Striking the Balance: The Role of AI in Learning and Development

Striking The Balance: The Role of AI in L&D

Learning and development, like nearly every facet of corporate life, has seen the promise and impact that artificial intelligence and automation have to offer. Many professionals are questioning how much of their job can be replaced by AI and how soon. Learning and development is often seen as a cost center to a corporation; therefore, some may be wondering how to automate elements of L&D functions to reduce costs. While AI and automation have much to offer L&D teams, there is still a high need for human-driven learning and development.

The Opportunities:

AI can help improve the quality and experience of learning and development efforts in the following ways:

Personalization: AI can tailor learning needs to the individual; it can also predict what other content might be relevant to the learner. Personalized learning leads to more engagement and retention of learning. Through interests and engagement patterns, AI can curate up-to-date content relevant to each learner.

Adaptation: AI can assess and adjust the type and difficulty of material presented in real-time. Based on how well the learner comprehends the material, AI can give extra practice, more examples, or quickly assess knowledge mastery to keep employees from having to complete redundant content.

Flexibility: Tools such as virtual mentors and chatbots can guide employees to resources and assistance quickly. They enhance the learning experience because employees can learn on their own time and not get stuck if they have a simple question or need support.

Predictive Analytics: AI can analyze learner data to predict skill gaps and training needs within an organization, allowing L&D teams to proactively address development requirements. It can also keep track of compliance and certification needs to ensure employees stay up-to-date and reduce risk to the company.

Immersive Experiences: As AI advances, learners will have access to interactive and adaptive simulations through tools like Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality (AR/VR). These experiences provide training opportunities for practicing complex skills in likely real-life scenarios.

The Barriers:

Despite the very real value AI and automation offer L&D teams, there are some important considerations a company must keep in mind when adopting an AI strategy.

High Cost: While automation offers great promise in regard to increasing efficiency, the required investment is significant enough to be a barrier to some companies or organizations. Many are unsure how much to invest and how soon. The speed of innovation makes some want to wait and see how AI improves and if the cost barrier to entry comes down as it does.

Fear of Missing Out: Companies may feel pressured to incorporate AI to seem competitive in the marketplace without a clear long-term path. Since the field of AI is relatively new and developing at a rapid pace, companies are discerning where to focus their AI capabilities. In order to recoup a quicker return on investment, companies may prioritize their AI investment to enable sales or client-facing services above internal L&D.

Data and Privacy Concerns: Employees are concerned about how their personal information is accessed and used, especially confidential and sensitive information. Conversely, companies are concerned that generative AI tools may tempt employees to inadvertently share confidential client information or trade secrets, making some hesitant to adopt AI.

Human Connection: Despite the convenience and efficiency of AI, sometimes we just need a human element to solve complex problems. While many tasks can be automated, the current capacity of AI works best with repetitive and predictable tasks, making the human element still of great value, especially when emotional intelligence is needed. The emotional intelligence capability of AI is improving, such as identifying facial cues to identify emotion, but still has a long way to go.

Bias and Ethics: AI is often trained through historical data and runs the risk of ingrained bias being reinforced by AI. There has also been concern from artists and content creators that their work is referenced without credit or compensation. It is important that there is regular oversight of AI outputs to ensure they are unbiased and ethically applied.

Although AI has much to offer learning and development professionals, it is best applied in combination with the expertise, empathy, and adaptability of humans. A collaborative approach that utilizes the positive functionality of AI with the best efforts of people is the most effective way to create a future-ready learning and development team. After all, the biggest investment a company or organization makes is in its people.

If you’re interested in learning more about AI, check out the latest episode of the HIVE in FIVE podcast below, where we dive into Overcoming AI Adoption Challenges in L&D and explore ways to harness its potential for personalized and impactful learning experiences. 




Loutfi, E. (n.d.). The future of L&D: How AI is revolutionizing talent development. In Chief Learning Officer – CLO Media. Retrieved July 24, 2023, from

Marr, B. (2022). The Problem With Biased AIs (and How To Make AI Better). Forbes.

Smith, A. (2021). The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Learning and Development. Training Journal. Retrieved from:

About The Author:

Andrea D. Kopp is a learning and leadership consultant with over 20 years of experience. She holds a M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership as well as an MBA. Her professional experience includes serving as a Senior Human Capital Consultant with Deloitte as well as leading educational associations as a Chief Learning Officer, Executive Coach and Director of Professional Learning and Business Development. She resides in the Washington DC metro area and recently joined the St. Charles consulting community.

Author: Andrea Kopp

Outlook and Trends Impacting Learning & Development

On today’s episode, we look at Part 2 of the current business landscape for L&D, what are the trends that are driving change, and what are the implications on Learning within organizations.