Goodbye Clippy, hello chatbots

Published May 21, 2020 at 11:30 AM

Remember Clippit, better known as Clippy?

He was the default animated character Microsoft Office assistant. Pre-installed with Microsoft Office bundles from 1997 to 2003, Clippy appeared whether users wanted help or not and became irritating. Due to his impractical and intrusive nature, Microsoft killed him off in 2007. While the idea of Clippy was a good one, it wasn’t good enough.

Chatbots, same, same but different

Fast forward to 2020…we’ve all heard about chatbots, they’ve been around for quite some time. While chatbots are similar to Clippy, in that they give you information, they are more effective in learning because they are smart, responsive, and adaptive. 

Imagine, your company implements a new system, product or process, instead of going to training or doing a 3-hour e-Learning course, you have a chatbot that you can pull up on your screen, when you need it, and ask for information about how to use it.

Time is of the essence

Of course, Learning and Development and subject matter experts need to feed the correct information into the chatbot and make sure that the content and resources are designed explicitly for chatbots.

Bots also gather information based on the questions that users ask them, which means that the data is personalised. So, you can access the correct information that you need precisely when you need it. 

We all have limited time to get information to be able to perform on the job. Performance support is most effective when it is a package that can be processed quickly. Nowadays, people need information at their fingertips, and no one has time to attend a refresher course.

Chatbots: friend or foe?

There is no reason to be afraid of chatbots or any form of technology. Many people think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to eliminate jobs. Chatbots definitely won’t replace the need for L&D, but they will need to adapt to the changes in this new way of learning.

They will have to learn how to script, create content and analyse data needed to feed and maintain chatbots. 

These are exciting times because chatbots will give employees control over and ownership of their learning. Chatbots can contribute to a culture of ongoing learning, acting as a personal tutor at the point of need.

In the end

Chatbots generate data about what people need, and they also feedback data around what works or doesn’t. So, as employees learn, instructional designers learn from the employee and learning becomes a continuous process rather than an occasional event.

Chatbots can deliver learning that is more relevant and effective because they address the needs identified by employees; rather than the needs determined by L&D alone. 

How can we help you?

For more information on how you can add chatbots to your learning ecosystem, click here to contact us.

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Candice Ulgheri

Candice Ulgheri

Learning and Performance Advisor

Published May 20, 2020 at 8:10 AM