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AI and learning: is your organisation ready to be transformed?

Chatbots are ubiquitous, but haven't yet made an impact in organisational learning. In this webinar we explored how that's all set to change with Otto.

On the 14 February, e-learning guru Donald Clark and Learning Pool CEO Paul McElvaney explored the world of chatbots in learning – and demonstrated the potential of Otto, a new AI-driven chatbot which interacts with an organisation’s learners as part of their workflow.

They were joined by participants from across the UK and around the globe, who spent an hour reflecting on the potential for chatbots to influence both individual learners’ journeys and their organisations’ strategies for learning.

Have you ever used a chatbot? Are you sure?

We started the event by asking if attendees had ever used a chatbot – or were possibly suspicious that they might have done so…

  • 15% said that they were 99% sure they had never used a chatbot
  • 38% said that they may have used a chatbot – but they weren’t sure if it was human or not
  • 13% said that they have used a chatbot – but it wasn’t a good experience
  • 34% said that they have used a chatbot – and it was useful

So, how have chatbots already been used in learning?

In the first part of the webinar Donald Clark explored a wide range of examples of how bots were impacting society – by offering counselling, friendship, money management tips and more – to anyone willing to engage with them.

His focus moved on to how bots can support learning – and what difference this might make to experienced professionals in the learning and development space and beyond.

How ready is your organisation for chatbots?

Understanding the potential of chatbots – and their fit within an organisation’s learning culture – is important for learning professionals so that they can make informed decisions about how to use them.

With that in mind, we asked participants in the webinar:

Thinking about chatbot technologies and how they might fit with your organisation, which statement best describes where you are now?

  • 20% said that neither their organisation nor their learners were ready for this
  • 45% said that their learners would love chatbots, but their organisation wasn’t yet ready to deliver them
  • 10% said that they were ready to deliver chatbots, but their learners would need support in understanding them
  • 25% said that they were ready to deliver chatbots and that their learners were ready to use them

What do organisations want from new technologies?

Our CEO, Paul McElvaney then moved on to share one aspect of Learning Pool’s own learning journey – what we have been finding out from our customers. Listening is the key part of any conversation – so here are some of the things learning and development teams in organisations in the UK and across the globe have told us they want:

  • to be more relevant to their business
  • to give their learners an online experience like they have at home
  • to support learners better while they are doing their jobs
  • to get a better return on their investment in content
  • to have more metrics so they can analyse impact and improve their provision
  • not to need a new platform or product every time they do something new

As a response to those needs – and reflecting the rise of AI-driven tools outside of the traditional learning and development toolset – Paul introduced Otto. Otto is the first chatbot of its kind designed to help learners access learning, while itself learning about their organisation’s content and information.

What’s stopping your organisation from moving ahead?

Seeing Otto demonstrated – and realising its potential across any organisation serious about learning – prompts some big questions for those in charge of applying tools to support learning. These questions will inevitably stimulate their thinking about an organisation’s readiness for the coming change in technology represented by Otto.

But what are the issues which might block the adoption of something like Otto across an organisation? We asked participants in the webinar what they thought might slow their adoption of Otto, from what they currently knew about chatbots and AI:

What’s the biggest block to applying chatbot-like technology to your organisation’s learning strategy?


13% said that even with keen learners, they couldn’t currently support this technology


3% said that they couldn’t currently see an internal application for chatbots


84% said that they would need a better understanding of the implementation & ongoing costs


No-one said that their learners wouldn’t want to interact with a bot

What questions and issues do chatbots raise for learning & development professionals?

As would be expected, something like Otto – offering a new way of accessing learning content and pushing learning into a learner’s workflow, rather than waiting for them to remember to fit it into their schedule – raises an entirely new group of questions. Anyone involved in organisational learning might not just be asking such questions – but could be involved in shaping the answers.

These questions are about organisational readiness, the nature of AI, how content should best be structured, and what this means for how organisations ensure they are compliant with legislation. Here are some of the questions posed to Donald and Paul at the close of the webinar:

  • Are we going to move to a time when we write ‘conversation’ alongside content?
  • Do you use any sentience/emotional awareness in your chatbots?
  • What would you recommend as a checklist for an organisation to evaluate if it is ‘content AI-ready’?
  • Are there any issues about data retention under the GDPR? Knowing what information people have asked might be sensitive.
  • Once something like Otto is built, is it sold off-the-shelf and re-branded for the customer?
  • How do we address the gap between those who are “bleeding edge“ and those who aspire to learning the lingo?

Get the answers to these and other questions

To hear Donald Clark and Paul McElvaney’s answers to these and other questions, to immerse yourself in the world of chatbots and to stimulate your thinking about how they can – and will – impact your own journey as a learning professional, along with the journeys of your learners, simply complete the form below for instant access to the webinar recording:

artificial intelligence
learning and development

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