The future of corporate learning and development (L&D) is being profoundly reshaped by the progress we are witnessing in artificial intelligence (AI). The increasing availability of new technologies and tools is causing L&D leaders and their teams to rethink their strategy and processes, and even their team structure. The resulting shift, already gaining momentum, will soon move us toward a future where learning experiences are deeply personal, interactive, and contextually rich.

The technological advancements at the forefront of this revolution:

  • Allow us to create high-quality content faster and at a fraction of the cost previously experienced.
  • Provide us with a range of new modalities of delivery, such as chat interfaces, as well as immersive and experiential simulations and games.
  • Enable us to transform learning and training more and more into a journey uniquely tailored to each individual's learning path, strengths, weaknesses, and confidence levels.

We are already seeing signs of the immediate future—one where AI will adapt not only content but the entire learner experience, on-the-fly and aligned with the needs and requirements of the learner at a specific moment of need.

Conversational AI—our personal tutors for everything

At the center of this revolution are so-called “chatbots.” These conversational AI tools utilize a mixture of pre-programmed structures, underpinned with Large Language Model (LLM) capabilities. They are poised to transform all forms of corporate learning and performance support, providing assistance in the moment of need.

We will see these always-accessible tools replace the old, cumbersome “help” function in programs and apps, answering questions, and surfacing information “intelligently.”

However, conversational AI tools will be capable of going far beyond immediate support: Chat tools may, for example, facilitate dynamic, Socratic-style dialogues to aid understanding and learning. Functioning as personal tutors, they will also be able to use approaches ranging from simple interactions, such as basic explanations and Q&A, to facilitated debates on real-life scenarios.

This variety of approaches can further support effective learning and training through contextual practice, mimicking real-life situations and challenges aligned with the contexts learners are likely to find themselves in when requiring the skills being practiced.

In the longer term, AI-powered personal tutors can aid learners through recall practice, spaced repetition, and even interleaving of topics—after all, similar to human personal tutors, these systems will have a good “understanding” of a learner’s journey, previous progress, and long-term goals. What’s more, they don’t forget, provided they have access to previous lessons or interactions. Furthermore, conversational AI tools will provide immediate feedback, along with a variety of potential scenarios that are conducive to continual practice.

For example, imagine chatbots representing multiple voices, offering a diverse range of conversational partners, from historical figures to expert professionals, creating an enriching and varied learning environment. Or imagine the chatbot taking on the roles of several stakeholders in a meeting at work, playing out different opinions, and trying to find a compromise—and allowing learners to experience and partake in the meeting, or even face the challenge of facilitating and chairing such a meeting.

We can already see small glimpses of this evolution in a number of developments in the corporate learning world, where vendors are competing to deploy the most capable technologies.

Voice interactions & advanced image processing: Chatbots 2.0

In our interaction with digital tools we find ourselves continuously moving away from using a keyboard—instead turning to voice-operated interactions. This evolution leads to more human-like, natural interactions, and thus also offers easier access to our personal tutors for learning and support.

Alongside advancements in voice interaction, the image processing abilities of AI models are rapidly improving. This includes the ability to both interpret existing images and their content and generate new images that meet specific requirements. These capabilities enable personal tutor AI systems to incorporate relevant images and diagrams into the learning experience as needed.

In addition to the advancements in voice and image processing, a significant development expected for chatbots is an ability to observe and interpret human nonverbal cues and physical actions. Imagine engaging with a virtual avatar that can read a learner’s body language and facial expressions—and respond in a contextually appropriate manner.

This feature would extend the utility of chatbots beyond verbal communication, enabling them to provide tailored feedback in a variety of scenarios including, potentially, physical training. This capability will start to blur the lines between the digital and physical, making chatbots not only conversational partners but also virtual coaches attuned to physical aspects of learning and training. This innovation would be a stride toward more immersive and holistic AI-driven learning experiences, where the digital tutors could understand and respond to the full spectrum of human communication.

Adherence to learning principles

The ideal would be that—sooner rather than later—what is continuously delivered to the learner throughout their interactions with chatbot-tutors will adhere increasingly to the research around learning and multimedia learning principles.

Skillfully deployed alongside different content pieces and across different delivery modalities, these principles ensure that the experience is challenging and is at the right level of cognitive and emotional engagement. And not only that, but through interaction with thousands or even millions of learners, AI-powered systems could provide their own research data on learning and learner progress.

In short, AI-powered personal tutors will enhance the engagement and effectiveness of learning and training, short, medium and long term.

Simulations & games for experiential learning

While chatbot-style interactions are at the center of this future world, they are not the only transformative tools on the horizon. AI-driven, scenario-based simulations and games will form the perfect complement to personal tutors, bringing to the table a full suite of opportunities for experiential learning.

AI-powered games and scenario-based simulations will venture beyond the limitations of chatbots to offer immersive experiences for skill development across a broad spectrum—from foundational knowledge and technical skills right through to so-called soft skills including leadership training, analytical thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, conflict management, and more.

Despite experiential learning’s effectiveness over many other modalities, simulations and games have traditionally been very costly to build, challenging to scale, and difficult to develop and maintain. However, the meteoric rise of AI technologies over the past year has already provided more and more powerful LLMs, as well as asset creation tools.

These can help drastically reduce development and maintenance costs, expedite the design process, and provide scalable solutions for generating and deploying experiential learning to larger audiences. Similar to the digital tutors described above, LLMs will support a vast array of simulated conversations and experiences that enrich games while providing lifelike experiential learning opportunities. Scenarios can range from providing practice navigating difficult conversations or calming an angry customer to practicing dangerous tasks, with opportunities for repeated, and varied, practice.

The application of multimedia learning principles in these simulations enhances the learning experience by aligning instructional content with relevant visuals, providing immediate feedback, creating effective and engaging learning experiences, and allowing learners to practice in a safe environment.

Long-term vision

As AI tools become more integrated into our learning strategies, we will see a drastic shift in our approach to digital learning. Content will no longer be king! Learning experience will replace it. We can already see early signs of this move in developments from the vendor side.

Over time, AI tools will likely converge into a single product offering, capable of producing all modalities of delivery. Chatbots, simulations, and games will become one overall experience in line with learner requirements and goals, and will deliver based on the explicit learning needs at the time of interaction.

Immersive experiences

We also expect further technological advancements that will enhance the simulations and games in our new duality.

  • Augmented reality (AR) in learning brings an overlay of digital information into the real world, transforming the learning environment into an interactive experience. In educational simulations, AR can be used to project 3-D models, data, and interactive elements into the physical space, allowing learners to interact with complex concepts in a tangible way.
  • Virtual reality (VR) takes this a step farther by immersing learners in a completely virtual environment. This is particularly beneficial in scenarios where real-world training is impractical or dangerous.
  • Looking out even more long-term, we may see a resurgence of the Metaverse trend, potentially the overall complete game-changer—a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality.

The Metaverse holds immense potential for experiential learning, allowing learners to interact, collaborate, and experience simulated scenarios in a more holistic and interconnected manner. This could range from global collaboration projects in virtual workspaces to immersive language learning experiences in culturally accurate virtual settings.

Overall, however, the duality predicted for learning will initially remain: Voice-based and visually supported, conversational interactions on the one hand; simulations and games on the other hand. As tools and technologies improve, boundaries will disappear and a more holistic support system for digital learning will emerge.


As we navigate an evolving landscape of technological advancements and apply it to learning and talent development, the duality of conversational AI on the one hand and immersive simulations and games on the other indicates a key shift in learning experiences. This fusion promises a future where learning is not only more interactive and engaging but also expertly tailored to each individual's learning journey, blending the immediacy and personalization of chatbots with the depth and realism of simulations and games.

In navigating this future, our guiding principles around ethical integrity and inclusivity remain key. The merging of these powerful modalities brings with it a responsibility to ensure that the advancements are accessible to all learners and grounded in practices that uphold privacy, fairness, and equity.

For L&D, talent development, HR, and education, an exciting future lies ahead.

Delve into AI at the AI Symposium!

Explore AI in L&D and HR at “Embracing the AI Evolution in Tomorrow’s Workplace,” a full-day symposium co-located with the Learning & HR Tech Solutions Conference. The symposium is on April 22, and the Conference is April 23–25, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. Learn about core AI principles and applications and dig into the ways you and your L&D and HR peers will implement AI to transform employee development and performance management!