AI is here… and in a big way. Seven years ago, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google claimed "We are moving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world" and he couldn't have been more right. Its rapid expansion and mass-scale adoption is today’s hottest topic and its momentum continues to gain speed. AI is quickly being integrated into apps and applications, making software personal and reaching mainstream audiences where it matters to them most - on an individual level. From personalized help with daily activities and Google assistants, to increasing productivity with Microsoft Office and tools that create bespoke learning content, AI’s impact is evident and its role in the future of learning and development will be game-changing.
Yet, in the midst of rapid change and opportunity, how do we begin to comprehend it all? This article aims to help learning and development professionals not only make sense of AI-enabled tools and their potential in the L&D space, but also to share our ever-expanding compilation of “AI-enabled tools for L&D” so you can accelerate your design and development of learning content and improve your learner experiences. By the way, we continually update this list and recently added a new tab with some cool personal productivity tools. Feel free to bookmark it to get regular updates!
Types of L&D AI-enabled tools
Our list includes the following types of tools and how they help build experiential learning:
Content tools accelerate the creation of content (text, images, videos, podcasts, animations, graphics) to create learning materials.
Optimization tools straddle content creation and user experience.
Experience tools make the learner experience more engaging and effective.
This category is where we have seen the most growth. We anticipate that the number of tools within this category will increase significantly, making it hard to know where to focus resources or budgets. Here’s our take on a few types of tools:
Image creation tools - Many tools create amazing images based on a simple prompt (e.g., /imagine two diverse professionals having a heated discussion near a water cooler) and their capabilities have come a long way. Our favorite, MidJourney, generates beautiful images and provides several options you can add to your learning content.
AI video tools - There are three types of AI video tools: tools used to improve video and audio quality, tools that are used to create video scripts by analyzing provided photos and images, and tools that read a script and produce videos complete with images, music, and text animation. From our tests, the first two types of tools are solid. Improved video quality is fantastic and videos from photos have been available for some time now, so the tech is good. The text-to-video tools still need work. Some cool things you can do to enhance video quality include changing a video by editing the text script; you simply delete filler words, and the AI will regenerate the video. We believe the most helpful AI video tool for L&D today is Synthesia.io. You provide the script, and it generates a realistic avatar. We found that avatars are a cost-effective technique for introducing storylines, giving feedback, serving as guides, and setting up situations.
Content creation tools - As you can imagine, with OpenAI and soon LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications from Google), the number of tools used to create content for blogs, websites, articles, homework, and learning are exploding. What we’ve found with tools like ChatGPT is the quality of the content it generates depends on the thoughtfulness of the prompt it is given. With a good prompt (a natural language description that acts as input for the AI), the tools do a great job generating creative content for writing cases, scenarios, or storylines. If you’re looking for referenceable and factual content, we highly recommend having a subject matter expert review what it creates. Regardless of creative or referenceable content, we see considerable cost savings by streamlining the costly and time-consuming efforts of back and forth iterations. One of the best tools in this category is a tool we (The Regis Company) created called ReX Co-Pilot. This isn't available for sale as a standalone offering, but we’d love to show you a demo of how it produces everything from assessments to eLearning and sim content, while working in concert with our SimGate design platform.
This is a crossover category, which includes AI-enabled tools that analyze data to create or optimize the learner experience. Currently, there are only a few tools in the category, but I predict we will see some great examples by mid-year, with Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) vendors leading the way.
Personalized learning - This has been talked about for a long time and implemented in different forms with varied success. Now, with the assistance of AI, large data sets for each learner can be analyzed and used to generate customized learning paths and significantly advance just-in-time or in-the-flow-of-work learning. ‘Large data sets’ are the imperative, as truly personalized learning, and I would argue good adaptive and just-in-time learning, requires that more data be captured as learners engage in learning. For this reason, we (The Regis Company) have made intentional advances in Behavioral Analytics. In every simulation we create, we capture all the decisions, rationale, branches, resources, and perspectives learners select. This data serves as the basis for personalized learning, adaptive learning, and just-in-time learning. Another great tool that captures practical data is from ETU, who offers video-branching simulations.
This category of tools are great for enhancing the learner experience. As with optimization tools, they’re limited, but we anticipate some really cool apps coming from Google and others in the near future. We’ll keep you posted, but here are a few to expect.
Text-to-speed and Translation tools - We are excited about these types of AI-enabled tools because they both improve the learner’s experience and keeps costs down. For example, having a text-to-speech icon anywhere content is presented and when clicked, reads the text to the learner in their language of choice. Equally cool is having AI translators convert screen text on-the-fly to another language, providing context and more culturally relevant examples. One of our favorite text-to-speech tools is from Eleven Labs. Not only does it not sound robotic, but it also mimics other voices (e.g., Steve Jobs) by providing it a short sample. It’s a bit freaky too.
Coaching assistants - These are going to be (not ready for prime time in our opinion) great. AI coaches can challenge the learner to think more deeply with Socratic questions by responding to text entries, open-ended responses, and decision rationale. For instance, we (Regis) created a prototype which we trained the AI to help learners think through the ‘human’ way to fire an employee. We anticipate Google Bard revolutionizing AI assistants and coaches, so keep your eye out for their upcoming public release.
AI’s impact on L&D is just getting started and no doubt new tools are coming. In fact, we believe AI-enabled apps could see the same growth this year as when the App stores were open for business in 2008. So, don’t forget to continually visit our AI-enabled tools for L&D list as we’ll be on top of these updates and want to share them with you. And, please let us know if you have any tools to add, or suggestions for another category.
In addition, if you want to schedule a meeting to learn more or set up a lunch-and-learn for your team please let us know.