The corporate training market is over $200 billion around the world and it's going through a revolution. While we often think of training as programs or courses, a new paradigm has arrived, one I call "Learning in the Flow of Work." The corporate training industry has been around for decades and it has always been impacted by new technology. As the following chart shows, over the last 20 years we've been through four evolutions, each driven by technological and economic change. In the 1970s and 1980s, when I started my career, we learned in classrooms. The technology was slide projectors and "foils" (plastic laminated slides).
Artificial intelligence is steadily making its way into the traditional classroom setting, but what about in corporate America? Employees are constantly giving continuing education lectures, seminars, and classes. At the moment, it seems like few of them take advantage of the artificial intelligence platforms that could better engage workers. Don't be surprised to find that this technological advancement is going to play a key role in the future of corporate education. On a recent study from the Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review, 83 percent of executives believe that artificial intelligence is a strategic priority for their business.
At the same time, L&D professionals are rightly wondering whether they'll soon be automated out of existence. After all, Google and YouTube are the de facto training departments for many employees: they're ubiquitous, free, and packed with seemingly limitless content. But more sophisticated technology is on the rise, too. For example, AI can determine what someone needs to learn based on their performance data and career stage, then push content to them as they need it. This leaves many corporate trainers to stake their own value on curation, controlling the quality and consistency of training resources–but that's already shrinking territory for L&D experts to stake their value on.
Recently I wrote about the growing importance of investing in the skills of employees so that they can adapt to the changing technology landscape they're working in. It was based upon a recent Accenture report, which argued that organizations need to take a systemic approach to ensuring the interaction between man and machine is a smooth one. Whilst generally corporate training budgets are on a downward trend, there are a couple of recent developments that suggest all is not entirely lost and small progress is being made. It's estimated that IT support roles will grow by 10% by 2026, and the course is designed to learn the kind of skills required to land such a role. The hands-on labs are designed by IT experts at Google to offer an affordable way for people to gain the skills they need to get on in their career.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is neither friend nor foe – It's both! This was the feedback received following a high level panel discussion held during the Science Forum South Africa (#SFSA2017) in Tshwane, were youth members from various African states exchanged their views and ideals as to how best they, business and government need to approach the digital age. "There is a paralysing fear that jobs will be taken away and humans will become redundant and lazy", said Barbara Glover of NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency. Glover added that these fears need to be allayed by understanding how best AI can unlock enhanced potential for humans to deploy their skills in new ways. Ama Duncan of Corporate Training Solutions in Ghana agreed.
Much of our curriculum is based on feedback from corporate and government partners about the technologies they are using and learning. In addition to their feedback we wanted to develop a data-driven approach for determining what we should be teaching in our data science corporate training and our free fellowship for masters and PhDs looking to enter data science careers in industry. Below is a ranking of 23 open-source deep learning libraries that are useful for Data Science, based on Github and Stack Overflow activity, as well as Google search results. The table shows standardized scores, where a value of 1 means one standard deviation above average (average score of 0). For example, Caffe is one standard deviation above average in Github activity, while deeplearning4j is close to average.
By 2020, 25% of the American workforce will be over the age of 55 and approaching retirement, a phenomenon becoming known as the Silver Tsunami. While this could create a shortage of skilled workers in a number of fields including electric utilities, telecommunications, and manufacturing, augmented reality (AR) is poised not only to address issues faced by our aging workforce, but to fundamentality increase productivity by changing how all employees are trained in the future. In 2016, U.S. companies across industries spent nearly $1,000 in training per employee, largely delivered in traditional formats like classroom-based seminars and classes, and even online training modules that mimic that experience. This kind of learning has suited people's needs for centuries, particularly when learning was thought of as memorization with many cultures celebrating those who could recite long texts with exceptional rote skills. But as the breadth of human knowledge expanded, learning paradigms have changed with the works of John Dewey and others who recognized that understanding why information is important and how it relates to our world is true learning--and should be the goal.
You might say the folks at Ideal were victims of their own success. Co-founders Somen Mondal and Shaun Ricci's latest company grew from a challenge they faced in their first venture, inspection and safety compliance management programs. "We started the first company, Field ID, as two people working out of an attic, and grew to the point we were hiring two salespeople a week," Ideal CEO Mondal says. "We had all the classic HR nightmares: we would hire with bias and ignore résumé details. We had terrible recruiter efficiency and bad quality hires.
A few weeks ago I wrote "Why C-Levels Need To Think About eLearning And Artificial Intelligence." That was an inward-focused piece on the importance of things such as professional development and corporate training. Today's business environment is all about the user experience and creating those memorable and engaging experiences for customers that will have them coming back for more, time and time again. With the advent of big data, suddenly there is a lot more information available that tells businesses what type of experience to create for their users that will then maintain their loyalty and help draw new users. With that in mind, it's no wonder that the "2017 UX/CX Industry Report," which surveyed 2,300 professionals involved in improving the customer experience (CX), including marketing, product management, design/UX, research, and other functions, found that executives are starting to pay attention to the inherent value of user research and testing.