Mobile learning, or mLearning, helps drive corporate training program success. Mobile learning holds a number of key advantages for ensuring organizations meet business development goals. Employees can access training materials when they need it, and the delivery methodology ensures learners acquire information and retain skills. Mobile learning also increases quality of learning, allowing learners to develop skills at any time and from any location, in essence, encouraging more learning. With effective deployment for microlearning opportunities, smaller, bite-sized learning activities mean learners can quickly access the information and acquire skills.
Organizations can adapt eLearning courses to mobile platforms or generate support content to deliver resources at the point of use. Organizations can deploy mLearning through 1) a mobile optimized website instantly giving learners the ability to access training, or 2) a native mobile app.
While organizations must consider factors like responsive web design, HTML5, BYOD, accessibility and security, the authoring tool selected is also a significant factor. Corporate training should involve these steps for effective mobile learning deployment:
- Selecting the app. Employees already employ mobile devices to stay connected, using social media apps, texting and email. Organizations can take advantage of this usage to drive learning. When selecting an mLearning app, two options exist: a web app or a native learning app. With a native app, learners can get access to the training with or without an internet connection, a key benefit to choosing this option. Native apps allow organizations to download the content, which is then stored on the individual device. A web app does not allow for
- such storage. Every time the learner logs on, the training is downloaded, and as such, requires internet connectivity to run.
Delivering support. In formal instruction environments, learners also need performance support. In the form of a reference guide, organizations can provide performance support so that employees can access the resources while using the mobile application.
- Tracking activities. An advantage of choosing a mobile tool that is compliant with SCORM – sharable content object reference model, or the specifications and standards for electronic learning – the company can track all activities with which learners engage and identify the performance support that’s used most often. When designing additional materials for support, organizations can use the feedback to drive efficiency.
- Planning for the inevitable. One of the disadvantages of mobile learning is that, across the board, users tend to get distracted by other content. With other apps running on mobile devices, such as Facebook and email, learners may see notifications pop up on their screen – and opt out of the training materials. In these cases, the training material should be able to “remember” where learners drop off, and allow them to continue the training later on, and even on other types of devices.
- Getting inspiration. Organizations should explore how other companies use mobile learning. For example, the International Red Cross employs first aid training on a mLearning platform, providing wider access to the materials and immediate access to information when it’s most critical.
Giving employees access to performance support training and learning materials through mobile devices is an effective way to develop an mLearning strategy. Built on a foundation of other formal corporate training opportunities, mLearning performance support encourages the application of information learned in onsite training programs and provides valuable reference materials for real-time scenarios.