowers HR learning programmes to move beyond one-size-fits-all approaches and move closer to the more individual training programmes that HR leaders hope to get. This tailored approach ensures that employees receive the most relevant and practical training, enhancing their skill development and overall job performance.
- AI-Powered Virtual Mentors and Coaches: Generative AI is already giving rise to virtual mentors and coaches that could provide real-time guidance and support to employees. These AI-driven mentors can answer questions, offer insights, and provide personalised feedback, creating a virtual learning environment that complements traditional mentoring programs. This approach ensures that employees have access to guidance whenever needed, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
- Improving Adaptive Learning Modules: Traditional training modules often follow a fixed structure, regardless of an individual employee's learning speed and style. Generative AI can introduce adaptive learning modules that evolve based on an employee's progress. By continuously assessing a learner's comprehension and adjusting the difficulty level accordingly, HR professionals can optimise the learning experience and improve knowledge retention.
- Gamification for Enhanced Engagement: Gamification has proven an effective strategy for boosting engagement in learning programs. Generative AI can take gamification to the next level by creating personalised game scenarios based on individual employee profiles. By integrating elements of competition, rewards, and social interaction, AI-driven gamification makes learning more enjoyable and motivates employees to participate actively in their development.
Challenges with Implementing Generative AI in Learning and Development Programmes
Generative AI in HR learning programs holds immense promise, but HR professionals must navigate potential challenges and ethical considerations. These include:
- Ensuring data privacy,
- Addressing algorithmic biases in learning recommendations,
- Employee trust and adoption,
- And maintaining a balance between automation and the human touch in the learning experience.
Ensuring Data Privacy
One of the most challenging aspects of implementing generative AI tools into an organisation's strategy is the aspect of data privacy, especially as organisations are still relatively early in their adoption of AI tools. As AI programmes rely heavily on collecting and analysing vast amounts of employee data to personalise learning experiences, HR professionals must establish robust data protection measures. HR leaders should ensure that they comply with data protection regulations by obtaining informed consent and adopting encryption protocols. These are essential steps to mitigate the risk of unauthorised access or misuse of sensitive employee and organisation information.
Mitigating Algorithmic Biases
It should be common knowledge that generative AI systems are not entirely unbiased. In fact, they are only as unbiased as the data they are trained on. HR professionals need to be vigilant about potential algorithmic biases in learning recommendations. If the training data used to develop AI models contains biases, the algorithms may perpetuate or even exacerbate existing inequalities. Regular audits of algorithms, diverse and representative training datasets, and continuous monitoring for bias are crucial to ensure fair and equitable learning opportunities for all employees.
Employee Trust and Adoption
Introducing generative AI into HR learning programs may raise employee concerns about job security, privacy, or the perceived objectivity of AI-driven decisions. HR professionals must proactively address these concerns through transparent communication and educational initiatives. Building trust in AI technologies requires demonstrating their value, emphasising their role as tools for empowerment rather than surveillance, and involving employees in the process to alleviate apprehensions and foster a positive reception.
Balancing Automation and Human Interaction
While the automation capabilities of generative AI can significantly enhance the efficiency of HR learning programs, it is imperative to strike a balance with human interaction. Employees still value the human touch in learning experiences, and specific aspects of development, such as mentorship and interpersonal skills, may be better served through direct human engagement. HR teams should carefully design AI-driven learning initiatives to complement, rather than replace, the essential human element in the learning journey.
As 2024 looms near, it is crucial to understand how the integration of generative AI in HR represents a significant leap forward in redefining the employee experience. Organisations can harness AI's power to streamline processes, enhance employee engagement, and contribute to their overall success. They must do this by being aware of the ethical practices and staying attuned to the evolving landscape. Organisations can begin to navigate this transformative journey in the hopes of creating and maintaining workplaces that thrive in the digital age.
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