Mobile Learning Facts You Didn’t Know As An L&D Manager

Mobile Learning Facts You Didn’t Know As An L&D Manager
Dragos Ness/
Summary: Mobile learning is a reality for all corporate training. In this article, we will present several concepts to consider when incorporating mobile technologies in the adult learning environment.

Mobile Learning: Useful Facts Any L&D Manager Should Know

As a learning manager, you are probably bombarded by many priorities. You also have to make decisions for the future of the organization, so knowing how to avoid mistakes, ask the right questions and pursue the best approaches is critical. While mobile learning has been with us for some time now, many organizations are just now looking at making it part of their learning strategy. What should you know about mobile learning? Here are some facts you may not have thought about:

1. More Than 5 Billion People In The World Own A Mobile Phone [1]

Clearly, mobile technology has made a significant impact on our world. However, does this mean that the employees are ready to learn on the phone? Not really. We need to find out if the company is enforcing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy or if everyone is issued a company phone. Either way, we must investigate if the mobile learning deliverables will function properly on each device. Also, even if testing is successful, we should not forget to look at internet access and connectivity as well. Some of the older smartphones may not be able to smoothly access high loads of data, and some of the deliverables may have to be accessed through the company’s firewall, which may cause problems for devices outside the organization.

2. Mobile Delivery Options Depend On The Content And Audience

The statistics from CLO Magazine may seem surprising, as many learning managers started mobile learning deployment with soft skills, leadership and business skills training. However, we see that compliance training ranks first in the content areas delivered on mobile devices. Why? Compliance training is usually dry, repetitive and boring. Having the ability to complete this training on a mobile device can add some engagement, motivation, and interactivity.

content in mobile

3. About 59.9% Of People Prefer Vertical Orientation To Consume Training Content On Their Mobile Devices [2]

When we think of designing learning for a mobile device, we have the tendency to design in landscape orientation, both because our brain has been trained on PowerPoint slides, and we are trying to maximize the real estate we have for content presentation. However, research shows that most smartphone users prefer to hold their phone vertically [2]. This is a significant design consideration, especially if we are asking for typed input. Also, the screen size of the mobile devices has increased, so we do have more to work with even in portrait orientation.

4. Adults Look At Their Phone 100-200 Times Per Day And Spend An Average Of 4 Minutes At A Time Inside An App [3]

But we still try to deploy 30-minute videos, documents with multiple pages and full-blown, comprehensive assessments in mobile learning. The reality is that we must embrace the shorter attention span of today’s world. Microlearning, bite-sized learning are ideal approaches for mobile learning. Think of “flash cards” for mobile knowledge transfer, create short, easy to digest videos, and the employees will be grateful for understanding the way that they prefer to consume content on their devices during the day.

5. 42% Of New Employees Say They Are Likely To Leave Their Current Job Because They’re Not Learning Quickly Enough

Employees, especially Millennials, expect dynamic mobile learning. In the world of continuous change, it is not a surprise that employees look at the ability to learn and advance in their job as a vital part of their career. Our L&D teams have to be efficient in designing and delivering learning that is easily consumed at the time of need. Of course, mobile learning is the key to achieve this goal. Corporate training should focus on Performance Support through mobile learning. Mobile learning is very suited to facilitating and supporting performance, by providing relevant and reliable resources. The amount of information we have to deal with in our jobs is massive, and the ability to finding and consuming the right information at the right time is as important as learning a new concept or process.

6. Custom Technology Is Not Always Desired, But User-Friendly Implementation Is A Must

There are many mobile learning developers out there. Many of them offer custom applications and features. However, custom features may cause more problems in the long run unless they have been thoroughly researched and tested. If we focus on ensuring that the mobile learning design is HTML5 enabled (native HTML5 is preferred), and responsive, the deliverables will most likely work and look beautiful on all mobile devices. Testing, however, is not optional. So, test, test, test and choose your custom features wisely. The implementation of any mobile learning technology should be very intuitive and easy to carry out. Multiple steps setups, with various logins, instructions, and many downloads are not the way to go. Most of the time, you should be able to use a single link to a full-proof mobile onboarding process. All company’s security requirements, app deployments, virtualization options should be encrypted in the “back end”, so working with a knowledgeable training provider is important.

7. Obtaining Relevant User Analytics For Mobile Learning Is No Longer Difficult

We are always asked to justify the investment in training and technology. Having good metrics makes it easier to defend mobile learning choices. More importantly, being able to track in detail not just the completion of the training, but having insights into who is using each learning, when, how and for how long helps to optimize the delivery align it to specific employee performance needs. The new CMI-5 standard with xAPI allows us to launch and track content without necessarily using an LMS. It also allows for gathering detailed information on any learning experience. We know that most of the learning happens informally. When we need to learn something, we very rarely use the “out-of-the-box” LMS search. We go to the Intranet, or Google, YouTube, a Subject Matter Expert. With SCORM, we have been able to only track learning experiences from the LMS, but xAPI changes it all. Learning happens everywhere, and we are now able to track it everywhere.

We hope that these facts help you design, develop and deploy a successful mobile learning strategy.


[1] How Many Phones Are In The World?

[2] Mobile Learning Stats that Will Make You Rethink Your Training Strategy

[3] 7 Surprising Mobile Learning Statistics eLearning Professionals Should Know