Communication, Email Writing

Ambient Computing and its application in L&D

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You have probably heard the term IOT – internet of things. Ambient computing is taking IOT to the next level. It is the latest and the most phenomenal development in technology.

Keeping an individual at the centre it marries many technologies to create an ambience or environment that is human centric. Think of what you would be able to create if you could effectively marry artificial intelligence with cognitive processing.

Cognitive processing is about thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving. Higher-level brain functions entailing language, imagination, perception, and planning.

Different types of cognitive processes are:

  • Learning: that involves acquiring a new skill, synthesizing information, and integrating it with existing knowledge.
  • Memory: is about absorbing and retaining information.
  • Perception: the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses and the way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.
  • Thought: the act or process of thinking
  • Attention is the ability to actively process specific information in the environment while tuning out other details.

Ambient computing is delivering tools that are of day to day use and seamlessly integrate into the environment such that are almost invisible. For example, in a work environment, ambient computing would use sensors, who can send updated information on your skills, captures on the job like oral and written communication. Your manager would get key insights on the coaching she needs to provide you before your next meeting. LMS would get automatically updated to create real time learning paths for you. All the applications and devices in that scenario are fully integrated, creating a seamless flow of communication and information.

Characteristics of Ambient Computing

  • Data: Since the power of ambient computing lies in the fact that is contextual, data centres are at the heart of this model. Without data you cannot get contextual.
  • Embedded: The technology is seamlessly integrated with the environment almost making it invisible.
  • Simple: The Ambient Computing systems need to be simple to use and should drive engagement.
  • Collaboration: Ambient computing tools need to be collaborative and plug and play to be able to integrate other tools and platforms.

Ambient Computing and L&D

As we move towards the hybrid work models and smart office environments ambient computing will play a crucial role in helping us navigate our world. From how we communicate to how we innovate it will help us by always staying a step ahead of us and proactively helping us take better decisions.

In Learning and Development, it will give us a tremendous amount of personalized data at an individual level that will then roll up to creating customized learning paths and specific coaching interventions. The contextual and cognitive processing will help make several soft skills more tangible by capturing on job performance in real scenarios. Over time the data will reveal mind-boggling insights on the organization culture and impact of business outcomes.

Let us look at an example of a tool called kWurd deployed to coach employees on written communication skills.

Deployed across a team of 250 customer service assistants it assessed emails real time.

This is what the data showed:

  • 45% of all the outgoing emails had no empathy
  • The communication style was 55% Assertive, 35% Passive & 10% Aggressive
  • The Email Sentiment was 30% Joyful, 25% sad 20% Fearful 25% calm
  • Segmented by Customer type it showed that Passive and Aggressive emails were mostly being sent to the age group of 18-30 years

Since the above data is available at an individual level as well the system automatically directs the appropriate learning content to the agent. At a team level the above insights helped a) the organization understand the quality of communication b) improve the communication before it is sent c) strategize the learning and development needs for the whole group, base on data.

As L&D professionals it is important to start deploying tools that help assess and coach your employees on the job and give real-time feedback. That is the first step towards setting up an ambient computing environment in your workplace. To know more about such tools, go to and

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