The Original Human-in-the-Loop

The Original Human-in-the-Loop

Eileen Doll Eileen Doll
3 minute read

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As we hear about the daily advances, and malfunctions, of artificial intelligence, an oft-mentioned best practice is the “human-in-the-loop.” In other words, a real person is essential to monitor, assess, and modify systems for optimal performance. I like to think I’ve devoted my career as a human-in-the-loop—although not necessarily as we define it today. Let me explain. 

Over two decades, I’ve had the opportunity to nurture dynamic teams and build exceptional customer experiences in a variety of settings. From corporate trainer to entrepreneurial advisor and community manager, a key priority persisted: help the stakeholder achieve success. Support tactics can vary—documentation libraries and video tutorials are often helpful—but I believe a personalized approach is most effective. Timely and responsive guidance and support are especially critical in virtual learning. 

Although the rapid acceleration of virtual learning can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning is not new. Technological advances have moved courses from postal mail to radio, television, and now the internet. And today’s online capabilities offer tremendous opportunities for learner support. 

At Aptly, all of our courses are offered asynchronously. This flexibility benefits learners, allowing them to access courses anytime, anywhere, and complete them at their own pace. On-demand access to materials and resources provides learners the opportunity to refresh their knowledge as needed. This type of flexibility might also be considered “self-service” support. But it’s not enough to help our learners truly master the content. I strongly believe that to empower learners, a holistic approach that includes online tools and communities is necessary. 

Online learner communities foster collaboration, build networks, and offer support that guide success. A primary focus of these communities is discussion forums, and at Aptly our moderation team includes experienced educators, community specialists, and subject matter experts who are passionate about learner support and quality educational experiences.

Through the Aptly Study app, learners can complement their course activities with quiz-like questions and flashcards to prepare for professional certification exams. The app provides detailed feedback and also tracks user performance and automatically adapts questions to specific learner needs. A recent update now integrates the use of ChatGPT4 to create additional questions and flashcards in real-time. 

This variety of support services aids learners in a manner that suits them best. Equally important, these services have a cyclical effect on Aptly’s course development. We use our direct connection with learners to evaluate their experiences and feedback and refine our programs. By listening and monitoring we—the humans-in-the loop—identify and work to eliminate pain points and enhance content, always with the goal to maximize learner outcomes. 

Learner and community engagement is a critical feature in all education programs, and the advances in technology have caused our toolbox to swell. As we consider and implement new formats, we must always remember that a personalized approach is key. 

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