Why is Mobile Learning strategic? | eXactls
- Oct 01, 2020
- By Sarah Jenkins
This article aims to explore the topic of mobile learning, which is also known as ‘m-learning’. We will discuss here some of the advantages of mobile learning and why it is a great tool for organizational L&D teams.
Firstly, we will look at why mobile learning is a strategic tool for engaging your employee workforce.
Why is mobile learning strategic?
Let’s look at the reasons.
Ease of Engagement
When you, as a L&D specialist, embark on planning for new employee training programs you may well consider what ‘measures of success’ you will be using in order to judge whether or not the overall project have been met.
Many organizations might consider ‘engagement’ as a crucial measure of success. Certainly, we have recently discussed how important it was for Merck, when they embarked on shortlisting and implementing learning technology. We also discussed in that Case Study how Merck judged eventual levels of engagement with the newly implemented Learning Content Management System (LCMS) technology.
Challenges in engagement
In a LinkedIn, 2018, workforce report, the Number One challenge for learning that L&D professionals gave was ‘getting professionals to make time for learning’. Let’s take this in the context of ‘mobile learning’. So, how do you overcome these challenges or obstacles to engagement? Let’s take a look at each objection that employees might face.
How can you overcome learning objections with mobile learning?
Mobile learning can be done anywhere, on almost any device. Hence, any employee with a tablet or smartphone (or indeed laptop or PC) can access mobile learning at any time. They can do so whether at a stationary desk or on the move. How many employees don’t have access to any of these forms of device? For those, perhaps you have the means to loan the equipment in order to meet training objectives.
Removes time restraints
A key feature of mobile learning is to incorporate microlearning into courses. As our Infographic suggests, microlearning is ‘delivering content in small, focused, chunks’ of between ‘2-4 minutes’, and can be delivered in a variety of different forms, including video, audio and graphics. Accordingly, microlearning delivers learning content in very short amounts of time. Learners who might need a refresher or reminders of particular learning content can do so again, quickly.
Adapts to different learning styles
In many ways, mobile learning suits the diverse needs of the multi-generational workforce.
Millennials (commonly described as those born between 1981 and 1996) prefer ‘informal’ methods of learning, according to a study by the American Psychological Association, and may respond well to video, as their generation have been “inundated with multimedia and they’re all huge multitaskers”. Accordingly, microlearning via mobile learning may be an incredibly powerful way of reaching (and engaging) Millennials with learning content. Add to this that this generation is highly adept with smartphone technology – studies suggest that over 85% own a smartphone – then it makes sense to deliver learning content to them in a preferred way that this group access content – apparently they touch their smartphones ’45 times a day’. Essentially, studies suggest that Millennials “are more likely than other groups to use their phones to look at educational content”.
So, might you assume that Baby Boomers would be less keen on mobile learning than other generations? Let’s take a look at the facts. According to a 2020 study, 42% of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) own a smartphone, but 57% use tablets (a higher percentage than those Millennials using Tablets). Other studies suggest this percentage might be higher (67%). Accordingly, a significant proportion of Baby Boomers would seem to be able to access mobile learning fairly easily. This study suggests that Baby Boomers are not only embracing mobile technology, but are also using it while “actively exploring and learning new things”. Hence, it is best to avoid any pre-conceptions about Baby Boomers not being as adept at using technology.
In addition, some forward-thinking organizations not only put in place well-established (and familiar) ‘mentoring’ programs – allowing younger workers to gain advice from more experienced employees – but also ‘reverse mentoring’. These latter schemes aim to bridge any multi-generational gaps in the workforce. Programs such as these have many advantages for both generations. However, in the context of mobile learning these programs can help support baby boomers. How? By updating them (if they need it) in embracing technology use and understanding new tech trends.
Interestingly, according to Herosmyth, Generation X (those born between 1964 and 1980) spend more time on their smartphones per week than Millennials. Generation X’ers are also most likely (than other generations) to get their ‘news’ from websites and apps vs other sources, such as social media. Naturally, this makes them potentially likely to engage well with learning content delivered via mobile technology.
Should you worry about whether or not Generation Z would engage with mobile learning content? The answer is ‘not really’. Apparently, Herosmyth further advise us that while “45% [of] Gen Z says they’re on their phone “almost constantly;” 61.8% of Gen Z…say they would rather leave their wallet at home instead of their phone”. Add to this the fact that this generation knows that current jobs may not exist in the future, and evidence suggests that owing to this evidence suggests that this generation is keen to learn.
All this being said, it appears that mobile learning can suit the learning needs of Multi-generational workforces with some minor support in place.
Perhaps you might consider some minor personalisation touches to include the right mix of the ‘medium’ through which you can deliver ‘chunks’ of learning content to suit a variety of learning styles. Make it flexible too for all generations, with the use of micro-learning ‘bite-sized’ chunks.
Why is mobile learning better for L&D professionals?
The course creation process required for mobile learning courses is actually getting much easier.
For L&D professionals involved in ‘hands-on’ course creation or ‘authoring’ the courses themselves, then technology advances support the potential streamlining of mobile learning course creation.
Mobile learning and HTML5
Specifically, the emergence of HTML5 hugely supports efficiencies during the process of producing elearning courses. Without getting into all of the technical detail here, essentially, using HTML5 in authoring tools allows ‘authors’ to create courses “that can be accessed anywhere and whenever the learner feels like”, which was previously much more difficult owing to the difficulty with Flash of not being ‘platform agnostic’. Some providers of learning technology, such as eXactls with its LCMS, incorporating its ‘authoring tool‘, are using HTML5 in their authoring tools to allow subject matter experts to create courses for all platforms with much more ease than in the past. This will save huge amounts of time and resources, compared to having to create courses for different platforms.
Mobile learning is part of ‘smart working’
During recent times, owing to the pandemic, you may have had the majority of your workforce involved in ‘smart working’. That is, working remotely, at home, and supported by technology and learning platforms, which make not only learning but regular communications, and ‘informal learning’, very easy for users and L&D professionals. You may already be finding that this way of using learning technology and smart working has yielded a number of advantages. Although your organization may have been forced (by external events) to rapidly adopt ‘smart working’ you may well, like many organizations (of all sizes), located across the globe, be seeing smart working as a more of a permanent fixture for many groups of your employees.
Lastly, we should now have explained why the successes to be had via engagement in your elearning using mobile learning and smart working (which go hand in hand) should be inevitable. Get in touch to tell us about your successes with mobile learning!
To find out more about our award-winning, scalable, Learning Content Management System (LCMS) get in touch for a demo of our project management and workflow functionality, as well as our other ‘all-in-one’ solution features, such as our award-winning authoring, digital repository, delivery and informal learning suite then get in touch for more information or a free demo.