The augmented world of work: Chatbots and voice in digital learning

The augmented world of work: Chatbots and voice in digital learning

Much has been said in the last 12 months about chatbots, digital assistants and voice interfaces. Instead of amplifying the hoops of hype, Olivia Lory Kay looks at changes they offer digital learning, communications and engagement. 

Our work with our data science and innovation teams leave us without a doubt that Chatbots and voice interfaces will be our guides in the future to finding the resources we need, when we need them. Learner journeys will be aided by personalised content and digital assistants, which will link up time available with content desirable. Learner journeys and learning pathways will become guided in ways we have not had the capability to achieve before now, and it will all be automated.

We are moving into that world and the tools already exist. Augmented communications and learning environments will help busy people put innovative learning to work.

For sales teams on the road and under pressure, but ambitious to learn and do more, these interfaces open up a world of opportunity:

They will be able to talk to digital assistants prior to arriving at a customer site not only to receive real-time information on products, volumes and pricing, but also rehearse carefully crafted brand stories to drive curiosity, deepen engagement and build relationships.

After the visit, they will be able to instruct next steps and share information back to teams, by voice to their phone.

When they arrive back at the desktop, that information is already aggregated for them, with clear next steps and links to relevant resourcing. There won’t be the same need for people to retain a lot of detailed information; the enterprise version of Google will be available by voice – secure within the cloud and learning more about the way you work with each interaction.

Digital learning will open opportunities for deeper experiences, coaching teams with strategy and different sales models to enhance their skills.

For desk based customer support teams and knowledge workers, these tools provide at-the-fingertips resourcing. Just-in-time and personalised communications and learning become possible in a meaningful way.

My learning pathway in the future will be tailored to my specific learning requirements, and the flow of my day. The communications I receive about it will be likewise tailored to my blend; learning and communications will become embodied within intelligent apps that will help my organisation help me.

If I’m handling calls, I’ll be able to receive verbal prompts or activate – by voice – a digital assistant that holds the information and know-how of the organisations’ best customer service experiences from the last 20 years – as I’m handling the query.

For employees in such customer facing roles, conversational technologies will enable many routine information processing tasks to be automated, creating time to focus on other value added activities.

As with immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality platforms (AR, VR and MR), what Chatbots and their family of technologies represent is a fundamental shift in interface. With that comes the need to rethink what we currently understand about user interface and user experience (UI / UX).

Ask yourself, what is your brand or company’s tone of voice like, as an actual spoken interface? What does brand personality mean when artificial intelligences become a part of the marketing, communications and learning mix? How do we design learning pathways through content that is no longer held in one place, but distributed potentially anywhere across connected systems?

How will communications, learning, HR and IT teams need to work together in future to ensure that integration is not only technologically seamless, but seamless also from the UX perspective?

With these changes come far-reaching questions around how customer experience (CX) is impacted and how business models will need to shift to accommodate these new requirements.

Digital learning specialists can help clients understand the context and solutions that exist within this emerging world. We are already augmenting learning through digital and these technologies are another transformative step along that path.

See Olivia explore the future of immersive tech in L&D at LT19UK.


This article first appeared in Learning Technology Awards magazine.

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