Using Change Management For Mobile Learning
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Change Management For Mobile Learning: Why Change Management Is Essential To Your Mobile Learning Strategy

By now, most directors of Learning and Development have at least started to consider whether to introduce mobile learning projects into their training programs. It is estimated that by 2020, 75% of the workforce will be of millennial age which means that the demand for paperless, ‘zero classroom’ and ‘zero lecture’ learning will push traditional training methods aside and usher in a new era of data-driven, mobile learning.

However, the move to mobile is no small technical transformation. It includes many complex decisions and preparations including device choices, user policies, privacy and more. Therefore, proper change management (CM) methods are crucial to helping you implement a successful mobile learning strategy.

Too many organizations choose not to use change management for mobile learning projects, and many even avoid or refuse to adapt to mobile technological advances. After trying out mobile learning, some teams revert back to old behaviors even after changes have been implemented. Unfortunately, this can doom the remainder of their mobile learning projects to failure.

With so many potential benefits and successes arising from mobile learning, it is essential to transition your learners smoothly (and lastingly) through change management. In fact, according to recent research, 70% of today’s workforce learners feel more motivated when training on a mobile device, and while on their mobile devices, learners complete course material 45% faster. Those are solid reasons to start making the move to training on mobile.

Understanding Change Management

Change management has recently gained a lot of popularity, although its definition sometimes remains a mystery. In general, change management can be summed up as the practice of implementing structural change smoothly in a lasting and engaging way to support potentially resistant learners.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a small project of 20 employees or whether you are part of a global Fortune 100 company, everyone can make good use of change management.

Not only is change management valuable to training within any small or medium business (SMB), but it is especially essential for any mobile learning project success. CM increases the likelihood of end user engagement, and it helps to lower fear and resistance by communicating the benefits and purpose of the change.

Every change management strategy is different, as it caters to different company cultures, individuals, and projects. A common and successful CM strategy, however, is to support learners throughout the entire process of change. It can also be useful to prepare learners for change before the process begins by gaining support of stakeholders and the leadership team and also by reinforcing their learning through feedback once the change is implemented.

You may already have CM strategies in place such as a model like ADDIE. While ADDIE pertains to learning and development in many industries by providing a model for efficient, quality training, it has been criticized for its rigid linear approach.

In order to align your already existing change management methods with a new mobile learning project you should assess which CM method you already have in place, analyze its application to a mobile learning project, and decide if it needs amendment.

The most important part of choosing a CM method to support a mobile learning project is to find something that offers continuous support, guidance, and assessment for your leaders and learners, especially as it applies to the challenges of a new mobile learning project.

3 Ways To Use Change Management For Mobile Learning

At Practi, we incorporate a proven successful method to apply change management principles to mobile learning through a 3-step model of preparing for, managing, and reinforcing change.

1. Prepare The Organization For Change

Identify individuals within the organization who can champion and support the transition to mobile learning. Then communicate the benefits of change to these stakeholders and potential Change Champions. Supporting Change Champions through training and communication is a proven path to success because it helps to align the change champions with the organization’s goals and keeps them motivated to advocate on behalf of the benefits of mobile learning.

2. Manage Change

Once the change to mobile learning has begun, provide continuous support to the learner group. Communicate through email and send them tutorials on how to navigate the software you have chosen for mobile learning deployment. Provide technical support, and collect survey feedback on course content and overall learning experience. Through learner support initiatives, you can even convert Change Champions into Super Users.

3. Reinforce Change

Just because change has begun implementation doesn’t necessarily mean that the change will stick.  In order to ensure that your new mobile training project is a success, your learners must be supported through the entire process. Some ways to provide such support include gathering feedback after the course through surveys and analytics. By gathering this information, you can identify possible course improvements, and discuss the successes or challenges that learners encounter. Real time and aggregate learner analytics measured by software like Practi can help Learning Directors to recognize the strengths, weaknesses, knowledge gaps, and learner areas of resistance that will also help you focus on continuous improvement.

The Role Of Change Champions

Change Champions are valuable team members who can help to implement a change management strategy. They support the CM’s integration, aligning it with the company’s goals by “championing” the change through their example. They are also the first people to work through the mobile learning project and they can become trusted role models for learners.

It is important to choose Change Champions who have exceptional communication skills and are respected by their peers. These individuals will become people who your organization will  trust to provide valuable feedback that can be used to improve your ongoing mobile learning projects.

You team of Change Champions can also be trained to become Super Users of mobile learning software such as Practi. Transitioning people to this role strengthens their leadership and helps to reinforce change from inside your organization.

How To Choose And Create Change Champions

Communication is vital to transitioning leaders into Change Champions. To execute this successfully, these team members should be made a part of the entire process as you move toward mobile learning. Potential Change Champions should be educated on the importance of their role, the benefits of that role, and the importance of your mobile learning strategy. Not only does your entire learning team benefit from this transition, but the role of the new Change Champions allows them to strengthen their positions are leaders, helps them to network across their company, allows them to learn new technology, and increases their problem solving and communication skills.

Using Change Management To Wrap Up A Winning Mobile Learning Project

According to recent Harvard research, companies who succeed at new learning projects do so by incorporating an intentional change agenda. When companies work with individuals and teams to form Change Champions, they are more likely to change the true primary target which is the company itself. Corporate change requires unit by unit change. In the case of the move to mobile for training, this change is long overdue.

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