Chatbots are computer software programs that can engage in conversations with human users, or at least simulate a conversation-like interaction, whether by text messaging or voice chat with a simulated voice. Why is this important? In short, a lot of people are interested in figuring out how to automate interactions between customers and a company, such as in customer service. Extending the concept to eLearning could mean using chatbots to help deliver various kinds of training or learning content. Do eLearning chatbots really have a role to play in corporate learning and training efforts?
eLearning Chatbots as Learning Reinforcements
When a company spends significant amounts of resources on training and learning programs, it’s always disappointing to realize that more often than not, learners will be lucky if they end up retaining 20% of what they learned so they can put it into practice. The frustrating thing is that the retention figure can easily be more than doubled up to 75% with just a little bit of practice or reinforcement. But follow-up emails to serve that purpose inevitably get lost in the shuffle of the daily grind. One way to keep the learning conversation going, however, is to use eLearning chatbots. While it’s easy to let an email message fall by the wayside, it’s much harder to ignore a conversation with a colleague, or a chatbot that acts like one. Chatbots can be programmed to provide reminders or act as an accountability partner in tracking goals around implementing what was learned in a training or workshop, just like a person might do. A chatbot can also ask learning assessment questions at various intervals after a learning session to see how much of the content is being retained by learners. Even better, a chatbot cold ask the right questions to find out how much of the content is actually being applied by the learner over time. This can be especially important when reinforcing or extending new manager training content.
eLearning Chatbots for Employee Onboarding
New hires typically go through a mind-numbing amount of paperwork, orientations and trainings in their first days and weeks. It can be confusing and frustrating to keep everything straight and make sure all requirements are being fulfilled. eLearning Chatbots can help ease these challenges of onboarding for new employees. They can check in on progress, answer questions, and generally keep new hires moving in the right direction.
eLearning Chatbots as Learning Initiators
“Required employee training” is a phrase that tends to make workers roll their eyes and wish they could be anywhere else. Even worse, most people seem to hate their company’s learning management system (LMS) that doesn’t give them what they want or how they want it in terms of learning. What if you could reach out to employees and really engage them in learning content? Chatbots could help with that because people like texting and are more likely to respond to text messages than just about anything else these days. Your company figures out bite-sized learning content it needs workers to know and can push it out via chatbots.
eLearning Chatbots in Action
Let’s say your company is totally on-board with eLearning in a way that allows employees to access their learning anytime, from anywhere on the device of their choice. That’s all well and good, but what happens if they have a question at 2:00 AM about something they’ve just learned? Nothing is worse than waiting a long time for a question like this to be answered. But properly programmed eLearning chatbots can provide the answer immediately and won’t mind staying up all night to do it. The kind of instantaneous, personalized learning support that can be offered by eLearning chatbots could potentially be the perfect complement to the increasingly popular learn-as-you-like approaches to corporate learning and training.
While the world of eLearning chatbots is very new and still emerging, as a nascent technology that is rapidly developing it has the potential to have a huge impact on the corporate learning and training landscape. And don’t worry, you don’t have to develop something as sophisticated as Siri or Alexa for it to bring real value to your learning efforts.