Generative AI, such at ChatGPT, is a hot topic these days. The technology is revolutionizing the automation and creation of content, as well as tailoring outputs and interactions based on individual preferences and historical data.
At the same time, the technology has been embroiled in a number of controversies including potential misuse and malicious applications, its inherent biases driven by the data it's trained on, and potential intellectual property and copyright infringement.
The good news is that there are solutions in the market today that allow customer educators to harness the power of generative AI while avoiding many of the challenges.
What is Generative AI?
Before we start, it is helpful to understand what the technology is about. Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that develops brand new content that hasn't been seen before and synthesizes content based on knowledge it already has. This means it can generate new content like essays, blogs, graphs and images, as well as re-engineer content.
What generative AI cannot do is infer or extrapolate like humans can. You must be specific about what you want generative AI to build, and you must feed it with the right subject matter expertise as it cannot judge what is correct and incorrect.
It is for these reasons that generative AI is a productivity tool rather than a replacement for people. While AI can provide suggestions, it is essential for humans with real world experience and judgment to validate and augment the content generated by the AI system.
The Role of Generative AI in Customer Education
When I was Chief Customer Officer at Kinaxis, I was the head of course development and one of my main challenges was keeping up with product development. The company was quickly acquiring new customers and releasing lots of new features, but training lagged six to nine months. This meant that many of our existing customers weren’t getting value from the software, and we were at risk of losing them.
In my opinion, generative AI has become a must-have tool for customer education departments in order to keep up with Agile development processes and growing customer expectations. The speed at which the technology can import, learn and process information and create new content means that it can accelerate the training content generation process.
So what does this mean? It means with generative AI, learning and training departments can finally reduce the lag time between when training is available after product or feature releases.
What to look for in a Generative AI tool
There are many tools in the market that claim to be AI-enabled and it can be confusing to decide which one is right for you and your organization. I have pulled together a list of considerations before selecting a tool.
Purpose-built: Look for a tool that is trained to build the content that you need. If you want to build marketing content, look for a tool that writes blogs, articles, social posts and more. If you want to build training content, look for a tool that will develop content for eLearning, instructor-led training, microlearning and more.
Data source: To develop training that is specific to your company and products, look for a tool that allows you to import your own material in different formats, such as Word documents, presentations and video recordings.
Outputs: Look for a tool that goes beyond eLearning content to create additional formats and deliver a richer learning experience. Also ask questions about output formats such SCORM, xAPI and CMI5.
Customization: Look to see if the tool allows you to define and fine-tune content style, learning paths, branding, difficulty level, or question types so it matches the learning experience you are looking to deliver.
Collaboration: Creating great training requires the input of subject matter experts. Look at the collaboration tools that allow SMEs to provide feedback directly into the course.
Data Privacy and Security: Ensure that the tool adheres to data protection regulations and handles sensitive information appropriately. Look for features like access control.
Integration and Compatibility: Ensure that the tool can integrate or export content to your preferred learning management systems (LMS) or other platforms.
User-Friendly Interface: Check to see if the tool is easy to use and offers customization settings that streamlines the course development process and enhances productivity. If the tool is overly complex or hard to navigate, you will not gain many of the time-saving opportunities offered by generative AI.
Support and Documentation: Inquire about support and documentation offered by the tool and whether it will meet the needs of your training team. Look for things like online help, email support and even personalized training options.
See the tool in action: Before making a purchase, demo the tool with your own content and verify that the speed, output, and the quality of the content meets your expectations.
Cost, value and ROI
When looking at the pricing of the tool, consider the pricing structure, licensing models, support costs and any additional costs associated with using the tool. Some tools have a limit on the amount of content you can generate within a plan and will charge extra if you go over these caps.
When calculating the value and ROI, consider the amount of time saved in the learning content creation process as well as the benefits to sales, customer success, customer support and HR teams when you deliver customer, employee, sales and partner training in a timely manner.
If your management hasn’t asked you what productivity benefits you can harness with AI, they will soon. To find the right tool, first decide what you are looking to accomplish and ensure it meets these objectives.
Explore areas like input sources, customization, output and support options. You want a tool that is easy to use and integrates with your existing delivery tools so you get the most out of your investment. Remember to demo the tool with your own data and resources - don’t be swayed by a generic online demo.
I recommend that you embrace generative AI to gain productivity benefits and eliminate mundane tasks that the human expert doesn’t need to keep doing. The technology offers so many benefits to our learning industry and there is no going back!