4 Barriers To Mobile Learning Adoption

4 Barriers To Mobile Learning Adoption
Summary: Mobile devices are ubiquitous, which makes mobile learning (mLearning) the hottest trend in corporate eLearning efforts. If this is the case, why have most companies done little more than run pilot programs around mLearning? Here are 4 barriers to mobile learning adoption and how organizations can overcome them.

Running The mLearning Obstacle Course: Barriers To Mobile Learning Adoption

The promise of mobile learning is held hostage by an array of hurdles, which can make eLearning professionals feel like they’re running the latest American Ninja Warrior obstacle course in their attempts to leverage mLearning into corporate success. Here are the 4 main barriers to mobile learning adoption that seem to get in the way the most:

1. Budgetary Constraints

There are still many c-suite leaders who haven’t fully embraced eLearning as anything other than a perceived drain on scarce resources. Needless to say, trying to shoehorn mobile learning into the mix feels financially irresponsible to these skeptics. Part of the fault here lies squarely with learning departments, which need to do a better job of making the business case for both eLearning and mLearning, and back it up with real return on investment data that not only makes the case but makes it a slam-dunk.

2. Missing Out On Millennials

Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce, and they actually want training more than any other company perk, including bonuses, flex hours, or company cars according to KPCB’s 2015 Internet Trends Report. They are super-connected all the time through their mobile devices, which means there’s a unique opportunity to give them what they want and how they want it. Leadership that doesn’t understand the unique needs of Millennials might not understand the urgency of this opportunity in matching up mLearning to Millennials in the corporate landscape. A significant aspect of this is gamifying mobile learning – something else company leadership may not understand is highly relevant to and effective with Millennials.

3. Failure To Recognize Increasing Mobility 

Globe-trotting work assignments are on the rise, expected to increase by as much as 50% by 2020, which follows on the heels of a 25% increase over the past ten years. Effectively handling an assignment abroad requires a good deal of fast training to get someone up-to-speed on the context they are about to be dropped into, and there’s often not the luxury of doing it much in advance, making mLearning the natural solution.

When you layer on top of this trend the continuing rise of remote and flex-time working, which has more and more work being done outside the company’s real estate, it all adds up to a hugely mobile workforce. Being behind the curve on mobile learning will increasingly become a significant liability. It is a good thing that most modern Learning Management Systems are evolving to accommodate a generation of mobile workforce always on the go and seeking bite-size content designed for easy consumption.

4. Robust And Secure mLearning Apps

While the apps improve rapidly from year to year, there are still nagging areas that need attention. The very nature of mobility represents significant security vulnerabilities and conundrums that have yet to be adequately addressed. The biggest being the tension between getting content into the hands of employees with as few hindrances as possible (i.e. opening up the network to personal devices), versus maintaining control over company resources. There are also still many challenges faced when attempting to integrate mLearning with legacy Learning Management Systems. And most companies trying to dive deep into mobile learning have yet to figure out how to establish the kind of metrics that are necessary to both facilitate and assess mLearning both for the learners and the company.

Final Thoughts

Mobile learning is like a bright shiny object that has grabbed the increasingly mobile attention of the brave new digital world of the 21st century, but when you try to grab hold of it, it seems to be ever so slightly out of reach. Experimenting with mLearning is one thing, but fully leveraging it into business success is turning out to be another thing entirely, thanks to the internal and external barriers encountered as companies attempt to run the mobile learning obstacle course.

These barriers to mobile learning adoption go a long way towards explaining why the adoption of mLearning seems so lackluster in the corporate learning and training landscape. None of the barriers are deal-breakers per se, but several of them are just serious enough that when combined with skeptical leadership can keep the mobile learning undertaking trapped in the experimental phase. It will take both time and effort to overcome the barriers, but it will also be well worth the effort.