Gear Up for Mobile Learning

Mobile is everywhere. We all know this intuitively as we walk down the street or at the mall or at the airport, and observe people looking down at their mobile devices. Mobile stats are staggering. For example, there are six billion (87% of the world’s population) mobile subscribers, 300,000 apps developed over the past three years, and 1.2 billion people access the web using their mobiles. In fact, IDC research shows that by the year 2015 mobile access to the web will be more popular than accessing the web with laptop computers. There are mobile conferences (including one dedicated to mobile learning), heads of mobile job titles at various companies, and a growing number of scholarly research articles on mobile learning.

Mobile Learning on an iPad

The Design Challenge

More people are working remotely than ever before and mobile workforce productivity is skyrocketing. Your employees are likely going mobile. And when they are at work, they use their mobile devices to check Facebook, personal email, and news stories during down times. Moreover, mobile workers carry an average of 3.5 mobile devices. The challenge for learning experience (LX) designers is to figure out a way to meet people where they are, which is more and more, on mobile devices, and to design learning experiences accordingly. Another challenge for the LX designer is to overcome the notion that 58 percent of mobile workers expressed frustration access corporate applications (which includes learning) that are not optimized for smartphones and tablets.

So how can we meet our mobile workforce where they are and provide mobile learning experiences that are easy to access and that help them perform better?

Mindflash Mobile

Mindflash has just made this easier by adding new functionality to enable Mindflash designed courses to be optimized beautifully on the iPad. Now, you can design learning experiences for employees on-the-go that are easy to access, interactive, and beautiful. Furthermore, by making engaging learning available to employees anytime and anywhere, you may actually see increased completion rates because more employees will want to complete the training.

Perhaps some of you are asking, “Why should I care?” Well, perhaps, if everyone in your company works in the same building you shouldn’t care. On the other hand, if you have remote employees, traveling employees, sales professionals, or consultants, you should consider designing mobile learning solutions. If you do not know whether you have such a mobile workforce, consider whether you have employees who engage in the following activities:

  • A sales person pulling up the latest details on a (potential) client’s situation right before walking in the door.
  • An engineer listening to an audio version of the latest white paper from another group while driving or taking the train to work.
  • An executive finishing a compliance course on a plane away from the usual distractions.
  • A learner answering a quiz question at a convenient time.
  • A procedure being filmed for later review.
  • Accessing a troubleshooting guide while visiting a remote site with a problem.

This list of activities comes from an excellent book by Clark Quinn called Designing mLearning: Tapping into the Mobile Revolution for Organizational Performance. It is an excellent book that I recommend highly if you have any aspirations to design more mobile learning.

The point here is that even if your workforce is not “mobile,” you likely have employees engaging in activities in which their lives would be better if they had access to the right learning and resources when they need it and where they need it. That is what mobile learning is good for, and what Mindflash can now help you deliver.

Designing Mobile Learning Now Accessible

There is no doubt that mobile is here and that we LX designers need to understand this trend and the behaviors it drives in our employees, so we can continue to provide learning experiences that help our audiences perform better. Fortunately for us, Mindflash has now made designing mobile learning easy and accessible. In future posts, I will address design ideas that will help you optimize your learning designs for mobile delivery.

 

Bill Cushard, authorblogger, and learning experience (LX) designer, is a human performance improvement (HPI) leader with extensive, in-the-trenches experience building learning organizations in start-up and hyper-growth organizations like E*TRADE, the Knowland Group, and Allonhill. You can follow him on Twitter or on Google+.