How Learning Professionals Should Get Started
with Generative AI

Current State

Generative AI (GenAI), such as language models and image generators, has the potential to revolutionize the way corporate learning professionals create content and design learning experiences. As these technologies become more accessible and powerful, instructional designers, facilitators, and managers need to understand how to leverage generative AI effectively in their work.

Brandon Hall Groupresearch has shown that the overwhelming majority of HCM and learning professionals (70%) believe that generative AI will have a positive impact on the workplace and no one believes it will have a negative impact (Source: HCM Outlook 2024 Study). However, when it comes to the personal usage of the technology, individuals are far less likely to engage.

Complexities

Many learning professionals lack the knowledge and skills to get started with GenAI. More than 50% describe themselves as having a basic level of understanding or no understanding at all (Source: How to Mobilize Learning Teams to Take the Lead in GenAI Poll). They may be unsure about the capabilities and limitations of these tools, how to integrate them into their workflows or how to ensure the generated content aligns with their learning objectives and quality standards. Additionally, there are concerns about the ethical use of AI and the potential for biases or inaccuracies in the generated content.

That reluctance and lack of understanding show in organizational attitudes as well.

 

Consequences

Teams that are unfamiliar and unwilling to explore the technology cannot lead the charge or properly influence organizational responses to GenAI. Only about one-third of HR teams report being actively involved in shaping AI responses in their companies (Source: HCM Outlook 2024). This means the impact on the workforce and every function that touches the workforce could be left to respond to decisions made without their input and expertise.

Failing to adopt GenAi in corporate learning could lead to missed opportunities for innovation, efficiency and enhanced learner engagement. As AI becomes more prevalent in the workplace, learning professionals who do not adapt may find themselves at a disadvantage compared to their peers who have embraced these technologies. However, rushing into AI adoption without proper planning and consideration can result in subpar learning experiences and potential legal or ethical issues.

Critical Question

How can corporate learning professionals, including instructional designers, facilitators and managers, effectively get started with GenAI to enhance their own work and build the credibility to influence GenAI strategy more broadly?

Brandon Hall GroupPOV

Brandon Hall Groupadvocates taking charge of your own development and career planning, encouraging organizations to establish systems and tools to help that happen. Here are our recommendations for building your own skills and knowledge with GenAI.

Educate Yourself

Invest time in learning about generative AI technologies, their capabilities, and their applications in corporate learning. Attend webinars, workshops, or conferences focused on AI in learning, and explore resources from trusted sources.

Identify Use Cases

Determine specific areas where generative AI can add value to your learning initiatives. This could include generating personalized learning paths, creating practice exercises, developing chatbots for learner support or streamlining content creation processes. More is always better when brainstorming ideas — don’t limit the possibilities and prioritize the opportunities once you have a good list.

Experiment with AI Tools

Start by exploring user-friendly generative AI tools like GPT-3, DALL-E, Gemini or Claude3. Many of these tools offer free trials or low-cost entry points, allowing you to experiment and gain hands-on experience. Then use them for simple asks to help you get a feel for how they may be able to help you. A good first prompt could be, “What are the common use cases for GenAI in corporate learning?”

Develop Prompts and Templates

Create well-structured prompts and templates that guide the AI to generate content aligned with your learning objectives. This ensures the generated content is relevant, accurate and pedagogically sound.

Integrate AI Into Your Workflow

Gradually incorporate GenAI as a tool in your content creation and instructional design processes. Use it to brainstorm ideas, generate drafts or create interactive elements that enhance learner engagement.

Collaborate with Stakeholders

Engage with subject matter experts, legal teams, and other stakeholders to ensure

the appropriate use of AI-generated content. Create a governance structure. Address concerns about intellectual property, bias and accuracy. Establish guidelines for the ethical use of AI in learning.

Evaluate and Iterate

Assess the effectiveness of AI-generated content in your learning programs. Collect feedback from learners and stakeholders and continuously refine your use of generative AI based on insights gained.

A Word About Accuracy, Bias and Security

There are well-documented concerns about the accuracy, bias and security of GenAI content. Be transparent about the use of AI in your learning content. Ensure the generated content is unbiased, inclusive and respects intellectual property rights. Have guidelines in place to manage potential risks and biases. Engage with others in the learning community to share experiences, best practices and lessons learned in using generative AI. Attend workshops, webinars, or conferences focused on AI in learning to stay updated

on the latest developments. (There are several free opportunities to learn by viewing On-Demand.)

Above all remember, generative AI is a tool to augment and enhance your work as a learning professional, not replace human expertise and judgment. Start small, experiment and gradually scale up your use of AI as you gain confidence and see positive results.

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Matt Pittman

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman brings nearly 30 years of experience developing people and teams in a variety of settings and organizations. As an HR Practitioner, he has sat in nearly every seat including Learning and Leadership Development, Talent Management and Succession Planning, Talent Acquisition and as a Human Resources Business Partner. A significant part of those roles involved building out functions in organizations and driving large scale change efforts. As a Principal Analyst, Matt leverages this in-depth experience and expertise to provide clients and providers with breakthrough insights and ideas to drive their business forward.

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