The Future for L&D Professionals: Developing People Skills
As technology continues at a rapid pace, the role of machines in the workplace will only grow in importance. It is clear that AI will surpass humans in terms of efficiency, so instead of trying to compete with them, we need to focus on developing skills that machines are less equipped to do. Through countless interviews with industry leaders, I have gathered insights applicable to learning and development professionals and summarized them in the following topics.
L&D for human skills development
The need for context and creativity
In the learning and development industry, opportunities for ongoing human skills development mean teaching employees to consider context, formulate problems effectively, and account for considerations that are harder to quantify or where there is insufficient data for statistical analysis. It also means encouraging creativity in every sense of the word. As technology and machines become more prevalent in the workplace, there is a need for students to develop their critical thinking skills. While machines may excel at efficiency and statistical analysis, they struggle with interpreting and understanding context, effectively framing problems, and considering non-quantifiable factors. Human experience, knowledge and the ability to accurately derive context and creatively apply it will be increasingly in demand.
Judgment applied to the AI question
It is important to remember that machines are playing a game of probability, so numerical skills will be necessary for analysis. However, it is not enough for employees to know how to perform analyses. They must also understand the assumptions and limitations of these tools. If AI was perfect, we’d all be “playing” the stock market and rich, so it’s critical to teach employees to excel in the skills and perspectives that make them question the recommendations and decisions of machines.
As learning and development professionals, we need to ensure that employees know what data to collect so that the machines can inform them. However, we also need to impart basic critical thinking skills and not hand over decision-making to AI. Instead, we should empower our employees to make informed decisions based on their data analysis and their understanding of the business context. A practical and current example is how students mistakenly use Chat GPT to help with schoolwork without questioning the validity of the materials or having sufficient knowledge of the subject to be able to discern what is inaccurate.
Therefore, students need to be taught to question the recommendations and decisions of machines and to think beyond the numbers. They need to be able to analyze data and make informed decisions based on an understanding of the business context, as well as the ability to creatively formulate problems and think outside the box. By developing these skills, students can position themselves to work effectively alongside machines and be a valuable asset to their organizations.
When it comes to the next wave of training, personalization and learning in the workflow are becoming increasingly important as they are powered by deep learning. Technology and information infrastructure now allow us to do things we could never do before. As a result, we will always be drawn to technology that allows us to be more intimate and seamless.
Personalized and adaptive learning is increasingly important in the machine age, enabling employees to receive training and support that is tailored to their individual needs and preferences. Using advanced technologies such as deep learning, it is now possible to collect and analyze large amounts of data about an employee’s learning habits, strengths and weaknesses, and use this information to create a customized learning plan. By providing personalized and adaptive learning to employees, employers can ensure their workforce is equipped with the specific skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles. In addition, personalized and adaptive learning can help increase employee engagement and motivation by giving them more control over their learning experience and allowing them to progress at their own pace.
Added sense of work
However, our duty is deeper. We need to engage employees and show them that they have a purpose beyond just completing tasks. We need to enable creativity in the training process and encourage employees to think outside the box. We can even think of our employees as our target market and apply marketing techniques to convince them of our training strategies and tactics. In an increasingly machine-driven world, the need to feel meaning and purpose in work has become even more important. It will be important to clearly articulate the benefits of the training and consistently consider the learner experience in all aspects of their learner journey.
In conclusion, the future of education and development lies in harnessing the power of machines and simultaneously developing human skills that machines are less equipped to handle. It’s about empowering employees to make informed decisions and giving them the tools and training they need to succeed. It’s about personalization, creativity and employee engagement to create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. The industry is ready to take on this challenge, provided we ourselves continue to improve our own skills while upskilling our workforce.