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Thought Leader Q&A: Kelly Lake



Delving Into AI-Driven Virtual Reality And The Future Of Learning And Performance Ecosystems

Kelly Lake is the Chief Strategy Officer for EI, a provider of innovative workforce learning solutions. As a respected thought leader in the learning and performance industry, she brings 30 years of global experience in learning and performance strategy, workforce enablement, learning and performance ecosystems, global performance transformation, immersive learning, and performance innovation. She has a successful track record of creating learning strategies and maximizing ROI for Fortune 1000 companies, resulting in performance and business optimization to enhance client and organizational business success. Today, she speaks with us about Extended Reality (XR) myths, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in workforce development, and making a solid business case for immersive learning.

What’s the first step that organizations can take to plan a successful immersive learning strategy? Can you share any tips to make a strong business case for it?

As organizations look to enhance their learning and performance strategic plans, understanding how to augment an existing learning strategy to include immersive learning can be challenging. A clear understanding of what has worked well and what has not will provide valuable insight as to how to move forward. Knowing what types of immersive learning an organization’s learner will adapt to will help in creating a targeted roadmap. Learning leaders need to have a good understanding of immersive learning to educate internal stakeholders, learners, and IT. Building a partnership with IT enables synergy to address technical requirements and needed technology during the planning stage of the strategy. Also, it allows for a business plan and technological readiness, including cost and project implementation and time frames. Leaders must ensure they are looking at scalability and sustainability, focusing on business models, growth, employees, and culture. If organizations are not sure where to start with an immersive learning strategy, they should partner with a learning vendor who can help expedite their success.

In your opinion, what is the most common myth surrounding Extended Reality that prevents organizations from leveraging it in their L&D strategies?

Most organizations may view Extended Realities as hard to implement, not knowing where to start. Additionally, the expense is an unknown factor causing resistance from stakeholders. Depending on where you are in the Extended Realities life cycle, there are easy starting points that will provide a positive first experience that will yield a measurable return on performance and create more awareness, ease of implementation, and usage within an organization. Starting with an Augmented Reality (AR) project is a very impactful first step that will not have a high-cost impact. This will provide visibility within an organization, create champions within business units, and provide the initial step into Extended Reality.

What do you think is the most overlooked practical application for AI in workforce development today?

A good number of global organizations today are already utilizing AI as some part of their operations—particularly in business analytics. An area that is growing gradually is AI in skill building utilizing role-playing, AI skills, mentoring, and coaching platforms. Companies are experimenting but are cautious to implement. This is due in part to the rapid change in technology and the need by learning leaders to produce measurable learning results in a short period of time. AI is still an unknown, and organizations are looking for proven methodologies to ensure their workforce is skilled and proficient, therefore enhancing productivity. By leveraging AI for skill building, organizations can introduce avatars to increase interactivity, resulting in cognitive retention from scenarios-based learning.

What is one of your standout eLearning client success stories?

EI works with an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation to provide state-of-the-art immersive learning experiences. In response to our customer’s growing trend of teams working from remote locations, EI designed an innovative Learning Virtual Tour to help our customer’s employees stay connected and engaged. This virtual tour allows employees to explore the company stores through immersive Virtual Reality (VR), providing a unique experience that fosters a sense of community and belonging, regardless of physical location. The opening scene in the video serves as an introduction to the store, setting the stage for the learners to delve deeper into the physical space.

A store layout map is provided to help learners understand the physical layout of the stores. Once familiarized with the layout, learners can embark on the store tour by following the Golden Path, engaging with learning objects and hot spots.

By proactively offering this opportunity, our customer can demonstrate its commitment to employee engagement and recognizes the importance of keeping employees connected to the company culture. The Learning Virtual Tour is a prime example of how innovative solutions can help bridge the gap between global employees and physical workplaces.

Is there a recent project, product launch, or another initiative you would like our readers to know about?

EI is working with one of the largest telecommunications clients on an immersive VR learning experience for their global customer service agents. This immersive learning solution provides realistic VR experiences where learners practice customer service in a realistic environment and examine 3D modeling of equipment. This is all done within various virtually rendered home scenarios of the customer. Additionally, we created avatars that are embedded in a 360-degree VR environment. This solution is created with a VR exploring mode, quick access mode and practice mode. The practice mode is designed for the learners to have interactive dialogues with 3D life-like avatars. The learning journey is designed to encompass different customer personas with branching scenarios, videos, 3D animations, VR hot spots, floor plans, and interactive learning objects. The VR tour is browser-based, enabling quick access to support the successful learning journey for the learners.

What do you think the future holds for the evolution of the learning and performance ecosystem? Any trends we should be on the lookout for?

The evolution of the modern workforce has provided a roadmap of trends that organizations are adapting to in order to meet business goals and improve employee performance. The advancement of AI and Extended Realities will continue to provide options for business optimization, sustainability, and standardization. We will continue to see advancements in the metaverse, increased automation, new standards for AI, real-time and embedded AI, advancements in AI for operations (AIOps platforms), the rise of distributed cloud environments, machine vision, language processing, speech and gesture recognition, VR innovations with Mixed Reality (MR) headsets, and AR technology with true Augmented Reality glasses. Additionally, the rise of immersive platforms and AI-powered VR experiences will be interesting for organizations to see how emerging technologies can innovate learning and performance ecosystems.

Wrapping Up

We’d like to extend our gratitude to Kelly for participating in our Q&A and sharing her expertise with us. To learn more, attend an exclusive webinar with Kelly Lake in collaboration with Brandon Hall on the topic of The Future of Work – Immersive Learning Innovation.



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