Are robots the trainers of the future?

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robotsThere are some cutting edge learning developments being tested in Scottish classrooms at the moment.  Developments that could impact the sort of classroom learning that we deliver at the moment.  The use of robots to assist teachers. (Sunday Herald, 20th September 2015, ).

These robots have been designed to sense the mood of learners and to alter their teaching/support method as required.  They do this by using a camera to pick up on body language and expressions.  For example, if the learner looks like they need more help, the robot will offer a suggestion to make things easier, or if the learner is looking bored, the robot will tell a joke to help re-engage them in the subject.

I know it sounds like something out of The Jetsons, but it’s really happening and it’s pretty fascinating stuff.

Until recently (similar trials have been taking place in other countries for a couple of years now), robots have been used for process driven tasks, to increase accuracy or do mundane and repetitive jobs, but the development of a robot that can detect senses is a real game changer, don’t you think?  It means that they will be able to react to what is going on around them and respond (for want of a better word) to the needs of people in the room.  What’s more, robots won’t get impatient or frustrated with learners, their mood won’t ever alter – something even the best of teachers/facilitators can’t promise!

Knowing the technology exists and thinking about how it can work in a learning environment, it’s hard to imagine that robots WON’T one day be part of our training classrooms.

Of course, there is the view that no matter how advanced software becomes, it still will be no match for a live interaction with another human being and the learning that can come from that.  So it may be safe to say that teachers/trainers/facilitators won’t be entirely wiped out!

What do you think: are robots the trainers of the future?  Will we start to see robots in our training rooms instead of us?  Is it all just a flash in the pan?  Or will we reach some kind of middle ground where robots assist with material delivery?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, share in the comments below!


Founder of Zostera Ltd and The Trainers CPD Club. I've worked in L&D for over 16 years across both the public and private sectors.

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