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Transform Training With AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) may soon revolutionize the way government does business, but it can be hard for agencies to know where to begin. They need down-to-earth, practical applications that can be adopted easily and show an immediate return on investment.

Microsoft Federal has used AI internally to make its compliance training more engaging and effective. The Compliance, Governance, and Operations (CGO) Legal Team took advantage of Copilot, Microsoft’s generative AI service, to create training materials ranging from a logo to video scripts. Their experience shows how AI can save time and money while producing better results.

“We’ve all had instances of mandatory training where we just click through it, but it’s not interesting and it doesn’t resonate long term,” said Bill Hayden, Chief Compliance Counsel-Microsoft Federal and Assistant General Counsel. “It’s really important to have training that captures the interest of employees and will resonate enough that they’ll remember it.”

Generate Tools for Learning

Videos are one of the most important — and most expensive — training tools. Looking to bring things in house and lower costs, CGO used AI to write the training scripts. “It’s been pretty fast, and great quality. We still go back and check the content to make sure the legal precepts set out are correct, but it gets you 85% of the way,” Hayden noted.

AI capability built into PowerPoint has improved the quality of training slide decks, too. Hayden said he types in basic content, clicks on “Copilot” in the menu ribbon, and asks the AI for suggestions to make the slides more accessible and businesslike. “If you don’t like what it comes up with, you can change the prompt, and it’ll come up with other ideas.”

AI not only sped up the creation of those materials, but it made new resources possible. CGO now produces one-page documents that provide an overview of a legal issue. “To really bring home the training concept, we used AI to comb the internet and find news stories [about] other companies that violated that specific law.” What would have taken hours of searching by hand, the AI can do in minutes.

Hayden stressed that responsible use of AI demands that a human review the AI’s output. For instance, the team verifies that the legal cases are real by finding corroborating news reports.

Learn to Prompt AI

Hayden recommended training people on how to interact with AI — even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes.

An AI prompt is different from a search engine query, Hayden said. For example, to generate questions for a training poll about the False Claims Act, he used this prompt:

I am preparing a live training presentation, and we would like audience participation. We will be covering the information in [this document] and would like to have poll questions to ask before and after we discuss the False Claims Act. Prepare five scenarios with multiple choice answers for me to use in the training.

Knowing how to talk to AI includes knowing what not to share with it. “If there’s information that’s confidential or otherwise shouldn’t be shared, you don’t want it to go into a [public] pool of information.” Better, Hayden said, to contract with a vendor such as Microsoft for an “enterprise version of AI that has guardrails and protects the information [you’re] sharing, so it doesn’t go beyond [your] network.”

Demonstrate AI’s Value

With the AI-enhanced program, employees remember and engage with more compliance information. Quizzes before and after training sessions show that employees are understanding and retaining information longer.

The training also sends participants to the company’s internal Compliance Corner site, where they can access additional content. Visits to the site spike in the days after a training session, Hayden noted. “Folks are going there, looking, and downloading content.”

For Hayden, AI has proven itself as a practical tool. “If you had asked me 18 months ago, ‘are you going to use AI?’ I would have said, ‘well, I don’t really think it’s there yet.’ But once I tried using it, I was amazed by the quality of the output, the benefits to productivity, and the money that’s saved.”

Photo by Flo Dahm at Pexels.com

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