Mobile Learning has quickly become one of the most discussed topics in the corporate training world. Nate Chai, Director of Design Consulting at Allen Communication, shared some of his insight into the mobile learning trend.
There are two reasons that companies want to invest in mobile learning:
1. To Jump on the Bandwagon
These companies don’t want to miss out, they want to jump into the mobile world but they don’t quite know how to do it.
2. To Add Value
These companies truly understand the value that mobile learning can add. They want to harness what mobile can offer such as expanding reach, improving better results and reaching their audience with a portable, convenient technology.
When should a company invest in mobile learning instead of going with more traditional methods?
Mobile is not always the best choice. Some training is better left to desktop delivery depending on the content. Mobile learning should focus on providing quick access content that can be referenced when the user needs it Learners needs should be strongly considered, including accessibility and delivery of information.
Once you’ve decided you want to invest mobile learning what are best practices for ensuring it is effective and engages your learners?
Be certain that the course is based on sound instructional design. You must convert, augment and replace training instead of just duplicating it into a mobile format. Convert job aids, provide manuals in PDF and make any charts interactive on mobile devices. Augment by creating engaging introductions for your training segments, include forums for social learning and integrate action planning mobile checklists into your program. Replace self-study formats with mobile self-study that includes note taking on-the-go. By making sure you invest correctly the first time you will generate great results and excitement, setting the stage for future mobile learning initiatives.
When is mobile learning unsuitable?
It really depends on how it is structured. For example, if an electrician is on site and needs to reference training, it’s not effective for him/her to retake a 15 minute course on a mobile device. A correct way to integrate mobile learning is to offer a referenceable interactive graphic with the ability to zoom in on different wires from the mobile device.
Here are 3 examples of how Nate has helped organizations to use mobile learning effectively:
1. Consumer Education
A company’s products are technologically advanced. Their customers dread reading long manuals and often bypass it. They have developed simple “How To” videos that teach their customers products setup, safe practices, and tips. The videos are sharable and easy to view from any mobile device. This leads to more happy customers who use the products to their full potential.
2. Creative Compliance
A bank’s employees must complete a risk management compliance course. The lengthy course includes many scenarios and technical terms and is delivered on a desktop device. The learners remember big ideas but many details are lost over time. A mobile learning project allows employees to access a searchable index and glossary so that weeks after they have completed the compliance course they can quickly access the reference tools that complement their learning.
3. Retail Training
A retail chain has young employees; we call them millennials in the L&D world, in various locations. The training is done in levels within a general timeline. However, it is difficult to track completion and engage their audience. A mobile learning app is developed that includes product overviews and an action planning wizard to help employees and managers track progress. The content and accountability tools ensure they every employee has been fully trained while engaging the young learners at their point of need.
Each example is much more than simply duplicating a training course onto a mobile device. “Mobile learning is a fundamentally different way of getting points across. You have to respect the media and play to its strengths,” said Nate Chai. “Companies need to see the big picture and develop a whole new strategy for mobile.”
Learn more about mobile learning.
Christopher Pappas is the Founder and Owner of the eLearning Industry LLC “eLearning Ecosystem”.