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The Times of AI: How Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionizing eLearning

Imagine you are a learning designer who wants to create an interactive eLearning course with text, images, videos, and audio. While authoring tools like Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline 360 are commonly used to produce interactive content, you may be surprised to learn that AI can go beyond your expectations. Let’s see how AI plays its roles in the following parts:

1. Content

Content can be generated using ChatGPT, which includes editing and proofreading features that eliminate glaring grammar mistakes. By utilizing it, you can produce various types of content for your eLearning course, including introductions, objectives, main content topics, quizzes, assignments, and instructions. If you have a thought or spark of an idea, you can simply collaborate with AI to create the content. Some editing and paraphrasing tools like QuillBot and Grammarly would be alternative options to ChatGPT.

Using these AI tools on your text is convenient but there are some strings attached. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but those seemingly perfect sentences are missing some human touch. Don’t be lured by short-term convenience and let our language lose its warmth. Remember, you are in control of the machine, not the other way around.

2. Image

When it comes to images, you can use a tool like Midjourney to create custom drawings that fit your content perfectly. Alternatively, you can find stock images online from sites like Freepik, Flaticon, Shutterstock, or Pexels and Pixabay (which offer some copyrighted free images).

3. Video

Creating videos for eLearning used to be a time-consuming process involving a studio, recording equipment and a lot of editing. But with AI, things have become much easier. For instance, Synthesia can help you create videos in less than 15 minutes as long as your content is ready. Simply select your presenter and the slides, and the tool will do the rest.

In addition to Synthesia, there are other video-making tools available, such as Powtoon, Doodly, Prezi, and Videoscribe if you do not want to show the presenter. Unlike Adobe After Effects or Premiere Pro, these tools don’t require extensive technical skills or background. Anyone can pick them up quickly.

4. Audio

Text-to-speech technology is not new to learning designers, but the machine’s monotonous tone can be demotivating. With advancements in AI technology, companies like Murf AI now offer voice-over services that can make your script sound more engaging.

It’s worth noting that there are many other AI technologies on the market that can produce images, videos, audios, and text. The ones mentioned in this article are just based on my personal experiences as a learning designer. Do explore more.

As you read up to this point, you may be wondering which roles will be replaced by AI. In a typical eLearning ecosystem, we have roles such as Content Writer, Subject Matter Expert, Instructional Designer, Graphic Designer, Animator, Video Producer, Assessment Specialist and Proofreader & Editor. However, in an AI-assisted learning ecosystem, we may need the following roles.

Here are some key insights about the new roles in the ecosystem, in a nutshell.

1. Content Writer to AI Content Strategist

Have you ever met someone who is full of ideas and can express themselves well verbally, but struggles with writing? AI-assisted tools can be extremely helpful for people in this group, as they can assist with tasks such as grammar checking and suggesting alternative phrasing.

In the eLearning industry, content creation is crucial. Before producing any learning material, we need to have content. This content typically originates in the mind of the creator – a spark of thought or an idea – which in the world of AI is referred to as a “prompt.” While AI can assist with content creation, humans still play a vital role in generating these prompts.

An AI Content Strategist’s main task is to create personalized learning content and assessments using AI. However, the human role in strategizing content to meet learners’ needs is essential and cannot be fully replaced by AI. It’s important to recognize the limitations of AI and the value of human creativity and context in the content creation process. Hence, use AI wisely and let it be a valuable virtual working partner for you.

2. Subject Matter Expert will still be Subject Matter Expert

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) possess unique knowledge, skills, and experience in their area of expertise. Thus, content validation and verification will still be coming from a person (instead of a machine) who can ensure the content is accurate, relevant and meets the needs of the intended audience. SMEs play a crucial role in ensuring that the content developed is of high quality so that the output is not a case of ‘garbage in, garbage out’.

3. Instructional Designer to Learning Experience Designer

Learning can happen anywhere and anytime, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. That’s why we not only focus on the overall instructional design of a course program, but we also need to be more creative in creating engaging and effective learning experiences for different groups of learners. “Creativity” is particularly important here, as machines can only work within the data being fed to them. To go above and beyond, humans are still the source of creativity.

The emergence of AI technology has lightened the burden of human work and allowed us to spend more time on thinking, creating, and innovating, rather than pushing ourselves to challenge our own limits against machines. Hence, we should not view the emergence of AI as a threat. On the contrary, communicating and collaborating effectively with machines is a new skill to be learned for humans to achieve greater precision and efficiency.

4. Combination of different roles to one single position of Multimedia Specialist

Multimedia Specialist requires a comprehensive knowledge and diverse skillset in multimedia production, from creating static images, designs to editing videos and animations. It’s no longer subdivided into the individual roles of graphic designer, videographer, video editor or animator. The position is very interesting and demanding as in addition to the artistic and technical skills, the specialist should possess a high level of adaptability and be quick to learn new technologies.

Conclusion

With the rapid pace of technological advancements, staying up-to-date with the latest tools and software is crucial for creating innovative and effective content in the eLearning industry. Being alert and proactive in adopting new technologies will allow us to remain competitive and relevant in the field. The ability to learn, unlearn and relearn is one of the most important skills. Not only for specific revolutionary roles that have been mentioned in the article, but for every one of us.

Lay Kee Ch'ng
Lay Kee Ch'ng
Lay Kee is an accomplished Digital Learning Designer, eLearning Researcher, and registered Professional Technologist with the Malaysia Board of Technologists (MBOT). With extensive experience in creating and producing digital instructional learning materials for higher education institutions and business enterprises, she has established herself as a highly skilled and knowledgeable practitioner in the eLearning industry. Lay Kee’s research and writing interests are focused on the areas of digital learning, educational technology, and instructional design, and she is committed to staying at the forefront of the industry through continuous professional development and ongoing engagement with the latest research and best practices.

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