London UK 2025

Dates and Venue

23 - 24 April 2025 | ExCeL London

17 - 18 April 2024 | ExCeL London

AI-Powered Skills-Based Learning with Brandon Caldwell

Monday 20 May 2024

AI-Powered Skills-Based Learning with Brandon Caldwell

David James
AI-Powered Skills-Based Learning with Brandon Caldwell

Historically, L&D teams have struggled to implement skills-based learning and leverage its enormous potential due to the scale and complexity of the task. 

But now, with generative AI, we are seeing giant leaps in time as we speed up skills mapping and deploy our upskilling learning interventions faster than before.

In my recent podcast featuring Brandon Caldwell, we discuss how AI tools like SkillsGPT can change the skills ontology game and explore how adopting a skills-based approach can be an all-inclusive strategy for learning and development.


Skills as a universal language

Skills are the nuts and bolts of what is expected or required within a role that everybody can understand.

When discussing learning needs or designing learning interventions, you don't have to educate people on what skills mean, and we don’t have to convince our leaders that skills need to be the focus in today’s tight labour market.  

Brandon Caldwell, Director of People & Culture at 365 Retail Markets: “Skills is a language that doesn’t require a whole lot of conversation, and you quickly understand what the other person is saying”.

The best part is that a skills-based approach is L&D listening to understand what our employees expect, and our leaders need and then working to plug the gap.

Related: The Future of Dynamic L&D: Implementing Skills-Based Learning


SkillsGPT is a game-changer

Many L&D professionals have tried pivoting to skills-based learning but were thwarted by the complexity, scale, and time required to get their ontologies up and running.

But the game has changed with generative AI tools. L&D teams can supercharge an exercise that can takes years, from start to finish, to one that takes just a few minutes. The impact on the productivity and performance of L&D teams, typically small teams that service large workforces, cannot be understated.

“The first time I used SkillsGPT, I couldn’t believe what I saw. In about seven minutes, it really dawned on me the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and investment at my prior company needed to make this type of thing happen,” says Brandon.

For most teams looking to pivot to skills-based learning, the biggest struggle is getting the project started. Stepping into a meeting with a blank sheet of paper and beginning to develop your skills taxonomy can be challenging and enormous work, but it doesn’t have to be.


You can't edit a blank page

Generative AI does 80% of the skills mapping work, so your engagement with your stakeholders doesn’t have to start with a blank sheet of paper.

Instead, you can focus on the details of your first conversation by correcting, adding nuance, and building greater context of the job, completely sidestepping what used to be an overwhelming process. 

“I didn’t think we would be here as an organisation for at least two years before I felt comfortable going to leadership. SkillsGPT, and generative AI in general, has changed the opportunity in front of 365 Retail Markets so we can hit those growth targets more quickly,” says Brandon Caldwell.

Leveraging skills-based AI tools can empower learning and development and clear away most tasks that clog up the process of pivoting to a skills-based approach so we can focus on the critical part of our function: developing our employees' skills today and identifying their future upskilling needs.


Skills-based learning is the whole package

A significant advantage of pivoting to a skills-based approach is that it can encompass a range of functions, which is a great way to get stakeholder buy-in.

In Brandon’s view, skills-based learning is also career pathing and growth planning for particular roles. If you want to get controversial, it is also about compensation management. By replacing the traditional performance review process, you can inject the idea that as your skillset grows, your compensation can grow with it.

By tying these aspects into one, you can talk to your leadership about all these different types of interventions at once, and because they are speaking the language of skills, how you can start closing your organisation’s skills gaps.

Moreover, skills-based learning is also what employees are looking for in the workplace. They assess organisations on how they can develop, move up, and earn more money in your organisation.


Advice: Embrace the technologies out there

If you’re interested in pivoting to a skills-based approach in your organisation, here is some advice.

Brandon Caldwell: “Really embrace the technologies out there, do your homework on what is appropriate for you and your company, and look into SkillsGPT because it is a game-changer”.

To get started:

  • Do your research: Reach out and engage with those who’ve made the pivot already.
  • Put together your business case, and don't do it in a vacuum.
  • Anticipate roadblocks: You will most certainly have to iterate as you go.

Explore further insights on pivoting to a skills-based approach in the episode on The L&D Podcast: AI-Powered Skills-Based Learning In Action With Brandon Caldwell.


David James David James

CLO at 360Learning

Explore more news

Learning Technologies Sponsors

Learning Technologies Partners