HOW MOBILE LEARNING IS THE FUTURE OF ON-THE-JOB TRAINING
Companies have long struggled to make effective, scalable training for field employees and other workers who aren’t in the office. While a mentoring approach to on-the-job training (OJT) has been the standard for years, it’s difficult to scale and doesn’t work for long-term retention and reference. So it only makes sense that companies are turning to training on mobile learning to give OJT and support tools in our increasingly connected world.
Until recently, companies have had to grapple with a number of concerns about using mobile for training—security, higher costs, extra time spent in development and lack of universal device access. However, the rise of responsive design has made mobile learning more accessible than ever for corporate training, and that’s also opened opportunities for more scalable, available on-the-job training.
Scaling On-the-Job Training
How do you provide the experience, context and nuance gained through shadowing or mentorship, without slowing down growth? Pairing your most experienced employees with new hires isn’t a scalable long-term solution for expanding companies. Mobile on-the-job training gives you the same fundamentals as a ride along in a format that can be made available to all new hires.
Shadowing, or ride along, videos allow you to provide a consistent experience across all new hires, without taking anyone else off the job. By creating instructional videos of someone doing the job, you still keep the experience and other benefits of job shadowing without the draw on employee time.
Mobile OJT videos show an experienced field employee explain and complete job tasks. And they’re in a format where learners can rewind, rewatch or pause as many times as needed. There’s no fear of being seen as unqualified if an employee didn’t get something the first time around. They can watch it again and ask questions in shorter follow-up sessions that require less time from more experienced employees.
Creating a Reference Tool
Traditional on-the-job training isn’t something that employees can go back to again and again. But when your OJT solution is mobile, you don’t have to worry about employees relying on hazy memories or scribbled notes. The answer they need is on their phone or tablet, with no clarity lost to the passage of time.
When you create mobile OJT, you’re also creating a library of information that can act as a reference tool over the long term. Questions often come up long after the ride along has ended, and having a tool employee are able to refer to for correct, easy-to-understand information is invaluable.
On-the-job training that’s mobile has the added advantage of ease of access. Sorting through 10 pages of semi-decipherable notes versus a mobile site menu means your employees will be able to more easily find the information they want, instead of sorting through a huge training binder, previous ride-along notes or calling another employee.
When you’re talking on-the-job training for remote workers or field employees, you almost are never talking about the office. On-the-job means on site, with a customer or someone else waiting on a solution. If you deliver OJT training in the wrong place, wrong way or wrong time, all the training mandates in the world won’t make your OJT more effective.
This doesn’t mean you need to give up. Mobile training is often the solution to delivering OJT to employees who aren’t at a desk. With the ubiquity of mobile devices in the workplace, and the flexibility responsive design offers, mobile means you can still make an impact in the field.
Making OJT mobile allows you to deliver training messages at the learner’s time and place of need. By expanding the availability or access to your training, you’re increasing the likelihood it will be used as well as the impact it will have on the company’s bottom line.
Longer Retention and Greater Efficiency
We know from Ebbinghaus’ famous forgetting curve that retention increases with reinforcement of learning. But traditional shadowing or ride-along OJT is hard to reinforce. It tends to be a one-and-done experience. Information is quickly learned and quickly forgotten.
However, because mobile on-the-job training creates a reference tool for your employees, it also turns into a memory reinforcement system. Information employees don’t recall, they can easily look up. The act of looking something up means they’ll be less likely to need to take that step in the future. Over time you get employees who requires less follow up, make fewer mistakes and work more quickly.
Having more flexible, contextual training offers a number of benefits for your learners in the field. Rather than sitting through long blocks of training at predetermined times, training makes the most impact when learners can access it when they need it.
Of course, this also has a great impact on the bottom line. You can more easily scale in times of growth, spend less time in ride alongs and job shadowing and have more efficient employees. For many companies, mobile is the way to go when it comes to on-the-job training.