1) Training materials and interactions will not just be pre-built courses but any structured or unstructured content available to the organization.

As it becomes even easier to create learning content as seen by so many vendors, we’ll soon see the ability to auto create content from existing sources like Box, Dropbox, Sharepoint and turn any PDF, video, document, existing course, quiz into a trackable object for ongoing tracking and training purposes.

Unstructured text, images and eventually video will be trackable by “chunking” them into micro bite courses applying NLP (Natural Language Processing) approaches that pull out the meaning of any text snippet or image. This could mean Slack messages, Salesforce Chatter or even email messages could automatically be used as quick answers to employee questions days, months or even years after they were written.

2) Curation of all learning, employee or any useful organizational content will become a whole lot easier. 

Over the past few weeks, Box.com[2] one of the worlds largest Enterprise Content Collaboration Platforms announced they would be applying NLP to all 30 billion files that they manage for their clients. [1] The main methods currently used for content curation: 1) Social rating – what you experience when using social sites like Facebook by measuring “likes”, shares and votes. 2) Collaborative filtering based on users past actions and 3) Semantic Analysis which understands the meaning of small segments of the content and then applying machine learning analyzes relationships between all these segments for future suggestion or recall of specific content. The third approach, semantic analysis will only grow. A successful example of this is Amazon.com. As a shopper on their site we have access to millions of  book and product SKUs. Amazon uses a combination of all three techniques to position the right book or product based on our behavior, peer experiences as well as having a semantic understanding of the product page we’re viewing. There’s no reason we can’t have the same experience on workplace learning systems where all viable learning content/ company content could be organized and disseminated to each learner for the right time and circumstance.

3) The learning department won’t have to build it all themselves.

As learning authoring becomes easier, what content that hasn’t been already curated or bought by the  learning department teams won’t be only on their shoulders to produce. Team leads and even the rank and file employees themselves can create and share content they wish to contribute. Until the above curation methods came along, this idea has been difficult to follow through on. There would be too much content for any L&D department to manage in addition to their other duties.

4) Learning bots and voice enabled learning.

Amazon Echo and Google Home’s voice enabled / AI driven appliances are pointing the way for employees to simply “ask” by voice any question they have and instead of having to search to find the answer to their work query, the answer can be instantly told to them. See more from Employees have no time to learn new skills. AI to the rescue.

5) Current workplace learning systems and LMSs will go through a big transition or they will lose relevancy. 

Learning analysts and learning vendors themselves argue for or against the continued viability of LMSs (Learning Management Systems). [3][4][5] These are the enterprise wide systems frequently budgeted from the HR department for managing courses, classroom training, group training as well as the overall enforcement of training completion by employees. They are also the point of curation for most learning content found in the enterprise. Today, LMSs are predominantly used for longer form compliance training employees in most companies must complete to meet local and federal employment laws and standards. When we start to see voice enabled learning and AI driven curation current LMSs will surely have to transition to these approaches or fade to irrelevance.

6) Learning departments will go beyond onboarding, compliance training and leadership training  and move to training everyone in the company on all job skills. 

Learning and development departments from small to large organizations freely admit they are absolutely pressed for time. They are building, buying and curating learning content, managing and running classroom/ group instruction sessions along with administrating the LMS itself and providing reporting and visibility to management. Imagine instead if they could focus only on tweaking and improving the learner experience drawing and working in lockstep with their learning system which itself is able to understand the effect of all questions asked and answered and all content viewed? As Kevin Kelly mentioned in his recent TED talk [6] regarding AI and specifically IBM’s Deep Blue AI (Artificial Intelligent) driven chess computer; “When Deep Blue beat the world’s best chess champion, people thought it was the end of chess. But actually, it turns out that today, the best chess champion in the world is not an AI. And it’s not a human. It’s the team of a human and an AI. The best medical diagnostician is not a doctor, it’s not an AI, it’s the team.” Such a partnership with an AI driven learning system could open the possibilities for learning departments to go beyond onboarding, compliance and leadership training to all job skills/ team and sales enablement for the entire company.

[1] “Magic Quadrant for Content Collaboration Platforms” Gartner , July 25, 2017. Monica Basso, Karen A. Hobert, Michael Woodbridge.  https://www.gartner.com/doc/reprints?id=1-47K93B4&ct=170725&st=sb

[2] “AI will fundamentally change how we manage content” – https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ai-fundamentally-change-manage-content-131654635.html

[3] “The LMS is quickly losing ground”, Feb 23, 2017. Carol Leaman. http://www.clomedia.com/2017/02/23/lms-market-quickly-losing-ground/

[4] “Do we still need the LMS?”, April 5, 2017. Josh Bersin. https://www.clomedia.com/2017/04/05/still-need-lms/

[5] “Opinion: The LMS isn’t dead…yet”, July 21, 2017. Mike Rustici. https://www.clomedia.com/2017/07/21/lms-isnt-dead-yet/

[6] “How AI can bring on a 2nd industrial revolution”, June 2016. TED talks, Kevin Kelly time:12:01 https://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_how_ai_can_bring_on_a_second_industrial_revolution