Are chatbots the future of training?
Nathan Sykes likes the prospect of chatbots in training. Do you agree?
Bots are simple artificial intelligence programs. A chatbot can respond to straightforward questions and hold basic discussions by learning through conversation what the proper responses are. The more people talk to the bot, the more the AI learns.
The chatbot could resemble the likeness of a real person's speech patterns. People can talk to chatbots through text or audio, depending on what the person finds most comfortable. In a learning environment, the chatbot is an ideal teaching tool. Learning through training in the workplace with a bot could be even more beneficial for the student and instructor.
Training fast or slow
Bots are helpful for training purposes because new employees can use them to learn at their own pace. One key to learning new things is repetition. A chatbot never gets tired or annoyed over repeating basic subjects. Expertly related topics may need more repetition or different explanations.
On the other hand, an employee going through training faster than average doesn't have to slow down to stay with a group. Instead of focusing on subjects the employee already knows, the chatbot can determine if they're ahead of peers and adjust as needed.
In a learning environment, the chatbot is an ideal teaching tool.
While this is possible with a human trainer, the chatbot won't hold a new employee back or advance them before they are ready.
Chatbots are available at any time or place. A new employee may not be able to contact a human trainer after work hours, but a chatbot can provide continued support at all times for any employee needing help.
Even after training is over, an employee could contact the chatbot for inquiry — they’re accessible when the employee is away from the office, on the factory floor or in a client's home.
If an employee needs more help the chatbot can't provide, a human trainer can step in. Otherwise, the chatbot removes the need for a human's input. While working at the speed the new employee needs, an existing employee can continue doing their job.
The chatbot is more efficient than the alternative and saves on resources, time and money. Time is money, and allowing the new employee to learn at their own pace makes savings for the company.
Cheap and easy
A chatbot is easy to implement for a company. The bot can run on programs or apps already being used without having to install anything else. New systems for a simple bot is unneeded with the right expertise.
While Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri are AIs that can learn conversations, the chatbots used for training are much more straightforward. The basic chatbot is not as expensive as big-name technologies. Depending on the functions and availability a company needs, the price for the chatbot could fluctuate.
Helps existing employees
Employees who have already gone through training can also use chatbots to refresh their memory or double-check themselves. Chatbots can regularly quiz employees on work safety and company policies to make sure they're up to date. Employees can even use them to assess their knowledge and performance.
On top of this, chatbots can track a staff member to monitor how well they're doing and where they're working. They can also analyse conversations, then report anything they cannot answer. With sufficient data, companies can continue to improve their chatbots over time.
Employees score corporate learning a -31 on the net promoter. The instructors score the same programs with a -8. The tools in place currently do not work to anyone's satisfaction, but there were no other alternatives until the chatbots became popular for training.
According to Filtered, 79% of managers approve of texting for businesses, and 80% of employees use texting for work. Meanwhile, nearly 70% of employees believe more texting should be used in the workplace for faster communication.
A chatbot can provide notices, alerts and summaries of detailed information, making it ideal for streamlining several business operations. While the chatbot is a form of automation, the use won't be frequent enough to take anyone's job away — a chatbot is there to make people's work and training more comfortable.
The future of business
Chatbots are easy to add to a business and save time and money. Current employees have more time to work, and new employees learn at their own pace. Plus, the present methods for training new workers are unpopular among staff without taking away already established jobs.
The future will likely be based on technology, which means automation will continue developing. Automating training is another step forward. Allowing new workers to get used to the chatbot for help could encourage them to seek the same system for assistance later in their careers.
About the author
Nathan Sykes is a business technology writer. To read his latest articles, check out his blog, Finding an Outlet.
Graham Hunter talks about the benefits of continuous learning in the workplace.
Before anyone makes any grand predictions it's time for a reality check, says Speexx's Armin Hopp.
Conor Gilligan looks at a few companies providing packaged elearning and who might rise to the top.
L&D experts from LinkedIn, Coca-Cola and Capital One International are set to share their expertise at the renowned World of Learning Conference.
Kate Pasterfield of Sponge UK urges L&D not to get stuck in the present.
Vincent Belliveau, Senior Vice President & General Manager EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand, explores the benefits of internal recruitment