The Who, What, When and Why of Mobile Learning

4 Important Mobile Learning Questions
Summary: Mobile learning has clearly made its mark on the corporate world. With Smartphones being used to access so much content daily, adopting mobile as a training resource was inevitable. But is it possible that some organizations have been too hasty in adding mobile to their basket of performance support tools without really thinking it through?

4 Important Mobile Learning Questions

For any organization exploring the potential of mobile learning, answering the following 4 questions is an important first step.

  1. WHO is holding the mobile device?
    Understanding your target audience is imperative when developing all forms of learning, and mobile learning is no exception. In addition to using mobile, it is likely that many of your employees are gamers. For many organizations that have implemented mobile learning, training that incorporates gaming, increases engagement and enjoyment.Read more about gamification. This type of training may be a good fit for your mobile learning strategy.Final thought: Identify what makes your employees tick and capitalize on this!
  2. WHAT works on mobile?
    Repackaging an existing e-learning course to be delivered by mobile is rarely the best approach. No one wants to read hundreds of words on a tiny screen and, considering recent statistics that we read less than half the content on any webpage we view, there is little point in converting all that additional “noise” so it can be delivered through a mobile device. If you are a first-timer to mobile learning development, think short quizzes, infographics, infomercials, interactive workbooks and job aids, and just-in-time content.
  3. WHEN will I reach people?
    The short answer to this is anytime and anywhere, thanks to mobile devices. Consider where your workforce is based and how much access they have to training materials they have. Do they work in the field or in-house? The nature of an employee’s role should determine when and where you will reach them with your training. For example, mobile or tablet are ideal platforms to deliver training to sales executives who work remotely.
  4. WHY should you go mobile?
    Before mobile is utilized for learning and development purposes, an organization should have a very clear understanding of why it should be used. Is it intended that mobile learning will replace traditional training or e-learning? Or will it be used as a support mechanism, forming part of a blended training solution (this has worked well for many organizations that have tried it).Mobile should be treated the same as any other learning tool. In a learning context, the ultimate goal of using mobile is performance improvement. If you can clearly establish why and how mobile will add value, then it’s potentially a good fit for your organization.Switching to mobile learning or making it a part of your existing training curricula is a decision which must be made carefully. For anyone who has doubts about how mobile can be used to add value in their organization, the following scenarios may help to further explain the benefits of using it:

    • Stan is new to a job in the finance industry and gets a bus into work every day; he usually plays Angry Birds to make the journey go faster. Stan’s manager knows that he plays games on his phone and takes advantage of this ‘mobile time’ by sending him scenario-based games to familiarize him with company compliance policies and regulations.
    • Jessica is a pharmaceutical salesperson, operating in a fast moving industry. Her company knows that she spends a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms when meeting with them to showcase new products. They have provided her with a tablet to pull up information about different drugs before her presentation.
    • Phil travels for work and spends a lot of time up in the air. Working on a laptop is often a challenge because of the minimal space on an airplane. The technology company he works for is about to release a new product, and has converted its product demos to the iPad for him to view during his journey.
    • Sanjeev works for a major retailer and it is his responsibility to ensure everything in the warehouse meets safety standards. His company provided him with a mobile device that enables him to view simulations of what he should be seeing against what he is checking; this makes it easier to ensure standards are being appropriately maintained.

Read “The Benefits of BYOD for m-Learning” for more information about mobile learning and how it could benefit your organization.