What Is The New Mobile Landscape?
Millennials, those ages 18-34, only a few years ago had the largest cell phone use by far, and showed a willingness to ditch traditional internet-accessible devices such as desktops and laptops for the newer handheld technology. As a result it was thought that the use of mobile learning was suited as a specialized tool to reach those who had excluded themselves from traditional forms of learning and considered them outdated. But the new mobile landscape, and thus the mobile learning environment, is ripe for application across all demographics.
Five years ago only 35% of adults owned a smartphone. As of 2015, that number has jumped to 68% and shows no sign of slowing down, despite nearing the saturation point. Applications have become more accessible for those unfamiliar with the medium thanks to more efficient hardware. In 2013, Gartner research estimated that 70% of professionals will conduct work on personal devices by 2018. Given the leap in smartphone use since this study was released, this weighty statistic does not do the current state of affairs justice. There are immense advantages to rolling out mobile learning for all your employees with mobile devices.
The trend of workers performing work outside the workplace is rising. Rates of telecommunication are higher than they’ve ever been, and employees are starting to favor more flexible working hours. With 18% of US workers only working part time, and for many full-time workers leaving the traditional work environment behind, mobile learning fits seamlessly within this shift.
Mobile Learning In The Workplace
The presence of mobile-based learning also sends a signal to employees. With more entrenched adults embracing smartphones, it is not just Millennials who wish an employer would “get with the times”. It has become expected for employers to not only accommodate, but facilitate the use of smartphones and tablets. This kind of policy-making indicates that upper level management cares about their employees’ needs to the extent of expanding their IT budgets in order to provide the best possible work environment. When businesses ignore the habits of the majority of its workforce, that workforce will quickly become unproductive.
Mobile learning is one of the best ways for an employer to express its progressive-leaning approach to the workforce. In many industries, lecture-style classes, boring YouTube videos and uninspiring PowerPoint presentations are still the norm. Using mobile technology to facilitate learning sets a standard of excellence and dedication to the best possible methods, which professional employees appreciate. And appreciated learning is better retained learning.
Most importantly, mobile learning can bridge the gap between work and play.
For the part-time or telecommuting worker, it is difficult to remain up to date on the latest policies and procedures. Mobile learning allows for this ever-growing part of the workforce to stay in tune with the advancements of workplace. It provides the employee unprecedented access to their company outside of the traditional workstation.
Instead of seemingly endless debriefs that take up valuable work time, mobile training allows employees to learn at their own pace. Those who have been in the workplace the longest are most likely to be self-directed, independent and resistant to mundane training on the latest procedure and protocol. Mobile learning tailors training to fit an employee’s needs at the time.
Instead of staring at a computer screen or tuning out during a lecture, the most experienced and valuable employees are able to incorporate new information as it suits them. They know the basics like the back of their hand, and develop their own unique methodologies to get the job done. While traditional learning may provide the tools they need somewhere in the module, the experienced employee disengages by the time applicable information presents itself. With mobile learning, not only is it easier to pick and choose the learning they wish, it is easier to do at their convenience.
When it comes to mobile learning, most of the focus has been on attracting the attention of “flighty Millennials”, not improving the training methodologies of entrenched employees. It is clear the paradigm has changed. As more experienced and deep-rooted workers adopt smartphones and other mobile devices, it is important to not only accommodate their basic engagement needs, but to recognize that mobile training provides an invaluable opportunity to create learning experiences outside the workplace, regardless of generation.
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