Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Is this the best piece of online learning ever?

I’ve designed, developed and delivered lots of online learning solutions, for well over 30 years, but this morning I saw one of the best I’ve ever seen. In many ways it runs against the tide of informal, social, collaborative, micro-learning; as it is an AI-driven, scenario and simulation-based, performance tool.
Chris Brannigan is the CEO of Caspian Learning and unusual in that his background is in neuroscientist. This, along with his technical and financial skills, has allowed him and this team to build a platform that brings the power of flight sims to business. What I saw blew my mind.
Human Performance Intelligence
He uses what he calls ‘Human Performance Intelligence’ to investigate, diagnose and treat business problems within organisations. This can be compliance issues, risk or performance of any kind. The aim is to do a complete health check, using AI-driven, 3D simulated scenarios, sophisticated behavioural analysis right through to predictive analysis and recommendations for process, human and other types of change. The ambition is breathtaking.
Risky business
Let’s take a real example, one that Chris has completed. Financial institutions nearly took us all down in 2008. They still haven’t got their act together and are being fined billions of dollars for regular breaches on risk, processes and misspelling. We know that existing compliance training doesn’t work –in fact we know it’s a tick-box joke. So how do you know that your tens or hundreds of thousands of employees perform under high risk? You don’t. The problem is that the risk is asymmetric. A few bad apples can incur the wrath of the regulators, who are getting quite feisty. You really do need to know what they do, why they do it and what you need to do to change things for the better.
Intelligence to action
The system learns from experts, so that there is an ideal model, then employees go through scenarios (distributed practice) which subtly gathers data over 20 or so scenarios, with lot of different flavours. It then diagnoses the problems in terms of decision-making, reasoning and investigation. A diagnosis, along with a financial impact analysis is delivered to senior executives and line managers, with specific actions. All of this is done using AI techniques that include machine learning and other forms of algorithmic and data analysis to improve the business. It is one very smart solution.
Business improvement
Note that the goal is not to improve training but to improve the business. The data, intelligence, predictive analytics, all move towards decisions, actions and change. The diagnosis will identify geographic areas, cultural problems, specific processes, system weaknesses – all moving towards solutions that may be; more training, investment decisions, system changes or personnel changes. All of this is based on modelling business outcomes. This is a complex business, as it is easy to improve processes, become risk averse and damage your business. The point is to identify an optimum way forward that always increases productivity, while solving other problems.

This ticks all the boxes for me:
  • draws on behaviour of real people
  • sim/scenario-based data gathering
  • focus on actual performance
  • captures expert performance
  • AI/machine intelligence
  • concrete recommendations
  • all about decision making
  • not stuck in 'training' rut
  • direct business impact
  • gets better the more it is used
  • ambitious!
L&D talk a lot about business alignment but often don’t get very far down that track. Chris has succeeded because he moves beyond L&D into other business units. What he gathers for an organisation is a unique data set, combined with a unique platform that really does deliver recommendations for change. It’s light years ahead of happy sheets and Kirkpatrick. What’s more interesting is that it is the polar opposite of much of what is being done at present, with low key, non-interventionist training. I’ll be presenting this as one of a number of AI solution on Thursday 4th Feb at Learning Technologies at London Olympia. See their website.


Alex Jones said...

It sounds more like an auditing tool than a training system. How much do the learners get from providing their choices for the scenarios? Or is this all about the organisation learning about itself?

Donald Clark said...

The learners get the high quality training. Big difference between 'auditing' and 'diagnosis'. Note that this is a business not an educational establishment. Ultimately, we all gain Alex, if risk is reduced and the banks start to move beyond traditional 'training' of compliance - that clearly didn't work. Real solution to real problem?