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Talent Development Leader

10 Ways to Start Small With AI

Monday, February 26, 2024

It’s time for all TD leaders to get comfortable with artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is everywhere: It’s the subject of labor disputes, medical breakthroughs, dire warnings, and rapturous visions. Regardless of all that, AI has incredible potential. If you haven’t already begun using it as a talent development leader, jumping into AI can be daunting. Here are 10 practical ways to start.


1. Expand your own creativity

AI is a valuable resource to overcoming writer’s block. For example, provide an AI tool with learning program details, and it can generate character descriptions, training situations, or sample dialogue.

Some AI tools can generate entire paragraphs or short stories based on a given prompt, which can serve as a foundation for writing a strategy or communicating the impact of your team’s latest initiative. You can even engage in a collaborative writing process with AI.

If you have already written something but struggle with editing, AI tools can identify grammar and spelling errors. Such assistance frees your mind and enables you to focus on the more creative and strategic aspects of your work.

2. Gain support with a learning assistant

If you are a TD leader on a small team with few resources, use AI tools to organize, manage, and facilitate various aspects of your learning programs. AI can schedule training sessions considering the availability of trainers and learners and manage the allocation of resources to ensure efficient use.

AI can track learner attendance and participation in sessions to comply with training requirements. It can collect feedback from learners and trainers through surveys, assessments, and evaluations, which are useful to identify areas for improvement. It can also assist in managing certifications and credentials, tracking learner achievements, and providing digital completion certificates.

3. Support instructional design

Consider using AI to assist your team with creating learning materials (including text, images, and videos) based on objectives you provide. AI tools can create assessments tailored to specific learning outcomes, analyze learner data, and adapt instructional content to individual learner needs. You can prompt it to generate realistic scenarios that help learners apply knowledge in a controlled environment.

Within your design, the AI can proofread instructional content to ensure accuracy and clarity. Use it to suggest additional resources, multimedia elements, or relevant case studies. If you need to synthesize your content, ask the AI to summarize lengthy information into more digestible formats suitable for a microlearning approach.

Ensure instructional materials are accessible to learners with disabilities by generating alternative text for images and captions for videos. AI tools can facilitate the translation of instructional content into multiple languages and adapt it to suit cultural and regional differences, enabling you to reach a global audience.

4. Create curriculums and program guides

Generative AI can help to build large training program libraries. Use it to design, map, and categorize curriculums or suggest a sequence of courses based on the educational goals you stipulate.

Avoid the headache of keeping curriculums up to date because AI tools can analyze learner data to identify areas for improvement in program guides and training materials, enabling iterative updates.

5. Design learning pathways

If your organization uses chatbots, work with IT to provide content recommendations. AI can assess a vast library of educational materials to recommend specific courses that align with a learner’s goals and then create personalized learning pathways by considering an individual’s background, skills, and interests.

AI tools can identify prerequisite courses or required knowledge to succeed in advanced courses, ensuring learners follow a logical progression. AI tools can also integrate assessments into the pathway to gauge learner understanding and proficiency.

6. Develop a learning concierge for self-directed learning

In more sophisticated applications, AI tools adapt learning pathways based on performance and feedback, ensuring that self-directed learners receive additional support or challenges as needed. AI can recommend supplementary resources—such as articles, videos, or books—to complement core courses, as well as offer support and suggest areas for improvement.

Some AI-powered platforms adjust the difficulty and pace of learning content to match the learner’s needs, ensuring an optimal challenge level. And AI chatbots or virtual assistants can provide answers to learner questions, clarify concepts, offer explanations, and provide automated feedback on assignments, helping self-learners understand their strengths and areas for improvement in the absence of a trainer.

7. Evaluate learners

Consider using AI tools to automate the evaluation process. Generate a diverse pool of assessment items, such as multiple-choice questions, short answers, and essay prompts, which can include varied levels of difficulty. Test how to produce customized assessments that adapt to individual students’ skill levels.

Generative AI can automatically grade assignments, either as a part of e-learning modules or in a traditional setting, reducing instructor workload and providing quicker feedback to learners. AI tools can score essays and open-ended questions, considering factors such as grammar, content, coherence, and relevance. Finally, AI may recommend improvements to the overall design of assessments, including question distribution, coverage of learning objectives, and balance of question types.

8. Improve how to track ROI

AI tools can provide insights and data-driven analysis that enable you to evaluate a training initiative’s cost effectiveness. That includes expenses for content development, trainers, technology, and associated overhead costs. AI tools can identify the benefits that result from training, which may include improved employee performance, increased productivity, reduced errors, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

For example, track key performance indicators and monitor metrics such as skill improvement, employee engagement, and performance before and after training. AI-powered software can create models that indicate when a learning program contributes to performance improvement and when factors outside of training are responsible for behavior change.

You can then ask the AI program to perform comparative return on investment analyses of delivery methods to identify which is most cost effective. With a sensitivity analysis, AI can run scenarios to understand how changes in key variables—such as training duration, costs, or performance improvement—affect ROI.

Interactive dashboards visually represent the ROI data, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and act upon findings. With a little help from IT, AI can provide real-time feedback on a training program’s ongoing impact, enabling organizations to make timely, cost-saving improvements.

Start by asking an AI tool to create what-if scenarios to assess future training programs’ ROI potential or to compare ROI to industry benchmarks.


As you become more comfortable, use AI predictive analytics to forecast learning program impact. For instance, estimate company skills gaps and suggest how training can fill those gaps to help the business allocate resources.

9. Enhance performance management

As you evolve your performance management strategy, use generative AI to evaluate, analyze, and improve employee performance. Create detailed reports based on KPIs and data from various sources. Those reports help your managers make data-driven decisions.

AI tools can help managers provide constructive and personalized feedback to employees by suggesting specific improvement recommendations based on performance data. Additionally, AI tools can aid in the development of SMART goals, designing and distributing performance-related surveys, and collecting feedback from employees and managers.

10. Overhaul human capital management

AI’s role in human capital management is to streamline processes, enhance decision making, and improve the overall employee experience. It scans resumes and profiles to identify suitable candidates based on job requirements and automates initial screenings of those resumes to pair applicants with ideal-match job descriptions.

Use it to coordinate communication between recruiters and candidates. AI-powered chatbots can answer candidate questions, provide information about the hiring process, as well as administer and score pre-employment tests. Using AI to assess candidates’ skills and analyze candidate responses will give insight into their behavioral fit with a company’s culture. It can help you compute employee data to predict turnover, recommend retention strategies, and identify high-potential employees for leadership roles.

Taking the first steps

You don’t need to become an AI expert, but having a fundamental understanding of the new technology is essential. Many online courses, tutorials, and resources are available to get you started. AI is a broad field, so choose a focus area that aligns with your goals and interests.

Train your team and learners on how to use the AI tools effectively. You can get hands-on experience by working with AI libraries and frameworks.

As your comfort with AI tools grows, it’s important to approach AI implementation thoughtfully, with a clear strategy and a focus on ethical considerations and data privacy. Define specific goals and objectives you want to achieve with AI in your training programs, such as improving learner engagement, increasing training efficiency, or enhancing personalization.

Begin with a small, manageable pilot project (such as a specific use case or module) to test the AI solution’s feasibility and effectiveness. It may be easier to adapt an existing program than to start from scratch.

Scale gradually. As you gain confidence in AI’s effectiveness, consider expanding its use in other aspects of your learning programs. Remember that AI is a tool to enhance your work, not a replacement for human expertise. The combination of AI-driven efficiency and human guidance can lead to more effective and engaging learning experiences in your organization.

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About the Author

CTDO Next is ATD’s premier membership for talent development executives who want to shape the future of the profession. This network of global learning leaders is passionate about transformations that affect the field. Through the work of CTDO Next, members explore a variety of forward-focused topics with the goal to take a position and lead the profession. Learn more at

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Hi! This is a great list. Can you provide specific examples of the AI tools that can do the above?
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