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Allyson’s AI Journey #4: AI and New Ways of Working

By Learning

With my AI learning journey in full GO mode, I am hyper-aware of how AI is being introduced into our systems and new ways of working, often without corporate governance and change management. Just recently, Zoom enabled its AI assistant that now summarizes my meetings, and Google integrated AI-powered overview into my Search. AI is a colleague showing up like never before, and sometimes it appears they’re joining the meeting without an invitation! This is the new way of working and doing it alongside technology requires us to rethink our business and talent strategies.

“AI is a colleague showing up like never before, and sometimes it appears they’re joining the meeting without an invitation!”

“Ways of working” refers to the practices, processes, and methodologies employed by individuals, teams, or organizations to carry out their work effectively and achieve desired outcomes. It encompasses the strategies, tools, communication methods, collaboration approaches, and overall work culture that shape how work is executed within a specific context.

Source: University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. (n.d.). Ways of Working. Retrieved from

Been There, Done That!

Leading into 2020 and since the pandemic, businesses have adopted new collaboration software like Microsoft Teams and moved from on-premise servers to the cloud. This allows for more efficient remote communication and document sharing. To support these technological changes, informed leaders are also investing in change management, including assessing the impact of new ways of working physically and technologically on their employees. New processes and procedures are being developed, and targeted communication and training is still being delivered to drive adoption.

At CARA, we transitioned our staff to Microsoft Teams and SharePoint to allow for real-time virtual collaboration. We restructured and used team charters to create shared expectations and enable high performance despite physical distance. To smooth the new ways of working and technology adoption, we also identified change champions who evaluated how the changes would affect their teams’ ways of working and facilitated adoption.

AI and New Ways of Working: The Human Element

In talking with other business leaders, we see that AI promises a similar shakeup in our ways of working. We’re working not only alongside our colleagues and clients but interacting more with artificial agents like ChatGPT and other AI-enabled tools to get work done faster. But with any tech, distraction can creep in. I urge you to start learning more about AI today by noticing where you are enabled by technology versus taken off course.

Because we sure can’t forget the human element. New ways of working with AI requires collaboration and as it becomes integral to how we work, our teams must learn together. Here are five intentional first steps:

1. Schedule 30 minutes each workday to research how are others in your organization or profession are using AI tools.

2. Plan specific weekly or monthly discussion sessions with colleagues regarding how AI will impact your ways of working, shared goals and how to get the most out of it while minimizing risks.

3. Create an ongoing list of ways AI can benefit the work you and your team are doing.

4.Share your AI research findings and insights with your team on a regular basis.

5. Introduce a new AI tool and use it for a fun activity during a team meeting.

Without a doubt, the future of work and AI is continuing to change and expand rapidly. If you want to share how AI is changing the ways you work, or if you could use expertise on new ways of working with AI within your organization, get in touch.

To learn more about how AI is being integrated into software you’re already using, check out these resources:

5 Real Human-Generated AI Insights from MRP

By Change Management, Learning

I recently returned from a pilgrimage to Saratoga Springs, NY where Elliott Masie led fifty executives through a lab experience to explore the impact of Artificial Intelligence on learning. Because even Bard and Claude would have trouble distilling two days of highly interactive content, plus all the additional AI research I’ve been doing into one short blog, I decided to kick it old school with a good old fashioned human-generated “Top Five” list of key takeaways.

1. Meet your new co-worker

Instead of asking how AI will replace traditional L&D methods, Masie suggested we ask ourselves, “How might we combine HI (human intelligence) with AI (artificial intelligence) to optimize workplace learning?”

When ChatGPT dropped, we saw how quickly large language models could generate very specific content. Suddenly, the sheer power of generative AI was available to all who prompted it (much to the dismay of high school teachers everywhere). But (for now), in order for AI to do its thing, it requires HI to ask it the right questions, and to evaluate and leverage the output appropriately.

Put another way, AI is like a new, naïve, know-it-all teammate (but with really low empathy). We can work together successfully if we understand how to leverage each other’s strengths. Who doesn’t need performance support? And the good news appears to be that this teammate is capable of learning.

“AI is like a new, naïve, know-it-all teammate (but with really low empathy).”

2. Tell it what you want (what you really, really want)

We know that when Googling, broad questions are best in order to cast a wide net. Not so with AI. “Prompt Engineering,” the art of skillfully asking AI chatbots to produce a result, is the hottest topic in upskilling. However, this skill may be short lived. Masie predicts that future AI will include an interface that identifies how it can help you, thus obsoleting this skill almost as quickly as community colleges are scrambling to create a certification for it. “AI will go underground,” Masie says, “It will simply be integrated into every task.”

In the meantime, here is a list of what you should include to get the most out of your AI chatbot:

  • The role or point of view the AI should assume
  • The task you want to be completed
  • The audience and the context
  • The tone of the communication
  • The format of the output

It’s also good to include examples and even constraints. Unlike your significant other, AI doesn’t mind if you go on and on about your needs. And, if it’s not too meta, you can even prompt it to create a good prompt. Far out.

“Unlike your significant other, AI doesn’t mind if you go on and on about your needs.”

3. Trust but verify

More bad news about your new coworker. It hallucinates. It drifts. It’s riddled with bias. And, it may just be getting dumber over time.

Hallucination occurs when generative AI confidently presents content that is not true. When an answer isn’t evident in what it has been trained on, it… gets creative. After all, it is supposed to review and suggest answers humans may not see, right? That’s kind of its jam. Unfortunately, this tendency toward invention also makes it unreliable.

Drift occurs when large language models behave in ways inconsistent with original parameters. Theoretically, as these systems assimilate information, they should be training themselves to become more accurate. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. In fact, a new Standford study suggests that ChatGPT is becoming “dumber” with use.

Finally, Large Language Models learn from datasets of human-generated content. That means LLMs inherit every kind of bias: race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic, contextual, and linguistic, etc.

It will take time to address these challenges. In the meantime, it’s up to Human Intelligence to review and approve any content that has been sourced from AI.

“Hallucination occurs when generative AI confidently presents content that is not true.”

4. Guidance required

Because of the above, organizations are working to establish internal regulatory frameworks that address the following:

  • Staying up-to-date with relevant regulations and industry standards to avoid legal risks.
  • Implementing data privacy measures to protect sensitive information.
  • Continuously addressing biases to mitigate discrimination and unfairness.
  • Defining roles and responsibilities for AI governance, including oversight by a dedicated committee or executive.
  • Conducting regular assessments to identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies.
  • Fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation to stay current with AI advancements and challenges.

HR, Learning, and Change leaders – the keepers of organizational knowledge, employee experience, skill development, careers and even compliance – must have a seat at the table to lead the way forward to the future that includes HI + AI working in tandem.

5. Knowledge really is power

Learning and Development as a discipline has been slow to upskill in data literacy and emerging technologies. Masie suggests that embracing these skills is no longer a professional choice; it is a strategic necessity.

Data literacy enables learning experts to interpret and analyze information, providing insights to make informed decisions. Becoming conversant in the language of AI is also important, as increased fluency expands our credibility and empowers us to drive initiatives, influence organizational decisions, and craft innovative learning experiences that leverage AI.

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change every job role in every industry. The impact on the workforce is too enormous to leave to the IT department. Learning leaders that embrace and grow their knowledge will have an opportunity to influence who, what, why, when, where and how their organizations will learn in the future.

“AI has the potential to change every job role in every industry. The impact on the workforce is too enormous to leave to the IT department.”

If you’re ready to upskill your team on AI—let’s connect. We have the experienced learning and change management solutions to meet your organization where it is today, and to help you lead the way into the future.

Allyson’s AI Journey – #3

By Change Management, Communications, Learning

A wave of AI innovation is reshaping the workforce’s skill needs faster than ever. As robotics and systems automate routine work, human skills become the true currency for career success. Talent leaders know job descriptions can’t keep pace with this rapid change, leaving some employers and workers anxious. By embracing a skills-based talent strategy, companies can map skills gaps, align training and development initiatives, and empower employees to surf the AI wave rather than be swept away by it. The key is understanding which skills will complement new technologies and drive business forward. With targeted upskilling and an agile skills framework, talent leaders can lead a workforce transformation poised to harness AI’s potential. And employees? Employees must continuously expand their skills, as well as pursuing ongoing development opportunities to remain relevant and invaluable.

Where do we start? These skills start with digital literacy. The Library Association’s digital-literacy task force offers this definition: “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” [1]

Digital literacy can be developed at any age. It’s good to see resources for educators to support the digital literacy of our future employees. Did you know that Microsoft has a support feature used by educators to teach students how to search? Called “Search Coach”,[2] the tool provides context and guidance for students to ask effective questions to discover reliable sources.

New technology has always required us to develop technical skills. Depending on your job role, this could include skills such as programming, system integration or data analysis. For some jobs, it may be simply learning how to use an AI prompt to leverage the power of generative AI.

Here are two courses I’m working through to develop technical skills on using Chat GPT:

Most businesses require employees to work together, so Interpersonal and Leadership Skills will still be in high demand. The need to interact with others, lead others, and build high performing diverse teams will not go away with AI.

We’ll also need to strengthen and develop skills related to Ethics and Governance. As we leverage AI tools, we must ensure their ethical use and design. We will need to establish governance processes to ensure ethics and safety of use.

My Final Thoughts

I don’t envision AI taking on all human skills, so as we work alongside AI enabled technology, there will be a strong need to continue to build skills such as creativity and critical thinking. While AI might give us a head start, we will need to use our human competence to go beyond what AI generates for us.

So rather than be swept away by the waves of change coming at us, let us learn to ride them by developing the skills we need to direct us to the shore. With the right skills, we, as humans, can adapt, explore, and thrive in the most turbulent waters. As leaders of talent and business, we need to guide our organizations to harness this surge of AI and build skills to change, learn and grow. By empowering our people and focusing on the horizon, we can help guide our organizations through rough waters.




How to Build and Instill a Learning Culture

By Learning

Every day I am learning from, and inspired by, my colleagues at The CARA Group through daily interactions, listening to their presentations, and/or reading their articles/blogs. (I referenced the articles/blogs that most influenced me at the end of this article, and I encourage you to read them.)

Given this learning culture of which I am a part, I have always been interested in the alignment between business strategy and learning strategy and if a learning culture at the foundation of a learning strategy can strengthen and enable the overall business strategy. I will share my thoughts in this blog.

A learning strategy that fosters a learning culture which is aligned to the business strategy will support the organization’s success through stable times as well as changing times.”


Learning Culture Defined

The Center for Creative Leadership defines a learning culture this way[1]: “A learning culture is an environment that demonstrates and encourages individual and organizational learning, and where both gaining and sharing knowledge is prioritized, valued, and rewarded. It becomes part of the ecosystem of the organization.”

Organizations need to upskill and reskill their workforce for ongoing digital transformation as well as the constantly changing demands of the economic landscape. A learning culture is not just about training – that’s part of it but it’s much more than that – it’s about getting an entire organization behind learning and instilling that drive in every employee so that growth happens organically and continuously. This environment of continuous learning, along with a learning culture, must permeate throughout the business at every level so it is self-sustaining and self-perpetuating from the ground up, and agile enough to flex when needed.

How Do You Instill A Learning Culture?

Here are a few themes that come to mind when I think about how to instill a learning culture.

  • Curiosity – Encourage employees to ask “why” to get to the WIIFM. Adults need context and relevancy to have learning be meaningful and sticky and have an impact on their behaviors.
  • Business Acumen – Encourage employees to be curious about the industry or marketplace, your customers, your competition. Managers can devote time at regular team meetings for “teachable moments”.
  • Learning Agility – Encourage employees to learn from experience and provide opportunities for them to apply what they’ve learned in new situations.

A company’s learning and development department plays a key role in creating the right environment for employees to be continuous learners and for designing engaging programs, but everyone has a role in building and maintaining a learning culture that supports the business strategy.

A Few Key Players

  • The Employee – owns their growth and development – no one else is going to “do it for them!”
  • The Manager – creates an open and supportive environment so employees feel that they can ask questions and challenge the status quo/push the team to grow.
  • The Company – provides access to good resources such as training programs, stretch assignments, mentoring/coaching partnerships, experiential opportunities, etc.

Since change is everywhere and happening all the time, we need everyone in an organization to embrace agility and learning not only so they as individuals can continue to grow, but so the organization can continue to evolve at the speed of business. A learning strategy that fosters a learning culture which is aligned to the business strategy will support the organization’s success through stable times as well as changing times.

So, where did I get my inspiration?

A few years ago, Sue Deisinger shared her thoughts on the key elements for an effective organizational learning strategy and they are still 100% relevant today. Here’s a link to Sue’s original article. More recently, my colleague Allyson Carter wrote how to create an agile organizational learning strategy – well worth another read; here is the link.

A crucial component that both Sue and Allyson highlight is the importance of having your learning strategy aligned to the business strategy. ~~~~~~Once everything is nicely aligned, it will stay aligned, your employees will stay engaged, performance will remain high, and sales will always be through the roof! Of course, it’s not that easy. Alignment is critical but business strategies change and evolve with market conditions, customer demands or a global pandemic. Learning strategies (and business strategies) need to be adaptable and flexible enough to operate effectively at the speed of business.

Let us know how you’ve instilled a learning culture at your organization!

[1] [




ChatGPT and AI Tools: Tools to Use – 3 of 3

By Change Management, Learning

In the ever-evolving landscape of instructional design, harnessing the potential of AI tools has the possibility to be a game-changer because of the ways these tools can support a designer in each phase of the ADDIE model. For me, the biggest “aha” moment when exploring ChatGPT and other AI tools was realizing that they are not the first AI-powered tools available to instructional designers and learning professionals.

While ChatGPT stands out as one of the most advanced and sophisticated AI tools, you may have already encountered AI technology in your work without even realizing it. In this third article in the ChatGPT and AI tools series, I’m going to share some of the tools that I’ve been experimenting with as well as some questions to consider to determine what the right AI tool is for you and your organization.

“…AI tools can unlock new possibilities for creating impactful and engaging learning assets if used in responsible ways.”


For many learning and development professionals, it will come as no surprise that we’ve been living in the AI and machine learning world for decades. The difference that is causing the world to notice ChatGPT and AI tools now is the level of sophistication and user interfaces that are making AI generative tools more accessible to a wider population of end users instead of just the technology industry. For example, have you ever heard of or worked with one of the following tools: Vyond, Speechelo, Synthesia, or Grammarly? If you said “yes,” you have experienced AI generative technology.

With hundreds of options available, how do you choose which of the AI tools to start exploring?

I focused on four categories that can greatly assist in the design and development phase of the ADDIE model to create learning assets:

  1. Text to Speech
  2. Text Assisted Writing
  3. Graphic Visualization
  4. AI Video Generation

Key Criteria to Determine Tool Usage

What I found helpful was to create a list of key criteria to determine which tools would be best for the types of project work that I’m doing as well as my own personal growth.

The four key criteria I decided to use for the tools in this article included:

  1. Your Organization’s AI Policy – The first question to ask whether or not your organization has a policy about AI tool usage. Some organizations may or may not be interested in adopting AI technology or may have specific guidelines on what they think are the responsible uses of AI. For example, The CARA Group, Inc. recently published their policy in order to protect the business, their clients and their consultants.
  2. Ease of use – How quickly could I log into the AI tool and start creating without having to take a class, read a user manual or watch a YouTube video to learn how to utilize the tool.
  3. Cost/Affordability – Does the tool require a monthly or annual subscription and do they have a free trial? Many of these tools – especially the AI video tools – can cost hundreds of dollars for individual licenses and thousands for enterprise licenses. For me, a free trial is key in order to see the quality of the output.
  4. High-quality desired output – What is the desired output for the learning asset? Does your client need a certain file format? Does your client want to be able to update the files independently? For graphic visualizations, understanding the resolution and realism of the images was a significant deciding factor on whether to continue using the tool.

With these criteria in mind, let’s dive into the world of AI-powered Text to Speech, Text Assisted Writing, Graphic Visualizations, and AI Avatar Videos, by discussing some of the benefits and challenges they present along the way.

Text to Speech

One category of AI tools that can significantly benefit instructional designers is Text to Speech. These tools provide the ability to convert written text into spoken audio, adding a dynamic and engaging element to your learning assets. The benefits of Text to Speech tools include increased accessibility, improved learner engagement, and time-saving during content creation. However, there can be challenges such as ensuring natural-sounding voices, maintaining pronunciation accuracy, and achieving proper intonation and emphasis. Examples of tools include:

  • Google Text to Speech has been around since 2008. This is a free, effective tool for client mock-ups to give them a feel of what the text in a video or elearning will sound like without having to spend a lot of time in an AI video tool.
  • TextMagic, is a free tool with a range of 70 voices available in various languages. While the voices may sound similar to standard elearning voices, TextMagic offers a quick and cost-effective option for incorporating text-to-speech capabilities into your learning assets.
  • Speechelo, is a paid subscription and, from my experience, has some of the best natural-sounding voices. There are two versions: standard and pro. The main benefit to almost all of the AI-tools that I tried have standard versions that have watermarks and basic features. If a project requires additional languages and audio recordings with larger numbers of characters, then the pro or paid versions are a good investment.

Text Assisted Writing

Another valuable category of AI tools is Text Assisted Writing. These tools utilize AI algorithms to assist instructional designers in generating written content. They can provide suggestions, correct grammar, and spelling, and even offer ideas for creative wording. The benefits of Text Assisted Writing tools include increased productivity, improved writing quality, and reduced editing time.

In my experiments, I found the writing output generated to be fairly high quality, but the big problem is that it is not written in my own voice. However, if you’re tasked to write multiple choice test questions or text about general topics, I found these tools to be helpful.

The bigger challenge is ensuring that none of the AI text is copyrighted. I recommend doing the research to ensure as best as possible to validate the text being utilized in your learning asset and to ensure the correct citation is being done.

  • ChatGPT
  • Canva Magic Write

AI Image Generators (Graphic Visualizations)

When it comes to graphic visualizations, there are several AI image generator tools worth exploring. These tools provide benefits such as saving time and effort in graphic design, generating custom and eye-catching visuals, and facilitating creativity. However, challenges may include limitations in customization options, potential copyright concerns, and the need for a discerning eye to ensure the generated visuals align with the learning objectives.

  • Canva, a popular graphic design platform, offers Canva Magic Write, which utilizes AI to generate design suggestions based on your content. Canva Magic Write is an app that is added through the primary tool and is simple and fast. The quality has been inconsistent depending on whether the text prompts are common terms such as “safety, nurse, doctor, car, etc.’
  • DALL-E 2 is another intriguing tool that can generate unique visual assets, such as illustrations of unique concepts, by transforming longer textual descriptions into images. A more specific text prompt will produce clearer, more realistic images.
  • Midjourney is another tool that combines AI and design to create visually vibrant graphics that are even being sold as wall art products. I’m not sure this would be the most effective tool for an instructional designer creating elearning or job aids. From my research, this tool seems to be trending in the graphic design world and integrates with the Discord social platform.

AI Video Generation

Videos are a powerful medium for instructional designers and eLearning. There are a plethora of AI tools that can assist in creating videos from text such as and These types of AI generated videos also have the capability of adding AI-powered voice over which potentially eliminates the need for a professional voiceover depending on the project and overall voice quality desired.

Over a year ago, I was introduced to for a safety management class where we created micro videos to introduce each section of the two-day course. Instead of filming a newscaster for our television news show, we utilized the AI generated avatar videos. Synthesia enables the creation of videos by combining AI-generated avatars with spoken text. The output is an .mp4 file that can be easily inserted into your eLearning or instructor-led course. The benefit of is that there is a direct integration feature with Articulate 360. The avatars are improving each month with new releases from the company.

The challenge is if a client wants to edit the videos later and does not know how to use Synthesia. The files can be edited in any type of video editor such as Adobe Premiere or Canva, but the avatars cannot be changed outside of the app.

Be curious or be fearful?

In this final article of the series on my exploration of Chat GPT and AI tools from an instructional designer’s perspective, my question to you is will you be curious or fearful?

By exploring the diverse range of AI tools available, I’ve experienced a glimpse of what AI technology can do for an instructional designer. I believe AI tools can unlock new possibilities for creating impactful and engaging learning assets if used in responsible ways. Remember to consider your organization’s AI policy, ease of use, cost, and the desired output when selecting the right AI tools for your specific needs. Embracing AI-powered tools can enhance your instructional design process, streamline content creation, and ultimately elevate the learning experience for your audience.


people at work, focused on transforming their technology stack.

Lessons Learned from an ERP Implementation

By Change Management, Communications, Learning

Most organizations today are undergoing digital transformation to include system implementations to enable their business and workforce performance. Successful implementations require focused and coordinated effort to ensure ROI. Having recently completed an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software) implementation at our organization, we collected lessons learned to share with you.

Last fall, we went live with our ERP. The implementation was both a challenging and rewarding 16-month journey. Along with the software implementation, we also implemented other organizational initiatives such as new business processes, new ways of working and organizational structural changes. These initiatives gave us firsthand experience with change saturation and change collision. Recognizing this reality, we knew to win around it required focused organizational change management and learning strategies and tactics to drive the adoption needed to meet customer expectations and drive business success.

“Throughout the implementation, we continually refined our requirements to align with the organization’s capacity for change.”

Nine months post go live, I’ve had a little bit of time to look back and document my lessons learned to share with those also navigating change.

  1. Strategically prioritize change initiatives and ensure everyone in the organization’s goals are aligned to drive adoption.

The ERP implementation was one of several initiatives for the company. As part of our performance management process, we ensured every individual had a goal aligned to the implementation’s success. This alignment allowed for individual accountability, better coordination and minimized conflicting efforts.

  1. Identify your organization’s skillsets and skill gaps. Bring in consulting expertise to bridge the gap.

We formed an internal team consisting of our system admin, subject matter experts, and leadership stakeholders. However, we also engaged with three experts to enable success.

  • The first was an implementation partner that guided us through the ERP implementation process. They educated us on the system’s capabilities and helped us redefine our processes.
  • The second was a CARA OCM Strategist who collaborated with the ERP team to create a change roadmap to bring us through design, deployment and destination.
  • The third was a CARA Learning consultant with expertise in technical writing, information architecture and the skills to design and develop a SharePoint site for organizing and hosting our training and performance support content. The ‘How CARA Works’ SharePoint site enables us to provide content and training around new processes and provides on demand help in their moment of need. We collaborated to create assets such as tutorial videos and how-to documentation. This site is now the centralized location for all our processes, procedures and training and enables us to easily make updates aligned with our continuous improvement post implementation.
  1. Pull together a group of super users to be your change champion network.

We were changing so many things for so many different people and needed representation from all the teams to test, sign off, and serve as escalation points as well as trainers. We brought the change champion network together before deployment and they invested in and took ownership of the change. They knew their teams and understood what they needed to hear from the implementation team for things to really click. Their input allowed us to address resistance early on and make adjustments to processes, training and communication as necessary. The super users also became fluent in the new system language and they continue to operate as their teams’ advocates to this day.

  1. Plan and prioritize communication and training.

Post Covid, we became a remote first organization which required us to rethink our approaches to communication and training. Using the change champion network as a sounding board we tested our plans and adjusted to ensure we met each user need. We leveraged existing touchpoints and meetings for communication along with clarified the cadence and location of where users could find communication and provide input.

  1. Define standard practices instead of managing to the exceptions.

We discovered many one-off processes that lacked standardization, hindering employee training and overall company growth. As a conscious decision, we converted disparate processes into standard practices that worked for 95% of situations. The remaining exceptions were addressed post-deployment.

  1. Refine your requirements to align to address change saturation.

Throughout the implementation, we continually refined our requirements to align with the organization’s capacity for change. We focused on delivering a minimum viable product and made the decision to phase in additional features over time, considering the teams’ ability to absorb and adapt to the changes.

  1. Acknowledge interdependency and transparency of data for better teamwork and more data-driven decision making.

We had several barriers across departments where one team had no idea what another team was doing to make their wishes become a reality. Our new system has spread the ownership for outputs across the company, and with this enhanced teamwork, fostered empathy for different responsibilities, and enabled real-time access to valuable data, empowering the team to make informed decisions and drive daily actions.

An ERP implementation journey can be a lengthy and challenging. However, we take pride in the valuable lessons learned and hope they will assist you as you consider or embark on your own implementation. Get in touch to learn more how we can provide the expertise you need to manage major shifts and changes within your organization.

Allyson’s AI Journey – #2

By Change Management, Communications, Learning

Welcome to my second blog about my AI Journey. I prompted ChatGPT to help me with a definition for Artificial Intelligence:

“AI is the technology that makes computers smart and capable of doing tasks that normally require human intelligence.”

I like this simple definition, however, I believe that, as humans, we will still be required to develop our own intelligence to operate in an AI enabled world.

Being a Gen Xer, I had the benefit of entering my career just as computers were becoming ubiquitous in the workplace. During my initial job interview, I assured my first employer of my proficiency in WordPerfect. Thanks to a crash course I received a week before my start date from a friend, I acquired sufficient knowledge to complete my job tasks.

Following that, I had the benefit of working for an organization which invested in computer training for its employees. In classes of 30, we learned how to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations using the earliest versions of the Microsoft software.

Early AI Example

Do any of you remember Microsoft Clippy? Clippy was an example of AI, an animated character that gave the user help with Microsoft Office applications. It used what in AI is called NLP (Natural Language Processing) to help the user. In simple terms, NLP is a field of AI that helps humans interact with the machine. To learn about NLP click here [1]or ask ChatGPT. While not everyone loved Clippy, it was an early attempt at integrating AI into user interaction with the computer.

Looking Ahead

Today, as organizations embrace or determine how more advanced AI will alter or disrupt their businesses, talent and learning leaders are partnering to determine how to build the AI competence of their current and future workforce. That competence building starts with our own learning and development.

“You have to learn to like to learn!” Allyson’s 6th grade science teacher, Mr. Martin

Thanks to my sixth-grade teacher, I learned that to keep up in our ever-changing world, we would need to keep learning. More importantly, he helped develop his students’ love for learning. As I’ve been on my AI learning and development journey, it’s becoming readily apparent that to be able to adapt to the rapid pace of change, the ability to be a continuous learner will be a necessity.

Here is a proposed learning journey for building your AI Competence.

  1. Start with your WHY
    1. Why do YOU want to learn more about Artificial Intelligence?
    2. What is motivating you to learn?
  2. Get curious and build AI fluency
    1. There are a lot of acronyms and terms to learn. Start with AI, NLP and Generative AI.
    2. Prompt ChatGPT or Bard to help you learn. One prompt I used was, “Act as a novice in the area of Artificial intelligence and create a 10 questions quiz on the top terms I should learn.”
  3. See what the experts are saying
    1. There are many newsletters, Ted Talks, blogs, webinars, and events out there. Here are a few of the I am currently reading.
      1. TLDR: daily newsletter: AI, ML, and Data Science in 5 Min[2]
      2. Artificial Intelligence newsletter by Andriy Burkov [3]
      3. CARA’s blog series by Laura Antos “ChatGPT and AI Tools: An Instructional Designer’s Exploration Featuring the Why, Lessons Learned, and Tools to Use – 1 of 3”
      4. CARA’s blog series by Laura Antos “ChatGPT and AI Tools: Lessons Learned from My Exploration – 2 of 3”
  4. Experiment
    1. Use your own devices if your company hasn’t allowed it, and experiment with the tools available. Have you downloaded ChatGPT on your iPhone or are using Bard or Bing?
  5. Connect with others on a learning journey
    1. Learning leaders know that power of cohort and learning communities. Join or start your own to power your AI learning journey.

We are in for more disruption to our ways of working and machines can be a friend or foe, but you won’t know if you don’t learn more.

More to come as I continue my learning journey…

[1] Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science,,

[2] TLDR AI Newsletter,

[3] AI Newsletter, Andriy Burkov, LinkedIn

ChatGPT and AI Tools: Lessons Learned from My Exploration – 2 of 3

By Learning

Are you an instructional designer looking to transform your creative process and maximize your efficiency? Discover how ChatGPT and other AI tools can take your instructional design to new levels. This is the second article in a series called, “ChatGPT and AI Tools: An Instructional Designer’s Exploration Featuring the Why, Lessons Learned, and Tools to Use.”

In the first article, we examined the reasons why an instructional designer may want to explore ChatGPT and other AI tools. To recap, first, they serve as exceptional brainstorming tools by swiftly generating a plethora of ideas and suggestions when faced with a blank canvas. Additionally, AI tools like ChatGPT can analyze content, enabling you to effortlessly create various learning assets such as course outlines, video scripts, case study scenarios, and reflection questions. Furthermore, these tools can aid in the creation of innovative visuals for your slides and participant materials, though results may vary depending on the tool. They can also be utilized for proofreading, editing, and rewording content, saving an instructional designer valuable time and effort. Ultimately, leveraging ChatGPT and other AI tools can enhance your productivity, offer fresh perspectives, and open doors to innovative possibilities you may not have considered before.

Now that you know some of the reasons or potential benefits to utilizing ChatGPT and AI tools, are you ready to hear some of my valuable lessons learned during my exploration? Diving into the ChatGPT and AI tool world requires experimentation to get the most effective results. Here are just a few of my lessons learned to develop even more engaging and creative learning assets.

Lesson #1: Utilizing specific, detailed prompts is critical.

It is essential to provide specific, detailed prompts. The quality of the generated responses is solely based on the quality of the text prompts the tool is provided.

ChatGPT is one of the largest and most advanced models of its kind. ChatGPT runs off of algorithms and it does not have ideas of its own or emotions. It only knows what information it is fed. There are two different types of ways to think about exploring with ChatGPT:

  1. Use the tool like an internet search similar to Google where you ask it to find a specific set of information.
  2. Use it to create or generate something new like your first draft of a video script, images for an eLearning course or presentation, etc.

Lesson #2: Shift your mindset from internet search to “thought partner”.

After using ChatGPT for several months, I’ve learned that shifting your mind from Google or internet browser search to having a conversation with a thought partner to bounce ideas off of generated better results. I design many courses about giving and receiving feedback, but who knew that I would have to provide ChatGPT with feedback on its performance to get more accurate results.

An example of this is when I was researching tips for the onboarding of new managers into an organization. ChatGPT would provide a list of tips or facts and I would type in or highlight the specific results that made sense and provided feedback on what I wanted to explore further or drilldown into more.

Lesson #3: Provide value through first drafts and new ideas.

It’s also important to understand the value AI tools provide for instructional designers. These tools can go from a blank page to a list of ideas and suggestions within minutes, making the ideation process much more manageable. However, most if not all, of the results generated in my experiments have needed to be slightly modified. Why? This leads us to lesson #4.

Lesson #4: Suggests ideas that do not align with your audience.

One key caveat is that ChatGPT and other AI tools run off math and algorithms. These tools do not have the relationships you have with your client or team and they don’t know the course or program audience like a human does unless you provide information about the audience. While the scripts and learning scenarios generated by these tools can be great to use as a base, they still need refinement for your clients and their organizational needs.

Lesson #5: Dealing with people’s reactions.

Lastly, not all clients, friends, or colleagues may be sold on or be ready to embrace the value of AI technology. It’s important to be patient and focus on the benefits that these tools can offer. If you believe in AI technology and want to explore this new world for your organization, consider sharing success stories and case studies from other organizations that have successfully integrated AI tools into their training programs, and highlight the specific ways in which these tools can benefit business goals and objectives.

The most important lesson learned

As you delve into the world of ChatGPT and AI tools, remember that shifting your mindset is paramount to their effective utilization. Conducting small-scale experiments or piloting projects to test the effectiveness of the AI tools in meeting your specific needs is crucial in the overall development of your learning programs. While these tools offer a wealth of ideas, it is essential to refine them to align with your audience and organizational requirements. Additionally, navigating the reactions of others and determining if your organization’s culture is ready to implement or accept AI tools should be discussed ahead of time. By incorporating these lessons, instructional designers can ensure they are ready to leverage ChatGPT and AI tools in creating impactful and tailored development programs within the corporate learning context.

Discover which of the game-changing AI tools that were utilized during my exploration process in our upcoming final article and see a sample of my results. After reading the next article, you just might say goodbye to traditional approaches and embrace the future of instructional design with cutting-edge AI tools.


ChatGPT and AI Tools: An Instructional Designer’s Exploration Featuring the Why, Lessons Learned, and Tools to Use – 1 of 3

By Learning

How many times a day do you see or hear something about ChatGPT or Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools? For me, on one hand, it seems like the world of AI has been unleashed with the rolling out of ChatGPT in November 2022. I was at a birthday party recently and friends were discussing how ChatGPT is taking over the world. There were a mix of opinions on what they thought AI tools could do for their industry, yet most of them had not tried ChatGPT or any other AI tool.

On the other hand, my curiosity has been increasing over the last several months about what AI tools can do for me as an experienced learning professional and instructional designer. I must admit there have been moments of being shocked and surprised at the results. I decided to devote some time each week to exploring and learning about the world of AI and it’s been quite fascinating.

In this series of articles, we’ll explore why an instructional designer might use ChatGPT or other AI tools, share some of my lessons learned to for more effective results, and provide some insights from my personal exploration of specific AI Tools.

Why Use ChatGPT or Other AI tools?

  1. Great brainstorming tool

One of the primary benefits of using ChatGPT and other AI tools is that they can be great brainstorming tools to help you generate ideas quickly. When you’re faced with a blank sheet of paper, it can be challenging to know where to start. However, with ChatGPT, you can provide it with some prompts or questions, and it will generate a list of ideas and suggestions within minutes.

I was researching a course on time management. I could have gone to Google and asked similar questions to what I asked ChatGPT, but let me show you the difference of what an AI tool can do for instructional designers.

My ChatGPT time management prompts in order:

  • What are 10 tips for managing time at work?
  • Tip number 5 from above mentions time management tools. What are some examples of time management tools?
  • What’s the number one time waster at work?
  • How do you know if you’re wasting time?
  • Write a 60-second video script on how to manage time and be more productive at work using the information from above.

The key difference is not only can you ask ChatGPT to list off topics, the tool allows for drilling down on a particular result and, as the conversation continues, ChatGPT is applying the logic from the conversation to the next question.

  1. Paragraph analysis of content to create different types of learning assets.

In addition to ideation, AI tools like ChatGPT can also help you create different types of learning assets. For example, it can analyze a paragraph of content and generate a high-level course outline with learning objectives, a paragraph description of a course or suggested modules, the first draft of a script for an eLearning or explainer video, scenarios or role plays for case studies, or reflection questions for blended learning.

One of my experiments was taking a page of text from a participant guide from a recent course on safety management. I asked ChatGPT to think like a “corporate learning instructional designer and to write three multiple choice quiz questions based on the participant guide text.” I was surprised to see how quickly three multiple choice questions were generated and the accuracy of the questions compared to the questions I had personally developed for the course.

3. Innovative visuals for slides and participant materials.

Another benefit of AI tools is that they can be used to create innovative visuals for your slides and participant materials. For example, Canva has a “Magic Write” function that allows you to type in a description of what you want in an image, select whether you want a drawing, cartoon, or photo, and then it creates four choices per search. An example of the “Magic Write” function was when I was creating a slide to depict the patient satisfaction process. I wanted a particular scene with a home healthcare clinician knocking on the door and then greeting the patient. With just a few words of text, “Magic Write” generated over 16 images for me to select from and I could have continued generating images with different prompts.

So far, the AI graphic generator tools have been very hit or miss for me. For example, I wanted an image for a leadership course of a male hurdle jumper who misses the hurdle and one where they knock down the hurdle. Most of the images generated had an arm missing or part of the hurdle missing or the image had strange angles that did not look realistic.

  1. Proofread, edit, or reword content.

AI tools can also be used for editing or rewording content. ChatGPT can quickly analyze and provide initial responses and content that can be edited for your specific audience, saving you time in the process.

  1. Time-saver.

The bottom-line is that ChatGPT and other AI tools can save time and provide new, innovative ideas that you may not have generated on your own.

Ready to explore ChatGPT and other AI tools?

According to, “as of March 2023, ChatGPT crossed 1 billion users”. Yes, over one billion people have tried ChatGPT and are taking steps into this new world of AI. ChatGPT and AI tools are powerful resources that can greatly enhance your instructional design work and help you create more effective development programs. From generating new ideas and content to providing real-time feedback and support, these tools offer a range of benefits that can improve the overall learning experience for employees and leaders alike.

Curious about what lessons were learned during my exploration of ChatGPT and specific AI Tools? Stay tuned for the second article in this series which will focus on five valuable lessons learned to help produce more effective results with your AI Tools.


Leveling Up Your Consulting Skills with Emotional Intelligence

By Change Management, Communications, Learning

In my first blog, “Consulting Skills For The Workforce of the Future”, I shared what it takes to become an exceptional consultant – the ability to perform and deliver results as well as more advanced soft skills that allow you to become connected and invaluable, such as executive influence, strategic agility, and political savviness.

Today, I will share another skill which is critical in “Leveling Up” as a consultant. We know that the ability to drive business success and build long-term relationships requires logical and structured thinking. The consultants who pay close attention to the details, immerse themselves into the fabric of the client organization, and are savvy enough to stay clear of business landmines? Those of us on the hiring side know that these are the most valuable consultants of them all.

The consultants who pay close attention to the details, immerse themselves into the fabric of the client organization, and are savvy enough to stay clear of business landmines? Those of us on the hiring side know that these are the most valuable consultants of them all. “


So, Now What… How do you LEVEL UP as a Consultant?

Do you want just a “Thank you” when you finish a project? Hopefully you want more than that! You should desire a customer who is ferociously finding ways to continue partnering with you because you have become invaluable to their organization. Consultants who are truly “worth their salt” look back on each consulting engagement and ask themselves and their customers “What could I have done differently to improve that experience or outcome?” This should happen even when the engagement is a success, as self-awareness helps us make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively.

Leveling up as a consultant requires a high degree of Emotional Intelligence (EI) – the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s emotions as well as the emotions of others, in order to build and maintain positive relationships. It also includes being able to think clearly and collaborate to solve problems. [1]

Remaining flexible in response to changing circumstances is the “holy grail” in consulting.”

Emotional intelligence provides a level of empathy to place the consultant in the customer’s shoes, so-to-speak. They will understand the perspectives, needs, as well as concerns of the customer. Being empathetic can help to build and stabilize relationships because it builds trust and rapport. Adjusting their approach based on the needs and requirements of the client is the key of understanding and meeting the customer where they are! Remaining flexible in response to changing circumstances is the “holy grail” in consulting.

Priorities as employers continue to evolve and hiring or promoting based on experience and skills are not enough. With recent economic conditions, it’s important to understand the importance of emotions at work. EI is important across all aspects of work, especially in roles requiring interaction and collaboration – which is at the core of what consultants do!

A person with high EI is more likely to:[2]

  • Name and express their feelings and connect to their emotions, to be able to understand and manage their responses to stimuli and events. They can identify root causes rather than ineffectively trying to deal with symptoms or results. They are self-aware, openly expressive, and healthily assertive.
  • Know what they want and make plans to achieve their goals. They have a better understanding of what drives them. They are more likely to understand what gives them pleasure and why. This means they are more likely to identify their values and know their purpose in life.
  • Remain calm in challenging situations. By labeling their feelings and recognizing their emotions, people with high EI can learn to manage their feelings instead of allowing their emotions to hijack their thoughts. This can help them remain calm while others are losing their heads.

So, where are you on the emotional intelligence scale? The following behaviors will help aid you in the journey to highly become emotionally intelligent:

  • Practice self-awareness: Pay attention to your own emotions and try to identify what triggers them. Journaling or reflection of day-to-day experiences is a way to begin capturing your emotions.
  • Learn to manage your emotions: Once you become more aware of your emotions, you can learn to manage them in a healthy way. Practice deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation.
  • Develop empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of others. Practice active listening, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and compassion.
  • Build stronger relationships: Emotional intelligence is also about building strong relationships with others. Be open and honest in your communication, showing appreciation and gratitude, and develop trust.
  • Seek feedback: Ask trusted friends or colleagues for feedback on your behavior. This can help you identify areas for improvement and develop a better understanding of how you come across to others.


[2] Forbes, “Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?”, December 2022