5 Steps To Help You Identify The Best Content For Your Mobile Learning Project

How To Identify The Best Content For Your Mobile Learning Project

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw

Just as you can’t build your dream house on a poor foundation, you also cannot create engaging microlearning without solid content. High quality content is the essential foundation for any mobile learning project. It can be challenging to identify the best content for your mobile learning project, so here are five simple steps to help you create successful mobile training that will motivate learners and greatly increase knowledge retention.

1. Consider A Widely Appealing Subject That Interests As Many Team Members As Possible

Targeting a wider audience ensures that your mobile learning project won’t just be deployed to leaders or to floor staff. When you choose a subject that is engaging to senior management as well as new hires, you can create a learning trial that gets feedback and exposure from your largest possible team.

2. Choose Content That Aligns Well With Pedagogy Suited For Mobile Learning

Three such strategies are bite-sized, just-in-time, and self-directed learning. All three fit easily within mobile learning projects.

Bite-Sized Learning

Bite-Sized Learning (also known as microlearning) is eLearning that is delivered in small “bite-sized” chunks. Learner interactions with content are short but, given the right content, can still have deep and lasting impact. Rapid learning allows people to process content at a more flexible pace since they are less likely to be overwhelmed by lengthy content.

Many studies have shown that people have difficulty staying highly focused on a single task for a long period of time. Bite-sized chunks of content allow for less intimidating, more interesting, and more meaningful learning experience.

As more training moves to mobile, learners are beginning to expect quickly accessible online information. Bite-sized learning accommodates the quest for fast understanding.

A recent report by Software Advice showed that 50% of employees were more engaged with microlearning than with lengthier content. At Practi, we have measured that the creation of bite-sized learning is also beneficial for businesses since these  courses can be designed, deployed and completed up to 300% faster than traditional learning.

To adapt this strategy to your mobile learning project it is good to start by choosing short, snappy, worthwhile content. Make sure that your information is not haphazardly divided for the sake of brevity. Chunks of information should be meaningful for the learner. Chunking for meaning helps to create mobile learning that has a lasting impact for maximum learning results.

Just-In-Time Learning

Just-in-Time Learning (also known as JiTL) is informal learning that is accessible on demand, whenever and wherever the learner needs it. Accessing articles or tutorials online, or asking a coworker for his or her advice are examples of JitL. In the workplace, Just-in-Time Learning is particularly useful. Instead of waiting for training days, employees can access knowledge whenever a question arises. This approach reduces unproductive training sessions, where employees are at high risk for being resistant or apathetic.

The JiTL approach also integrates well with mobile learning projects. Mobile offers learners a platform for quick and immediate access to knowledge. They can acquire the knowledge they need without significant interruption, and return to being productive without needing to enter and exit classrooms. JiTL suits mobile learning better than many approaches, since mobile learning enables training to be accessed anywhere, anytime.

Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning (also known as SDL) is learning that people take into their own hands. With SDL, learners evaluate themselves and their progress, and become self-motivated. They set their own goals and seek out resources. Self-directed learning defies traditional learning in a really interesting and productive way. Instead of being passively lectured to, learners become active in their own learning; they participate and navigate their own pedagogical process. The active role of self-directed learners helps them retain information. This approach, like bite-sized and just-in-time learning, is a more natural approach to learning and processing information.

The success with which you can integrate these three strategies to mobile is directly related to the quality of your content. Be sure to choose a topic that is timely and relevant to you learners. Some topics, like recurring refresher courses, are excellent options.

Without the flexibility of mobile, courses that require frequent refresher training run the risk of boring learners. However, these courses present an excellent opportunity for mobile integration. Since many learners are familiar with refresher course material, it can be “safe” subject matter to break up into bite-sized learning. Commonly, refresher course material has also been refined over many iterations of training multi levels of staff which means it can already be in concise, highly readable format.

3. Highly Engaging

Choose something people really want to learn. Consider picking interesting content which can be delivered through mobile training such as leadership skills, or any other specific training that employees frequently request. Be on the lookout for modern topics such as communication skills or emotional intelligence, which are two example topics that can have wide ranging appeal to a broad section of your team.

4. Win-Win

Choose a subject that's a win-win for management and staff. A winning subject should be something that has big business impact, but is also a subject that staff can personally benefit from learning. Time management skills training, for example, is advantageous to staff productivity, but also offers obvious business wins for management.

5. Faster Mastery

Choose a subject that can be learned (to mastery) in a short period of time. Don’t choose to trial your entire IT policy manual in a mobile learning project. Instead, choose a piece of it, such as "how to quickly identify and avoid phishing scams". Better yet, choose something which has timely appeal so that the likelihood of ‘buy in’ from your learners will be high.

Converting Content

Once you’ve chosen a broadly appealing topic that will be a win-win for your team, it is important to prepare to convert this content for mobile delivery. Let’s say, for example, that you are converting refresher training on workplace first aid, and one of the competencies you have identified is that learners should be able to lift heavy objects while avoiding injury.

Three important stages for converting this competency into mobile microlearning are to create active learning exercises that will help the learn discover:

  • Why this matters to them? (Why do I care?)
  • What the guidelines are for achieving competency? (What should I do?)
  • A real workplace scenario that outlines how the competency applies to their job (How should I do it?).

The key is to successfully break good content into relevant competencies and apply simple rules to deliver the training in bite-sized pieces.

After you have chosen your subject area and content, the next step to convert it into just-in-time learning is to outline the expected learner competencies. Competencies differ from learning outcomes since they are written as active statements and outline the specific job performance for which the training prepares your learners. Once you have identified the competencies your training should achieve, your next step is to prepare micro learning units for each competency.

How Mobile Is Different

Mobile delivery is in close alignment with self-directed, just-in-time, and bite-sized learning. It allows for faster and more active learning, and supports quick wins for the learner.

However, it requires different approaches than traditional eLearning or classroom-based learning. There is a social aspect to mLearning, for example. Users are invited to interact with other learners and management, and feedback is not only useful, but necessary for both their own and the company’s development and growth.

In addition, the bite-sized and just-in-time learning aspects to mobile learning also mean that learning objectives are smaller, and learning durations are shorter. Unlike other methods, where learners must sit in front of a screen or in a lecture until they finish particular modules, mLearning allows for learners to access information as they need it, and also to integrate it into practice immediately. Preparing for mobile learning demands different pedagogical strategy than traditional methods. But with preparation and great content as part of a solid foundation, your learners will appreciate the flexibility and convenience that mobile offers.

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