A European civil engineering corporation approached Fountech as they wished to improve their employees’ skills, abilities and professional development. Adherence to industry standards and rigorous EU health and safety legislation is always of the utmost importance on large construction projects, so it was absolutely essential for all personnel at every level to understand their responsibilities and to reach quantifiable professional standards by passing regulatory examinations.
As a result, our client provides education opportunities for employees, usually in the form of outsourced workshops or by having them study previously developed material in order to answer basic questionnaires or select from ‘multiple choice’ answers.
This organisation suffered from typical issues affecting almost every sector of workplace training.
In fact, as the Harvard Business Review states*, such methods are rarely very successful:
A common complaint from employees was lack of relevance of material, as each person’s role often requires specific learning materials that were either inappropriate or date-expired in terms of regulatory legislation.
A further problem is that each employee learns in different ways and at a different pace from their colleagues. Everyone has their own learning style. This creates a need for the design of multiple teaching pathways, which is time consuming and expensive.
of 1,500 managers surveyed from across 50 organizations were dissatisfied with their company’sLearning & Development (L&D) function
of employees report that they don’t have command of all the skills needed to do their jobs
of employees apply new skills learned in workplace L&D programs
of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey believe that training measurably improved performance
Fountech Solutions is designing a Corporate L&D system that can process, store, retrieve and deliver instant-access knowledge, on demand, to each employee, addressing each person’s needs and questions individually. Such personalized learning paths offer obvious cost-effective advantages to professional development and can ensure adherence to appropriate legislation.
To design such bespoke effective learning programs, a curriculum based on the organisation’s operational requirements needs to be created. This may include commercially confidential content, both physical and digital that must not be accessible beyond the company’s premises. Within this context, AI algorithms can be used to process such content:
to categorise material into subjects from books, technical documentation and classified documents.
specific terms, activities, locations and processes relevant to a job role are extracted from text. These can also be used to conduct broader external searches in the public domain. For example, the particular process of exact concrete mix ratios for the construction of freeway bridge pillars may be sourced from industry regulatory bodies. Keywords identified by this process can be used to conduct a search of the latest published standards
The contents and meta-data are stored in a graph-based knowledge-representation system, which is used to retrieve interrelated data.
Content between documents can refer to similar processes or expand upon previous material. The AI algorithms can create connections between such content and create suggest learning sets. This process can be working in the background to continuously feed the system. For example, when a new document is added, it will be categorised and mapped to relevant personalised development paths foreach appropriate employee role.
Once the AI has absorbed content, it is able to deliver lessons on demand to employees and test them on their retained knowledge. The employee can also ask questions of the system, by voice or typing, and it will reiterate answers via another short duration lesson.
Long documents can be shortened to a particular length to form a synopsis. For example, long reference book chapters can be shortened down to a chosen length,
say 400 words, but the employee can also request a summary of 1,000 words or even 200, depending on their needs. The system dynamically adjusts inclusion of the most salient points, by an importance hierarchy score within the confines of the reduced word count.
The system can perform a semantic search of its knowledge base, not just a literal one. Literal searches and 'similar meaning searches' would mean that a query of “approved concrete mix ratios for pillars” would include all literal occurrence results, but substrings with similar meanings would also qualify, so “sand, cement and gravel proportions” would also bring up the same results.
The system can ask the employee to teach back any material or create questions to test the reader’s understanding of the salient points of the lesson. The system will assess factual understanding assign a level of the employee’s engagement.
The 'reader' can ask for more information about anything, and
online connectivity enables the system to bring up other relevant media related to the query, e.g. "Find me more results about the latest research and legislation on suspension bridge flexing..."
Readers may be bilingual but may still feel more comfortable having material presented in their native language, so translations into different languages may be available.
This is based on a combination off actual understanding and biometric responses (in the cases where the system is allowed to monitor visual and auditory responses of the employee). If the system detects low levels of engagement, the platform can adapt the presented material using different wording or even between different media (visual vs audio or a combination of both etc).The platform then encourages the reader to re-engage with the content.
Our client reported early encouraging signs of the platform being received well by HR and employees alike. The time spent in the office (as opposed to out on site, which is where civil engineers like to be) in front of tedious ‘multiple choice’ paperwork was reduced.
Employees said that they found the learning experience to be genuinely informative, and that their knowledge had actually improved rather than having to ‘cram’ a series of rote-learned answers for a test paper.
As the autonomous learning of the AI improves, so does the experience for the humans interacting with it, which means that positive feedback is only likely to continue.
The vCAIO will conduct a situational assessment to identify the needs of, and opportunities for, the organisation. They will provide a report outlining a gap analysis and the baseline from where to start defining the AI strategy going forward
Create a vision of where the organisation should be going
Set standards for strategy implementation through establishing the correct management structures and considering ethical issues
Make things happen by operating at the right level, knowing what to outsource and what to achieve in-house for optimum delivery
Build capacity in the organisation by recruiting the right talent and identifying appropriate vendors or consultants to solve key problems
Become the public face of the new technology, both internally and externally
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