6 Steps To Create And Deploy An Effective Mobile Learning Strategy

6 Steps To Create And Deploy An Effective Mobile Learning Strategy
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Summary: Debbie Richards, the president of Creative Interactive Ideas and one of the most influential experts in corporate eLearning, explained how to create a mobile learning strategy and launch a mobile Learning project in 6 steps during a webinar for iSpringers this winter.

How To Create And Deploy An Effective Mobile Learning Strategy

Mobile technology continues to change the way we live and learn. It is now gaining even more popularity because it enables learners to:

  • access training courses anytime and anywhere
  • use mobile devices to access educational resources
  • connect and collaborate with other learners
  • create their own content both inside and outside classes

However, some organizations may face challenges rolling out a mobile learning strategy:

  • lack of IT infrastructure to support mobile technologies
  • lack of internal skills to take advantage of these technologies for content development
  • resistance from IT to implement mobile learning technologies
  • resistance from learners to use them

For most though, mobile Learning’s benefits far outweigh the challenges. So here are 6 basic steps for creating an effective mobile learning strategy.

Step #1 Link Your eLearning Strategy To The Business Strategy

Taking your business strategy into consideration is very critical for two reasons:

  1. Mobile learning projects that are successful invariably support some elements of the business strategy.
  2. Alignment with business strategy makes securing stakeholder buy-in easier (which in turn makes getting budget easier).

It is a good idea to start with a summary that describes your project. Make sure it includes:

  • Problem Statement: Describe the business need that your company has, and how solving it adds value for the company.
  •  Solution: Give the solution to the described problem.
    • Explain how it’s going to streamline organizational processes inside your company, e.g. internal departments, clients, partners, vendor, and competitors.
    • Tell how exactly you are going to implement your mobile learning project. Are you going to do a pilot to test it or a global rollout?
  • Requirements: List the resources you need to complete the project, including staff, hardware, software, time, and budget.
  • Results: Determine clear criteria for measuring your project’s success. Show expected outcomes and benefits, e.g. productivity increase, accident decrease, investment return, and other company benefits.
  • Alternatives: You need to be ready in case something goes wrong and have a Plan B and even a Plan C. Outline the basic requirements, benefits, and costs, as well as the weak points or risks of each solution.

Step #2 Gather The Right People

Implementing your mobile learning strategy is going to involve and impact different groups of people inside your company. So make sure you’ve found a common language with each of them. These are some people who can help in your progress:

  • Stakeholders: You also can call them “My Champions”. They are of great value to you because they can evangelize your project, and explain to others the benefits of your initiative. They can also help you to get feedback and answer questions from your audience.
  • Business Unit Managers are the people that may actually “own” the problem that your project can solve. They are very interested in getting the project done quickly and successfully and may also act as a project champion. In addition to being the primary beneficiaries of your work, they can help you clear roadblocks and build consensus among project stakeholders. They can also help you set the goals for your mobile learning project, determine the way you are going to measure the results and give you feedback on success. To measure your results correctly, you will need to get statistics on how employees progress through training materials. That’s why it’s important to include detailed reports in any list of must-haves for an LMS, though we suggest you take into consideration a number of other important LMS features.
  • Learners: Understanding the learner profile will help define your mobile learning strategy. Tone key question is how training materials will be delivered to the audience. To understand that, you have to answer the following questions:
    • Do the learners work remotely and require “point of need” training support?
    • Do they have access to the internet all the time, or do they need to access information from places with no internet connection (airplanes, the tundra, etc.)?
    • Do all of them use the same devices?

Step #3 Involve The IT Department

It is very important to involve the IT team early on in a discussion of all the technical questions. Here’s what needs to be considered:

  • What devices are going to be used: company-owned or BYOD?
  • What software are you going to need? Who is going to deploy and test it?
  • What are the requirements and restrictions of the LMS you are going to choose?
  • What are the security scenarios and ethical standards in your company that will affect implementation?
  • How can the company security policy impact your mobile learning project?
  • Do you need to review them to avoid contradictions?

Step #4 Define The Constraints

To choose the right mobile learning strategy you have to take into account all the limitations your company and its staff have. Divide all the constraints into two parts:

  • Organizational constraints, e.g. insufficient internal resources to make a mobile learning application, security policy.
  • Technical constraints, e.g. small screen size, not-so-tech-savvy employees, internet access, etc.

Case Study

  • Client: Commercial Airline
  • Learners: Aircrew members that took need to consume the learning on the move
  • Constraints: Learners have limited experience using mobile learning
  • Challenges: To make an offline version that could be downloaded for use in locations where Wi-Fi is not available (e.g. onboard the aircraft). Learners also needed the ability to upload their progress to the LMS when they are back online. An additional challenge is to make the project’s launch smooth and easy to the non-technical learners.
  • Solution: Launch a pilot project first and get employees involved in mobile learning. An operation team was formed and trained first so it could assist users, collect data and get feedback. After the initial results were achieved, they were able to move forward with the global rollout.

Step #5 Make A Detailed Implementation Plan

Now it’s time to make an action plan which includes a step-by-step description of all the steps you will take. You need to have short-term and long-term action plans, including major milestones, deadlines, and people involved in each activity.

Many Project Managers use a Gantt chart, which provides an easy way to see all the project processes and tasks, and how they are progressing, at a glance.

Step #6 Measure Your Results

Now, you have to determine how your mobile learning strategy adds value to the organization. Use qualitative (user surveys, focus groups, performance improvement) and quantitative (click rates, downloads, time in the course, etc.) criteria for measuring your results.

Up-to-date software can provide you with various LMS report types that help you analyze results and enable continuous improvements to your mobile learning strategy. All you need to do is make sure you get all the benefits modern Learning Management Systems can offer.

All these steps are necessary for large deployments, but if you are just starting to implement mobile learning in your company, it’s highly recommended to start with a pilot project.

A pilot will help you measure the results of a sample group and make corrections if needed. Another advantage of a pilot is that you can demonstrate mobile Learning to a group of employees to get their feedback and make sure they feel comfortable with it.

Case Study

  • Client: A real estate company
  • Learners: About 5,000 real estate agents both inside the corporation and outside in home offices and offsite locations. A number of different types of people, many of whom had never experienced mobile learning before. Most were using iPads to access both internal and external information.
  • Challenge: To build interest around, and engagement with the project.
  • Solution: To develop a mobile learning project for iPads. To start fast with a small pilot project. The main goals were to make a course that could demonstrate all the advantages of mobile learning to the employees, and involve them in both the project and the learning process and get their feedback.

So, to quickly review, here are 6 things to think about before start launching your mobile learning project:

  1. Analyze your company’s needs, state your goals and describe the way you can achieve them.
  2. Form your team.
  3. Involve the IT department.
  4. Determine the constraints.
  5. Make an implementation plan.
  6. Have clear criteria to measure your results.
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