min read

What is Mindsmith AI?

One of our goals since beginning Mindsmith has been to “democratize instructional design.” In many ways, difficult tools and intimidating blank canvases form gate-keeping mechanisms for the ID space. Here, we go into more detail about the what, why, and how of Mindsmith AI.
Written by
Ethan Webb
Published on
December 21, 2022

One of our goals since beginning of Mindsmith has been to “democratize instructional design.” In many ways, difficult tools and intimidating blank canvases form gate-keeping mechanisms for the ID space. I think that most of us have found ourselves at the head of a project asking, “Where do I even start?” On Saturday, we released a blog post about the future of AI in the instructional design world. We think that AI can change the way instructional design is done by removing these barriers to entry. Where should you start? [With MindsmithAI!]

Generating Outlines – new lessons

Outlines get you started in the design process. At the beginning of any new lesson you can input a lesson title; Mindsmith AI generates a lesson flow that answers some of the most important questions in a given field.

The outline provides a starting point for a lesson on any topic. For example, you could pick one of the subheadings and generate an entire lesson on that more narrow subject; then, you could take the unused subheadings and create new lesson outlines based off of those subheadings.

Alternatively, you can offer a brief description about each subheading to create a robust overview of the topic. The outline provides a springboard for developing lessons and courses on your own. Instead of starting with a blank canvas, you have a template: an outline to fill out with your own expertise.

Content Generation – magic button

Sometimes an outline isn’t enough. For many topics, we can rely on a mountain of expert knowledge to color within the lines or even fill the entire canvas. Our magic button empowers users to overcome writer’s block; fill in their template more; generate ideas; or write entire lessons. This capability leverages OpenAI’s powerful language learning models that have read about a tenth of the Internet.

While there’s no guarantee that what the model generates is perfect, complete, or true, AI can help generate rough drafts over a wide range of domains--whether the user is a manager preparing a diversity and inclusion training; a full-time instructional designer writing about sales skills; or a professor teaching about measuring heteroskedasticity.

The future of Mindsmith AI

The features we’ve built so far are just the beginning of what we think Mindsmith AI will be capable of. Many of you have mentioned that you’ve already developed a lot of content in lengthy, static formats like PowerPoint and PDF files. Many managers have spent hours and huge amounts of resources on developing employee handbooks and SOPs.

In the near future, Mindsmith AI will solve this problem. Mindsmith will generate engaging and beautiful lessons by summarizing long blocks of text, creating quizzes, pulling images and GIFs from the Internet, and much more.

In the medium future, Mindsmith AI will learn how to craft complex scenarios and branching that lead learners down different paths based on how they respond to prompts.

In the long term, we see AI creating adaptive lessons that learn what the learner is struggling with and add in-depth teaching on those subjects specific to the learner and giving individualized feedback.

In this way, Mindsmith AI will solve the age-old trade-off between individualization and scalability of learning. With this tool, learning leaders won't have to choose between the two.

As you read this article, I ask you to chew on the following question: how do you see AI changing the way training and teaching is done? Write to me at ethan@mindsmith.org with any suggestions as we continue forward with the incredible applications of AI in learning and development.

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