I had a conversation with another professional consultant at the end of last week about enterprise learning trends and how there is a huge push for more mobile learning. We discussed the idea that mobile learning must be more than taking what was a web based learning course or an instructor lead course and merely replicating that for delivery on a mobile device. We both agree that there is yet some work to be done in order to construct courses specifically for mobile delivery and a focus on how courses can best be designed for this medium so that they have an effect on the learner to change behavior to positively impact the business or complete key business processes.
According to recent research, use of mobile devices for learning in the US has increased from 9% in 2007 to over 20% in 2010. Generally speaking when you look around an airport, restaurant or local coffee shop you are likely to see a large majority of the people in your viewing area using a mobile device of some kind, be it a tablet, phone, e-reader or other smart device.
What are three things we can remember and focus on as we develop future mobile learning solutions?
1. The Device Does Make a Difference
Mobile learning is more than just putting courses onto a device with a smaller screen. When we think about true mobile learning it is the activity of learning no matter where the subject might be. A 60 minute course delivered on a laptop may need to be shortened to a 6 minute combination of short video, that takes into consideration lower bandwidth speeds, and navigated content geared for mobile learning. The idea that someone might have 60 minutes while on the job to focus on their mobile device is likely a mistake. So therefore we have to adapt our learning development strategies for the mobile learner and the devices on which they are accessing learning.
2. Focus on What Needs to Be Learned
We know all the reasons why we should use mobile learning, but despite the medium it is important in all learning development to determine what is to be learned. What is the action that we wish the subject to take or implement upon completing the learning? WIth mobile learning, this goal should still ring true. Mobile learning should not be viewed as an activity for ‘on the go” employees to complete and checkoff a list as if for mere training compliance sake. As the learning is designed, it should be crafted in such a way is to leave the subject equipped and capable to apply the lesson in their day to day work environment.
3. Create & Deliver On Demand Learning
We use our mobile devices in our personal lives, on demand. It is the same also as we think about the use of mobile devices in a work environment. Workers are often in situations when the need to understand a new concept or new skill for their jobs comes up at varying times. For one sales professional the time and expense process may come up during their first week of work, while for another, a month of cold calling may make this skill unnecessary at first. A “how to” delivered via a mobile device on demand can be a good way to make sure the sales team has access to this learning when and where they need it.
Learn more about mobile learning trends at our Enterprise Learning! Summit March 20-21, 2012 at the Hilton in Alexandria, VA, particularly in the session “Digitizing the Enterprise: Cloud, Mobile & More.” Our speakers and panelists will appear in sessions including “Thriving in a Net-Work Era,” “Learning Technology CEO’s Power Panel,” and “Best Practices of the Learning! 100.”