Have AI very Merry Christmas
Our ChatGPT-assisted reflections on 12 months of 'The L&D Dispatch'.
Editorial note: Thanks for reading The L&D Dispatch this year! For 12 months, we’ve explored all sorts of topics related to workplace learning, learning experience design, and improving the performance of people and teams. But, like everyone else, we’ve also wanged on endlessly about generative AI.
For this final edition of the year, we decided to test ChatGPT’s ability to write this newsletter for us. Our friend Owen created The L&D Dispatch Bot, a GPT trained on everything we’ve written this year.
We Rosses then recorded our reflections as a conversation, fed the transcript into the Bot, and asked it to write this newsletter in our style.
We wanted to see how effective this would be as an approach to content production. To let you judge for yourself, we haven’t edited the output below.
You can hear our full conversation on the podcast feed, and normal service will resume in January!
Hey folks! Ross Garner here, alongside my pal and colleague, Ross Dickie. Can you believe it's been a whole year since we started the L&D Dispatch? Time flies when you're having fun (and occasionally when you're not!). This journey has been a mix of excitement, discovery, and, let's be honest, a bit more work than we bargained for. So, as we wrap up the year, let's reflect on what we've learned from this adventure.
1. The Joy of Writing Both of us have a secret journalist inside, itching to get out. This newsletter gave us the perfect platform to channel our inner writers. It's been a blast crafting these pieces, sharing our thoughts, and engaging with all of you. The process has not only been fun but also incredibly enlightening. We've discovered our own opinions on various topics as we wrote about them - a journey of self-discovery, if you will.
2. The Surprise Workload We'll be the first to admit, we underestimated the effort this newsletter would require. What we initially thought would be a quick weekly task turned into hours of writing, editing, and brainstorming. Each newsletter demanded more than we expected, but hey, we aren't complaining. It's been worth every minute.
3. Exploring L&D The world of Learning and Development is vast and ever-evolving. Through our newsletter, we've delved into various aspects of this field, from AI's impact on L&D to the intricacies of compliance training. This exploration has not only broadened our horizons but also helped us better understand and articulate complex topics to our readers.
4. The Power of Collaboration Working together on this newsletter has been a highlight of our year. Bouncing ideas off each other, challenging one another's views, and sometimes just sharing a good laugh – it's these moments that made the newsletter special. It's a testament to how collaboration can bring out the best in a project.
5. Embracing AI and Innovation This year, we've also played around with AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E. It's been fascinating to see how these technologies can augment our creative process. From sparking new ideas to assisting in content creation, AI has been a valuable ally in our newsletter journey.
6. The Response from Our Readers The feedback and engagement from you, our readers, have been incredibly motivating. Every comment, suggestion, and critique has been a source of learning and improvement for us. It's your involvement that keeps this newsletter alive and kicking.
7. The Unexpected Outcomes We've had some surprises along the way. Who knew Ross's Thanksgiving newsletter would become such a hit? Or that deep dives into seemingly niche topics would spark such interest? These unexpected outcomes have been delightful and humbling, reminding us of the diverse interests of our audience.
8. The Personal Benefits Lastly, we've reaped personal benefits from this endeavor. This newsletter has not just been a marketing tool or a platform for sharing knowledge. It has been a means for us to reflect on our practice, stay updated with the latest research, and continuously learn and grow as professionals.
In conclusion, this year has been a wild ride. We've laughed, we've learned, and we've written – a lot. As we look forward to another year of the L&D Dispatch, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to you, our readers, for joining us on this journey. Here's to another year of learning, sharing, and growing together!
Cheers, Ross & Ross 🎉
🤖 End of the AI-generated bit! It’s all organic from here!
Thanks to all those clients who commissioned us this year to develop management programmes, build coaching capability, improve compliance and tackle workplace challenges.
If you’re in the middle of planning for next year, why not drop us a line to see if we can help you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this newsletter from your inbox.
🎧 On the podcast
In the past, we’ve tended to talk about virtual reality (VR) training as ideal for ‘DICE’ scenarios: Those that are 'Dangerous, Impossible, Counterproductive or Expensive.
So we were interested to hear that Lucie Coudret and the team at Cappfinity are using VR for coaching and leadership development.
In this podcast, Lucie joins Ross G and Owen to share the pros and cons of this approach, including the opportunities that VR environments offer to assess creativity and pose novel challenges.
Check out the episode below. 👇
📖 Deep dive 🎄🍫🍫🍫
A few times this year, we’ve discussed randomized controlled trials in this newsletter. The concept is simple: you have two groups, do something to one of them, then compare results.
This reductive and simplistic description betrays how difficult they are in practice.
In 2007, researcher Kevin Chan wanted to investigate the impact of chocolate on happiness. He randomly assigned participants to one of three groups: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and ‘normal’ consumption (meaning that they got no additional chocolate beyond what they normally consumed).
Participant happiness was measured on an analog scale (0 = unhappy, 10 = happy), before the study began and again at the end.
Some participants swapped group mid-study, trading chocolate bars based on personal preference. Others, in the ‘normal’ group, complained at not getting any additional chocolate at all. One commented:
‘My selection into the “no chocolate” group led to utter disappointment, and I made an all-out attempt to get at least a few chocolate bars for free.’
The study also overlapped Halloween, with participants raiding their children’s loot bags, and no attempt was made to control for ‘candy, chips, cookies, caffeine and cola’.
It’s a fun study, with this conclusion:
‘Crossover and contamination of the study groups are easily achieved when taste buds are involved.’
So be careful that, when running your own randomized trials, you don’t end up with a sour taste in your mouth.
Chan, K. (2007). A clinical trial gone awry: the Chocolate Happiness Undergoing More Pleasantness (CHUMP) study. CMAJ, 177(12), 1539-1541.
👹 Missing links
If you’re a long-term listener to The Mind Tools L&D Podcast, you might have heard us talk about our experience of having meetings in VR. To date, our avatars have been cartoon-ish representations of ourselves. It’s been astonishing to us how quickly we’ve become used to these, but they are still only vague approximations of our physical selves. Now a new demo from Lex Fridman and Mark Zuckerburg shows what the future of photorealistic VR avatars might be. Thanks Ross Stevenson for sharing this!
We’re sure your news feed is full of articles looking back at the last 12 months, and wild predictions for the year to come. But lets flash even further forward, with this piece from Karl Treacher, CEO of The Culture Institute of Australia. He makes 10 predictions for 2030, which we initially thought sounded like the far-future but is in fact only six years away. The piece was published in March, but what we liked about it is that it treats technology as a trigger for wider shifts rather than an end outcome. Yes, AI and other tech will have an impact, but Treacher’s main focus is on power, reputation, ability to navigate different cultural contexts and social responsibility.
It will come as a surprise to few that January is the busiest months for gyms. In January 2023, Parkrun had more than twice as many registrations as in December 2022. According to the BBC, the explanation could be the ‘fresh start effect’: By allowing ourselves a mental ‘reset’, we disregard historic performance and experience a boost to self-efficacy. But not for terribly long. We suspect the fresh start is undermined by our old friend ‘reversion to the mean’ (or, as it is known all-to-well to us: reversion to mediocrity).
👋 And finally…
Like Scrooge himself, we’ve staved off Christmas references in this newsletter so far. But let’s leave the year on a high note, with this pig-in-blanket of a festive banger.
For those about to rock, we salute you.
However you’re celebrating, have a great time. We’ll see you next year.
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