Developing Human Skills In The Age Of Machines: The Future Of Learning And Development

Developing Human Skills In The Age Of Machines: The Future Of Learning And Development
Summary: While machines excel at efficiency, humans need to focus on developing skills that are harder for machines to handle, such as context, problem-framing, and critical thinking. That's why developing human skills in this coming age of machines is essential for any training chapter.

The Future For L&D Professionals: Human Skills Development

As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, the role of machines in the workplace will only become more significant. It's clear that AI will outdo humans on efficiency issues, so instead of trying to compete with them, we need to focus on developing the skills that machines are less equipped to handle. Through countless interviews with industry executives, I’ve gleaned insights applicable to Learning and Development professionals and summarized them into the following themes.

L&D For Developing Human Skills

Need For Context And Creativity

In the Learning and Development industry, the opportunities for sustained human skills development mean teaching employees to consider context, frame problems effectively, and factor in considerations that are harder to quantify or where there isn't enough data for statistical analysis. It also means encouraging creativity in every sense of the word. As technology and machines become increasingly prevalent in the workplace, the need for learners to develop their critical thinking skills becomes essential. While machines can excel at efficiency and statistical analysis, they struggle with interpreting and understanding context, framing problems effectively, and considering non-quantifiable factors. Human experience, knowledge, and the ability to accurately derive context and creatively apply it will become increasingly in demand.

Applied Judgment To Question AI

It's essential to note that machines play a game of probability, which is why number skills will be necessary for analytics. However, it's not enough for employees to know how to do the analytics. They must also understand the assumptions and limitations of these tools. If AI were perfect, we would all "game" the stock market and be wealthy, so it's crucial to teach employees to excel at skills and perspectives that cause them to question the recommendations and decisions of machines.

As Learning and Development professionals, we need to ensure employees know what data to collect so that machines can inform them. However, we also need to impart essential critical thinking skills and not delegate decision-making to AI. Instead, we should empower our employees to make informed decisions based on their analysis of the data and their understanding of the business context. A practical and current example is how students are erroneously using Chat GPT for assistance on school assignments without questioning the validity of the materials nor having sufficient knowledge of the subject to be able to discern what is inaccurate.

Therefore, learners must be taught to question the recommendations and decisions of machines and think beyond the numbers. They need to be able to analyze data and make informed decisions based on their understanding of the business context, as well as their ability to frame problems creatively and think outside the box. By developing these skills, learners can position themselves to work effectively alongside machines and make valuable contributions to their organizations.

Hyper-Personalized Solutions

When it comes to the next wave of training, personalization and learning in the flow of work are becoming increasingly critical, being powered by deep learning. Technology and information infrastructure now allow us to do things we could never do before. As a result, we will always be drawn to the technology that allows us to be more intimate and seamless.

Personalized and adaptive learning has become increasingly important in the age of machines as it allows employees to receive training and support that is tailored to their individual needs and preferences. With the help of advanced technologies such as deep learning, it is now possible to collect and analyze large amounts of data about an employee's learning habits, strengths, and weaknesses, and use this information to create a customized learning plan. By providing employees with personalized and adaptive learning, employers can ensure that their workforce is equipped with the specific skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles. Additionally, personalized and adaptive learning can help to increase engagement and motivation among employees by giving them more control over their learning experience and allowing them to progress at their own pace.

Added Meaning To Work

Our obligation, however, goes deeper. We need to engage employees and show them that they have a purpose beyond just completing tasks. We must allow for creativity in the training process and encourage employees to think outside the box. We can even think of our employees as our target market and apply marketing techniques to convince them of our training strategies and tactics. In an increasingly machine-driven world, the need to feel meaning and a sense of purpose at work has become even more important. It will be important to clearly articulate the benefits of training and consistently consider the learner experience in all aspects of their learner journey.


In conclusion, the future of Learning and Development lies in embracing the power of machines while simultaneously developing the human skills that machines are less equipped to handle. It's about empowering employees to make informed decisions and providing them with the tools and training they need to succeed. It's about personalization, creativity, and engaging employees to create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. The industry is poised to embrace this challenge, provided we ourselves also continually upgrade our own skills while enhancing the skills of our workforce.


eBook Release: Beyond the Sky
Beyond the Sky
We infuse learning with marketing principles for learning that sticks. We uniquely combine leading edge marketing experience to change behavior with modern learning techniques to change learner behavior!