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Stephanie Morgan Why mobile learning is here to stay

One of the things I love most about working in L&D is how it’s such a research-driven industry.  Whether it’s scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, tuning into the latest episode of Learning Now TV, or simply talking to clients about recent trends, there’s always something new or surprising to find.

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That’s why I was so excited to delve into Training Zone’s new L&D tech barometer research report.

One of the things that stood out most to me when I read the report was the resilience of mobile learning. It feels like mobile has been around for so long it is almost old fashioned now, but the truth is it remains more important than ever in L&D.

And here’s the evidence to support it: while 41% of survey respondents are already using mobile learning, a significant 31% are evaluating its potential value. Among ‘slow adopters’ (organisations that are more reluctant to embrace new technologies), that figure rises to 45%.

Mobile is clearly a tantalising option for organisations looking to refresh their learning offering.

These findings back up those reported by Towards Maturity in their latest Transformation Journey survey. Here, mobile was listed alongside seven other technologies expecting ‘steady uptake’ by 2020, with 70% of learning leaders investing in it.

So, for a technology that has been around for a little while now, what is it about mobile that makes it so enduring in L&D?


Versatile

Mobile learning is incredibly flexible – it can be used in tandem with so many other types of tech.

Video, audio and social can all come together on mobile devices to deliver a really engaging, visual learning solution. It might, for example, be a set of short ‘how-to’ videos delivered through an app. Or a discussion-led podcast series that can be accessed via a mobile device. You can even integrate social platforms like Slack and Yammer, connecting your people to encourage collaboration.  

And ‘mobile’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘mobile phone’. Portable devices like tablets and laptops also come into the picture – the key is that whatever device you choose to use, the learning will be available to fit your needs.


‘Always on’

This brings me nicely onto my next point: in a digital world where we’re always switched on (or perhaps that should be glued to our screens!), mobile learning is perfect.

We’re always hearing about the influx of so-called ‘digital natives’ in the workplace.

Made up largely of Millennials and Generation Z, these always-connected multi-taskers are more familiar with smartphones than laptops, wanting to access content whenever and wherever they need it.

But it’s not just younger generations who can benefit from this approach. 75% of the modern workforce are remote workers who rely on mobile devices, leading many organisations to adopt a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy.

With mobile devices now playing a central role in the digital workplace, creating mobile learning that can be accessed on the go, anytime, anywhere is essential.  


Self-directed learning

Closely related to this is the power that mobile learning gives to learners to take responsibility for their own learning. In short, mobile learning allows learners to choose what they need most, as well as when they need it.

And this is exactly what younger generations of workers want. Surveys repeatedly show that Generation Z and Millennials want fully self-directed and independent learning opportunities.

As Generation Z are expected to make up 20% of the workforce by 2020, this trend is only likely to grow, so you can see why so many organisations are seriously considering mobile learning.

With mobile, learners have the freedom to learn at their own pace, at a time that is convenient to them.


Efficient

Speaking of time, it is often cited as one of the leading barriers preventing employees from engaging with learning. A report by Josh Bersin found that the average employee had only 24 minutes a week for formal learning.

But mobile learning can break down that barrier in innovative ways.

If AI is incorporated into a mobile app, it can track behaviour and performance trends to intelligently direct the user towards the tools and resources they need to address these gaps and make improvements. 

Alternatively, location-based tech can personalise the learning depending on the user’s location. Using GPS, learners can get more individual experiences based on their location – a key advantage for organisations with a large, globally dispersed workforce with very different learning needs.

This intuitive personalisation saves the user wasting time searching for useful content; instead it is placed in the palm of their hand at the point of need.

*      *      *

There are so many benefits of adopting mobile learning, I could go on all day! But these are just a few of the highlights of what has become a widely used, cost-effective learning solution.

It’s no wonder that so many organisations are ready to embrace mobile learning. If you are considering it too, keep an eye out for our upcoming digital learning whitepaper to get a feel for how it could fit into your learning strategy.

In the meantime, sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to receive the new whitepaper:

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Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning

Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.

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