Back in the dark ages of LMS software, when it's sole purpose was to make L&D efficient, we didn’t pay much attention to “user experience.”
Thousands of people made a good living by being proficient at operating clunky software. Those skills were in high demand, and job postings often stated a requirement for several years of experience in systems like SumTotal, Saba, and Cornerstone.
The End of the Road for the “Ultimate User Experience”
We now evaluate HR and learning software companies on the user experience, and new startups seem to spring up every day promising to achieve the ultimate user experience. Employee and manager self-service has become “consumerized.”
We love new usability until it becomes routine, then we hate it again. The problem isn’t that the software is clunky and too hard to use — we just don’t want to use it. No matter how much we gamify the experience and add cute little icons and progress bars, we still must point and click our way to learning activities, training plans, and history. We must manipulate a mouse and keyboard and search through web pages, menus, and unending lists when we would rather be doing creative work or interacting with colleagues or customers.
Robots Are the Next Generation User Experience
The quest for the ultimate user experience through manipulating things with our hands has run its course. Robots are the future, and they are coming to our workplaces, including HR and L&D. Natural language processing (NLP) is making it easier than ever for us to carry on useful spoken or typed conversations with our computers.
The future of capable cyber-assistants catering to our every whim is still far off, but we have thousands of ways in which the current capability of our bots can help with administrative tasks that eat up so much of our time.
Consider what your people must do when they need to learn something new.
- Log in to your LMS.
- Search catalogs and topics to find a learning program that satisfies their needs.
- Register for the program.
- Wait for confirmation.
- When they get the confirmation, put it on their calendar and set up a reminder.
Now, imagine having your virtual assistant embedded in your learning or enterprise collaboration platforms. Your learner can bring up your bot assistant in one or two clicks or taps and tell your bot to show them what programs are available. Then, they tell it which one they want and when they want to do it. All that is left to do is smile when the activity automatically appears on their calendar.
Tips for a Successful Transition to the Robot Experience
If you are serious about improving the learner experience in your organization, we recommend you investigate the AI- and machine learning-enabled robots available for your learning platforms. If your learning technology is less than three or four years old, there should be no need to run out and buy a new LMS, LRS, or any other learning system. A robotic virtual assistant worthy of notice should be adaptable to your system.
Before you jump right in, let us give you a few things to think about.
- Be transparent. Your people need to know if they are communicating with a machine or human, and they need to know the machine’s limitations. Take care to avoid unrealistic expectations.
- If you collect information to improve the user experience and your learning programs (and you should), tell your people what information you are gathering, how you will use it, and how you will keep it safe.
- If you use a bot to automate a process, automate the entire process. Half measures will increase frustration.
- Embed your learning bots into your enterprise collaboration platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or other applications your people use every day, and give them a mobile app. Bring learning into the flow of work by giving your people the opportunity to get information about learning from wherever they are.
We hope you are as excited about this opportunity to improve learning as we are. If you have questions, please call us. Will be happy to share our journey into the robot experience.
Chasma Place, is an independent source for solutions that will help you keep pace with changes in the way your people work without ripping and replacing your existing systems.