AI: Learning facilitation in action

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Written by Barry Johnson on 2 May 2018

In this diverse, rapidly changing environment will L&D professionals be able to facilitate all learning as we have in the past? I am suggesting the answer to that question is, no. I believe that AI will become a micro learning facilitator. Will we have jobs? I believe the answer is yes but we will only deal with the AI role in this blog.

Micro-learning will be the norm delivered in small chunks, decided by the learners, focused on and driven by the learners and enabled by AI. Why?

Micro-learning appeals to the learners and the employing organisation as it is available to learners precisely at the time of the learning need. It can be designed to be in productive media formats ensuring better learning retention when applied appropriately.

Organisations are embracing micro-learning as it is cheaper to build, quicker to deploy, and can be updated fairly quickly and used flexibly as standalone assets as micro-learning events.

Micro-learning is an approach to skills, or information-based learning. It is a way of facilitating learning to single or a small group of learners, in short, very specific bursts. The learners are in control of what and when they're learning.

So, our mechanic, George, wants to be sure he is fully up to speed on the test for the 8446 IR Unit recently installed in Robot Auto Link Assemblers as number 24 Mk7 Robot has a fault.

Let us track how the learning that George may receive could progress. George triggers his need on a computer type interface with a 27" screen. Maggie appears on the screen and asks George what he wants. Maggie is the image of a learning facilitator.

George states his need and why he wants the information. Maggie, through a series of questions, does a learning needs analysis. From records she knows the depth and trends of his operational learning, experience and understanding.


She suggests a short set of learning objectives that appear on the screen and can be printed. She uses a Socratic approach that ensures George recalls and evaluates the necessary knowledge and skill requirements for the job that he wishes to undertake.

Any gaps and misunderstandings that George displays Maggie corrects. She may use schematics, diagrams, photos, video tracks, ensuring George has the technical foundation related to his request.

She then moves onto ensuring George receives the information he needs using a multifaceted interactive presentation or a Socratic approach ensuring George understands and she uses Skinnerian methods to reinforce the learning. 

She tests his understanding, providing George with the confidence to tackle the job that he has indicated he needs to undertake. Note this total learning experience will take between ten and twenty-five minutes.

Maggie is a simulation, but learners using this system could believe she is real. She will through her facial expressions, movement and voice create comfortable, positive confidence in George.


About the author

Barry Johnson BA, CMCIPD, MCMI, is a non-executive director at Learning Partners Ltd.



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