This was originally posted on eLearningIndustry on July 22, 2019
Converting Your Training Into Mobile Learning
With reports  forecasting that the U.S. market for mobile learning will grow to $37.6 billion by 2020, it’s clear companies have embraced this new training innovation. And why not? Accessing courses anytime and anywhere is a no-brainer for organizations looking for a quick, convenient way to train their employees. At AllenComm, we know that great mobile learning means more than simply converting your existing courses into a mobile format—you need a strategy. Like any other L&D format, rolling out a mobile learning course without putting much thought into it can frustrate learners and stakeholders, and create more problems than it solves. So, here are our top 5 tips for incorporating mobile learning into your training strategy.
1. Know Your Learners
Just like any other form of employee development, understanding who you’re teaching will help you define your mobile learning strategy. What are the mobile usage habits of your target audience? If you’re trying to reach a demographic that isn’t particularly smartphone-savvy, they may resist or struggle to access training on their mobile devices. Where will they be accessing the content, and do they have the bandwidth required? If your learners don’t routinely have internet access (such as traveling salespeople) or if they’re left to use their own data plans, you may run into some frustration as well. It’s also a good idea to know which devices your learners are on—iOS, Android, or even tablets—and if your company has a BYOD policy, this may require more robust security depending on the content of your training.
2. Get IT Onboard
Once you’ve sorted out a mobile learning strategy that will work for your audience, it’s critical you tackle your IT constraints. Nothing can hurt a great mobile learning platform faster than a lack of IT infrastructure to support mobile technologies or resistance from IT to implement mobile learning technologies into their workload. Involve the IT team early on in discussions of all the technical specifications such as which devices your learners are using, what software will be used (and who will test it), and what security issues can be foreseen. Having a solid tech strategy in place will help you identify issues early on in development, and you’ll have greater success with your program deployment. The smoother everything goes for your IT department, the better the experience will be for your learners.
One of the goals of mobile learning is to create training that can be digested in small amounts as your learner has time—it keeps your audience engaged and motivated as they move through the course (more on that below.) Your training will be far less effective if you merely cut up the original lessons into small, bite-sized ones. Implementing a microlearning strategy for your mLearning courses ensures your training feels fluid and cohesive to the learner. Larger topics should be broken down into key behaviors, skills, and bases of knowledge. Then, create a lesson for each of these functions. Designing your training from scratch as short microlearning courses that all come together to teach a larger topic will feel more understandable and comprehensive to your audience.
4. Give Your Learners Job Aids
Another benefit to utilizing mobile technology: once your employees are done with their training, they’ll still have their devices with them—giving you the perfect opportunity to design job aids that they can download to their device and access offline. A job aid is any tool or resource that provides just the right amount of task guidance and support at your learner’s moment of need. Reference guides that can be downloaded like a digital infographic, an action planner, or a similar resource highlighting key points or procedures can be powerful tools. Moreover, structuring these job aids as rewards for completing a micromodule can help motivate your audience.
5. Gamification & Engagement
Speaking of rewards, recognition and rewards are two common ways to motivate employees. It’s hard to compete with the incredible amount of distractions and outside stimuli that are simply part of today’s digital, mobile lifestyle. But, by integrating gamification into your mobile learning strategy, you create opportunities for learners to participate and be recognized — and rewarded — for their accomplishments. Scores, levels, badges, and leaderboards are all simple examples of how you can blend gaming concepts into your training to increase your audience’s engagement with your content. With these tools in hand, you can foster a more enjoyable experience for your learners as they move through the training process while adding another level of motivation.
As mobile technology continues to change how we live, it’s gaining momentum as a tool for training innovation and flexible learning as well. And as we’re asked to do more and more on our mobile devices, the need for viable, engaging, and effective mLearning will continue to grow. Giving learners the opportunity to train on their own time, on their own devices can yield better results for your company without sacrificing employee engagement.
Find out how to improve employee retention, get measurable results, and transform your work environment with the free eBook Best Practices For Impactful Training.
References: Mobile learning market