eLearning has come a long way in recent years as more enabling technology has emerged to help shape workplace training so that it’s increasingly accessible. An area which is seeing a lot of growth currently is mLearning, which is eLearning on mobile. It’s thought that it will see an annual growth rate of 18.2% (CAGR) as more organisations adopt mLearning as a training solution. If your business has eLearning capabilities, but you’ve not yet integrated mobile, then this year is the one to do so.
The mobile revolution has meant that the majority of us now own at least one mobile device and they’re never very far from our hands. With this in mind, using mobile for training is an ideal opportunity to reach all employees at all times, even if they don’t use a desktop computer at home.
Why Choose mLearning?
mLearning enables learning and development professionals to deliver training in a slightly different manner to eLearning. This allows for deeper engagement as lessons can be accessed in more bite-sized chunks than would usually be seen on an eLearning course. This is necessary when it comes to mLearning as learners would have difficulty in retaining information that was presented as a series of textual screens to scroll through and read. The way that we use our phones means that we often pick them up whilst we’re on the go too and this means that it’s vital that information is tailored with this in mind.
mLearning content has to be concise or the learner will be lost before they even begin, so it’s important if you currently offer eLearning solutions to your employees that you understand the difference in presentation. What works for desktop will rarely work on mobile devices, although since many of us use them to watch video, it’s safe to say that the medium works very well with mobile devices and as such should be worked into the course content.
Does Your Organisation Need mLearning?
Not all businesses will need to implement mLearning, however desirable it may seem and it will depend largely on your training and staff when it comes to deciding whether to use it or not. For organisations with a lot of field staff, for example, mLearning is going to be invaluable as workers can access the course from wherever they may happen to be. Remote workers too will more than likely find mLearning to be valuable as they can undertake training at their own time and pace even when they’re not sat at their desk.
The success of adopting an mLearning approach also depends on what kind of organisational culture you have too. Those businesses that already foster a culture of sharing and social within the enterprise will have a much better chance of succeeding than those that don’t due to the nature of mLearning. Like any other business process, this is something that can be looked at in more detail during the planning phase.
Questions to pose to establish if the business is ready for the successful implementation of an mLearning platform include:
- How do current employees approach training at the moment?
- How do workers use their mobile devices?
- Does mobile fit your learning strategy?
- Is your organisation ready for mobile with regards to its culture?
- Do the organisation’s learning and development team have the necessary skills to adapt courses for mobile?
- What development models will be used to deliver the courses?
- Can ROI be proved to management in the first instance and ongoing?
- Will you provide devices to staff or implement (or use existing) BYOD?
It’s important to remember that mLearning is not just eLearning on a more mobile and pared down scale. mLearning is different not just due to the size of the screen that course content is offered on, but because of the way it’s accessed, which is likely to be when on the move. However, it’s also likely that learners will access the course materials whilst sat at home in front of the TV and whilst commuting, amongst other things. This means that it’s important for content to be tailored towards this and course developers should always keep in mind the mobile audience.
With that in mind it’s important to consider the following:
- How much time the learner will have to access content and certain websites.
- How the learner will input answers – touchpads can be very difficult for some users to type in a lot of text so other means such as multiple choice questions could be the better choice.
- Mobile internet may be unreliable so will the learner be able to access offline content too whilst on the move?
mLearning is all about providing information when the user needs it wherever they may be. It works better when offered as informal training and depends largely on the user being capable and willing of pacing their own learning. The social aspects of mLearning also mean that it can better enable collaboration and therefore up the productivity of an organisation’s workforce. It’s more engaging – mostly thanks to the way that information is presented in small chunks – and it makes for happier workers. This is because those that have the opportunity to learn and can do so at their own pace, and even in their own time, feel more job satisfaction and feel trusted by the business. This leads to a healthier organisational culture and overall, improves the bottom line.
mLearning isn’t for every organisation and there must be a need if it’s to be successful. It’s important to approach it as a standalone project (although materials from an existing eLearning course can be adapted) rather than one that uses repurposed content from other platforms. It should be authored in such a way that it’s easy to act upon and engage with on the smaller screen and it should be enjoyable, rather than stressful, for the employee.
Get all of this right and it’s very likely that you’ll have a business that successfully shares knowledge, allows workers to be happy and enjoy ongoing training without a lot of pressure and, importantly, is more profitable.