Why Mobile Learning Can Grab Millennials’ Attention

Written by Gauri Reyes | May 26, 2015 6:37:09 PM

As learning professionals are expanding the possibilities in mLearning farther than ever before, it’s helpful to rewind and reflect on why mLearning is an excellent learning strategy for the modern workplace.

mLearning appeals to our love of technology. mLearning can lead to increased productivity. mLearning can be engaging because of the creative possibilities this medium affords. mLearning can increase information retention, especially because of the ability to the learning to the job site. mLearning can increase collaboration between people through telecommunication and easy access to social media. But at its core, mLearning is mobile. The basic appeal of mLearning is that learners can carry their learning anywhere.

When you really dig into why mLearning can be so effective in the workplace and then find creative mLearning  applications, you’ll grab the attention of your Millenial workforce, and other generations in your workforce, too. Here are four reasons why mLearning can be so attention-grabbing.

It’s Engaging

TinyHR’s research shows that 35% of Millennials believe their organization doesn’t make good use of technology.

When it comes to mLearning, what’s a “good use of technology”? Simply porting existing eLearning to mobile platforms may not do the trick. Take advantage of the new features in today’s mobile devices: HD displays, GPS integration, state-of-the-art cameras and video recording capabilities, near ubiquitous access to WiFi hotspots, Bluetooth styluses, to name a few. We’ve been conditioned to expect these features over the last few years. But, take a look at that list again objectively and think about our mobile world ten, five, or even one year ago. The recent advances in mobile technology are phenomenal.

When it comes to mLearning, take advantage of those advances to create engaging mobile learning. As a start, include novel use of video, artistic use of audio, inventive use of graphics, and performance support to help learners at the exact moment of need. Consider using microlearning techniques—perfectly suited for delivery via mobile device. Basically, before designing implementing mLearning, really know why the use of mobile technology can make the learning experience more attractive for learners. They’ll sit up and take notice.

It’s Effective

Consider these stats that Mindflash collected after reviewing learner behaviors on LMS platform:

  • Average time to completion of a course is 17 minutes on desktop versus 9.5 minutes on mobile.
  • At the same time, the course completion and passing scores are about the same.
  • Subsequent reviews of course material occur somewhat more frequently on mobile (19%) versus desktop (16%).
  • No significant difference in completion rates between desktop (90%) and mobile (84%).
  • No significant difference in test scores (94% on both desktop and mobile) and percentage who pass (94% on mobile and 95% desktop).

Perhaps learners are more focused when learning on a mobile platform? More data is needed for a definitive statement. However, clearly learning on a mobile device is as effective as learning on a stationary device.

It’s Collaborative

88% of Millennials prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one, according to Jamie Gutfreund of the Intelligence Group. A study by Millennial Branding found that Millennials are connected to an average of 16 co-workers on Facebook, so presumably Millennials are willing to let work (or, at least, co-workers) into their personal lives, and vice versa.

Take advantage of the willingness for multi-channel communication and collaboration, and build conversations into mLearning. Videoconferencing, microblogging, document sharing, and old-fashioned phone calls integrated into mLearning keep the learning conversation alive.

It’s Convenient

At its heart, mLearning is convenient.

Millennials want flexibility and improved work-life balance. More than 25% of Millennials work more after having children (compared to 13 percent of Gen X’ers and 16% of Boomers). In a study by Viacom, 81% of Millennials believe that they should have the option to set their own work hours.

Shouldn’t people have the option to complete training anytime, anywhere and have the training be device agnostic? Sure, there may be deadlines to complete training. But as long as those deadlines are met, why not give people more choices and personal control over their time?

Who Wouldn’t Want All This?

When training millennials, the content you create needs to be relevant, engaging and accessible. mLearning adds that layer to the training and gives it something any generation likes: convenience.

Convenience in learning implies increased course completion rates—and, if the learning is well-designed, then course completion implies increased learning. The Millenial generation is completely open to the benefits of mLearning. And, by extension, so are all the other generations in the workplace.

After all, who doesn’t want all these options for their own personal development? Just because Gen X’ers and Boomers didn’t grow up in a digitally interconnected world doesn’t mean they don’t see value in mLearning. In this case, what works for Millennials can work for anyone engaged in the modern workplace.

Gauri Reyes is a talent developer and learning leader with extensive experience in roles ranging from software management to managing the learning function in organizations. She is Principal Learning Strategist and CEO at Triple Point Advisors and Founder of the YOUth LEAD program. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.