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AI in training and the rise of ChatGPT

Ready or not, ChatGPT is here and it’s already having a big impact. There’s enormous opportunities for AI in the training industry, but how do you leverage it to its full potential? Arlo CEO John Mitchell answers that question, and many others.

Hi training providers. John Mitchell here, CEO at Arlo Software.

AI is a trend I’ve been following for many years, closely watching and patiently waiting for it to have a big impact on the L&D world. And while I’ve seen many training providers dip their toes in the water with AI assistants, LXPs and the like. It’s only now that I see the potential for widespread adoption with the introduction of AI like ChatGPT.

But with any new technology, it raises many questions. How will it be used in training businesses? What are the benefits for learners? How do I upskill my staff? Will it impact jobs?

Here’s my thoughts on all of the above.

The history of AI in training 

Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is the ability of computer systems to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence, has existed and evolved in our lives for decades. Smart devices that are programmed to learn and adapt to user preferences to control home appliances, personal assistants like Google, Siri and Alexa, and algorithms that analyze user behavior and make personalized recommendations. 

AI is embedded in our personal lives. And is already being used in many industries – healthcare, finance, manufacturing and much more – to improve efficiency, increase productivity, and create new opportunities.

In training and education, AI has been used in recent years to personalize learning experiences and assist with administrative tasks. In its first major evolution, we saw AI appear in many training businesses through LXPs – learning experience platforms. 

An LXP uses AI to enhance the learning experience. Personalization through analyzing preferences, behaviour and performance and adapting the learning path to ensure learners go at their own pace and are not overwhelmed. Virtual mentors provide coaching and guidance, feedback to help learners understand their strengths and weaknesses and curated content ensuring learners have access to useful and engaging resources from all over the web.

So, where to next for AI in the training industry? 

There are many AI systems available now that have potential to be used in training businesses. But, in my opinion, the most impactful AI for training businesses is the recent launch of ChatGPT.

The biggest advancement is the fact that anyone can now access the power of AI. ChatGPT is the human<>machine interface that can be accessed simply by using plain human language.  For example, you used to have to write code to get a computer to do something, now with ChatGPT you just use human language.

To me, that is what sets this apart from other AI that has come before. 

ChatGPT is the catalyst that opens up huge adoption opportunities, which will be leveraged in all sorts of specialized ways.

What is ChatGPT?

Well, I put this question to ChatGPT, and here’s the response: 

“I am ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI, based on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture. I can understand and respond to natural language queries and generate human-like text. My purpose is to assist users in a wide range of tasks, such as answering questions, generating text, providing recommendations, and more. I am constantly learning and improving based on the data I am trained on and the interactions I have with users.”

ChatGPT explains it better than I can, and so does Josh Bersin. I encourage you to read his article Understanding ChatGPT and why it’s even bigger than you think

From a technical perspective, this visual explanation from the OpenAI website explains how the model works:

How to leverage ChatGPT in your training business

If you think about all of the tasks related to training – create content, research new topics, write summaries, create quizzes, analyze learner inputs, score and assess learners, provide teaching assistance, collect and analyze feedback, provide additional resources, and so much more. All of these can be aided by AI like ChatGPT. 

And that’s definitely a good thing. I’ll get to “why” in a minute.

Imagine you’re creating a new course. You have the original idea – AI can’t do that. You want to research ideas for content – where would you usually go? Once upon a time you would reference printed materials or visit a library. In more recent years, there’s Google. And in 2023, there’s ChatGPT. 

You take that research, and you create a course. Now, I’m over simplifying things here, but bear with me. There’s a few gaps to fill to make it complete – some imagery, topic outlines, language translation, quizzes, summaries. Those are all jobs for ChatGPT. 

You run a pilot. You want to collect and analyze learner feedback to inform further changes before you go live. Another job for ChatGPT. 

That’s a pretty basic example but it paints a compelling picture. ChatGPT takes care of some of the repetitive tasks associated with training, freeing you up to focus on more impactful work.

By creating efficiencies in course creation and training management, you can create richer courses much faster than you ever have before, and spend time making improvements that impact learner outcomes and grow your business.

How to upskill staff to use ChatGPT

Will ChatGPT impact jobs? No. Not in the sense of job losses. Nothing can replace your domain expertise and understanding of your customer’s needs. 

It will aid your staff in their day-to-day jobs. Improving productivity and effectiveness. While ChatGPT can significantly speed up some of your day-to-day tasks, it is important for you and your team to guide this exciting tool to get the best outcomes. This means asking the right questions (in the right ways) to get the most accurate and valuable responses. You and your team will always need to review answers with a fine tooth comb, spending time polishing, and fact-checking the final product. This is where a significant part of your valuable IP will be added to your content.

Get the recipe right and you’ll increase output and gain a competitive advantage. I encourage you, and your staff, to start experimenting with ChatGPT in your training business. 

Here’s some ideas on how you can foster that learning and experimentation:

  • Start with the basics: Begin by introducing your staff to the concept of AI language models, how they work, and the benefits of using them in the workplace.
  • Provide training materials: Offer training materials that are accessible and user-friendly. This could include videos, tutorials, or even an FAQ page on how to use ChatGPT.
  • Hands-on experience: Encourage your staff to use ChatGPT themselves, and to experiment with its capabilities. This will help them understand how it works and what it can do.
  • Support: Ensure that there is ongoing support available for your staff as they begin to use ChatGPT, through regular training sessions and conversations. For example, consider setting up a dedicated channel in your company’s Slack channel.
  • Set realistic goals: Be clear about what you want to achieve with ChatGPT, and set realistic goals for your staff. This will help them understand how their efforts will contribute to the success of the company. And resolve any fears that their jobs will be replaced by AI.

With the right training, support, and resources, you and your staff will be able to use this powerful technology to its full potential.

In summary, I truly believe that AI such as ChatGPT is a game-changer for the training industry. It will not replace you and it certainly won’t completely create your course content for you. But it will help you accelerate by becoming more efficient and more effective. And that’s definitely a good thing.

Training providers, don’t have a TMS?

Check out the Ultimate Guide to Training Management Systems.