It is about time that C-level executives start thinking about eLearning and artificial intelligence, Forbes’ writer, Steve Olenski writes. Referring to statistics showing how much money and effort that goes into corporate learning and training, the numbers are shocking.

According to Olenski’s stats from a recently released article, corporate training spending has grown to $70bn in the United States. Excluding financial factors, 76% of employees deem opportunities of career growth as the motivator, and 87% of millennials deem career growth and opportunities as very important.

68% of workers express that training and development is the most important workplace policy, whereas 84% of global executives ranked employee learning as important/very important.

Olenski writes that every dollar invested in online training results in a $30 increase in productivity and that companies who apply e-learning technology achieve and 18% boost in employee engagement.

He explains how the above proves that there is no shortage of stats and research that prove the benefits of e-Learning, referring to Rob Marvin’s piece for  PC Magazine, saying: “… predictive analytics is not like a crystal ball or Biff Tannen’s sports almanac from Back to the Future 2. The algorithms and models can’t tell your business beyond the shadow of a doubt that its next product will be a billion-dollar winner or that the market is about to tank. Data is still a means to make an educated guess; we’re simply a lot better educated than we used to be.”

This emphasise the importance of still keeping humans at the forefront of this, not allowing artificial intelligence to take over the wheel completely. “I cannot stress how vitally important it is for marketers to never rely solely on a machine”, Olenski writes.

Olenski also refers to an interview conducted with Jim Walker of Zoomi, a Doctorate in Workplace Learning from Wharton, where they talk about why AI is key for learning, and why it provides more benefits than traditional training.

Listing all the benefits of AI, such as efficiency, accuracy, deep personalisation and abilities to easily identify places for improvement, Walker puts this in perspective of learning within a large organisation with 100,000 employees.

A company like this could simply not maintain a staff to individually train all of its employees and give them a consistent experience. “Computer-based training, where the content is delivered electronically rather than in-person, has given training consistency at scale, but in doing so, the responsiveness and adaptability of the instructor was lost” Walker says.

He believes that by implementing AI, the intelligence and flexibility of an in-person instructor have been brought back, while also keeping the scalability and consistency of the computer-based delivery.

Walker believes that e-Learning is more beneficial than face-to-face training because it gives you a consistent quality of delivery and the ability to gather large amounts of data about the learners at the same time.

“With eLearning, you can be confident of exactly what experience your trainees are getting, you can make like for like inferences about how well that product is performing in the workplace, and you can learn about how employees are learning by capturing their behavior, cognition, engagement and performance and using AI to analyse this data”, Walker says.

This article was first published at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2017/02/06/why-c-levels-need-to-think-about-e-learning-and-artificial-intelligence/2/#10af4a441e91