Wednesday, October 18, 2017

AI-driven tool produces high quality online learning for global company in days not months

You have a target of a two thousand apprentices by 2020, have a sizeable £2 million plus pot from the Apprenticeship Levy. This money has to, by law, be spent on training. The Head of Apprenticeships in this Global company is a savvy manager and they already have a track record in the delivery of online learning. So they decided to deliver a large portion of that training using online learning.
Blended Learning
Our first task was to identify what was most useful in the context of Blended Learning. It is important to remember that Blended Learning is not Blended TEACHING. The idea is to analyse the types of learning, types of learners, context and resources to identify your optimal blend, not just a bit of classroom, a bit of online stuff, stick them together like Velcro, and call it ‘blended’. In this case the company will be training a wide range of apprentices over the coming years, a major part of their recruitment strategy, important to the company and the young people joining the company.
The apprentice ‘frameworks’ identify knowledge, behaviours and competences as the three desired types of learning and all of these have to be assessed. The first project, therefore, looked at the ‘knowledge’ component. This was substantial as few new apprentices have much in the way knowledge in this sector. Behaviours and competences need to be primed and supported by underlying knowledge.
Additionally, assessment matters in apprenticeships, both formatively, as the apprentices progress, and summatively, at the end. Assessment is a big deal as funding, and the successful attainment of the apprentice, depends on objective and external assessment. It can’t be fudged.
These young apprentices will be widely distributed in retail outlets and other locations, here and abroad. They may also work weekends and shifts. One of our goals was to provide training where and when it was needed, on-demand, at times when workload was low. Content, Level 3 and Level 2, had to be available 24/7, on a range of devices, as tablets were widespread and mobile increasingly popular.
WildFire was chosen, as it could produce powerful online content that is:

  • Highly retentive
  • Aligned with assessment
  • Deliverable on all devices
  • Quick to produce
  • Low cost

Using an AI-driven content creation tool, we produced 158 modules (60 hours of learning), in days not months. After producing Level 3, we could quickly produce the Level 2 courses and load them up to the LMS for tracking user performance. The learner uses high-retention, open input, rather than weak multiple choice questions. The AI-driven content creation tool not only produced the high quality, online content quickly, it produced links out to additional supplementary content that proved extremely useful in terms of further learning. It only accepts completion when 100% competence is achieved and the learner has to persevere in a module until that is achieved.
The team, both the commissioning manager and the project manager were really up for this. First the use of new AI-driven tech excited them. Second, the process truned out to be quick and relatively hassle free. We produced so much content so quickly that it ran ahead of the organiation's ability to test it! Nevertheless, we got there, met very tight deadlines and came out the other side feeling that this really was a game changer. Three, we were all proud of the output. It's great working with a project manager who sees problems as simply things to be solved. We had to manage expectations on both sides as this approach and process, was very new.

AI is the new UI. Google has long been used in learning and AI shapes almost all online experiences – Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Netflix and so on. AI can now be used to shape online experiences in learning. It can create high-quality content in minutes not months, at a fraction of the cost, from a document, PPT, podcast or video. I think this changes the game in the e-learning market.
For more detail or a demonstration contact here


ContraryMan said...

"New" apprenticeships are also being developed in Ireland. Last year we were first out of the blocks with a BA in Insurance Practice. Minimal attendance at college is required as we give most of the classes live online (one day per week). It's not rocket science but it is novel here as the employer does not lose the students for "block release" and so they are very satisfied with the programme. We're also working on our own Work-based Learning degrees that mimic the apprenticeship model.

However, in Ireland, even on a national basis, the numbers will be quite modest. Synchronous online teaching is cost-effective at low numbers (which also reduces the risk involved in the initiative).

My question is, can the Wildfire approach be cost-effective at modest levels of enrolment?

(Of course, people may have different opinions on what constitutes "modest enrolment")

Donald Clark said...

Depends. The key metric here is cost per student.