Conversation Design and AI Literacy with Nicolle Merrill

On this week’s episode of Trending in Education, we chat with Nicolle Merrill about conversation design, AI literacy, and preparing for the impacts of artificial intelligence in the workplace.

Nicolle is the founder of The Boring AI Company, where she teaches organizations about AI. But Nicolle also has hands-on experience designing conversational AI, having worked on chatbots and voice assistants prior to the release of chatGPT and other large language models.

We discuss how Nicolle has had to evolve her own career as these new AI capabilities have emerged. The hype around “prompt engineering” as a new lucrative career, she notes, doesn’t match reality. Prompt engineering is an important skill but not a standalone job paying hundreds of thousands per year.

A big focus of our conversation is around AI literacy and skills needed to work with AI. Nicolle outlines a framework for understanding how AI works, how it’s applied, and what impact it has. Critical thinking and communication skills are key. We have to get comfortable asking “dumb” questions, being vulnerable, and talking to technologists to further our literacy.

Nicolle shares how she’s building chatbots to actually facilitate this learning, creating “AI helpers” that workshop participants can query to learn AI concepts in an accessible way. We reflect on the need for a maker’s mindset in using these tools while also being aware of potential dangers like misinformation.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit Nicolle’s site for AI literacy courses and resources. The future of work is here, and we all need to skill up on AI.

Subscribe to Trending in Education wherever you get your podcasts. Visit us at for more sharp takes on what’s emerging in the learning universe.