There is a lot of talk about mobile learning or mLearning. Within a relatively short span of time, it seems to be widely discussed topic in the online forums and discussions. Is it a passing fad as is the case with any new technology or is it actually relevant particularly in the training and learning context? Let us see some of the factors that have contributed to the growth of mLearning in recent times.
Growth of mobile technologies: Over the last decade, information technology including the mobile technologies has grown exponentially. This has transformed the way we do business or conduct our personal lives. Employees today consider smartphones to be an integral part of their jobs. They are increasingly expected to use their Smartphones for work-related purposes such as sending emails, texting messages, making conference calls and so on. What used to be a voice exchange device has tranformed to being much more. Using it for training purposes is only the next logical step.
Changed learner preferences: The younger generation has practically grown using these digital devices. They take to these gadgets is just like fish takes to water. They already use these devices for informal learning and therefore using it “formally” in a learning context is but a natural progression. The need to communicate to learners in the medium that they prefer also has popularized the concept of mLearning.
Increasingly mobile workforce: Organizations have expanded globally and their workforce is spread across the globe. Certain employees such as sales or service personnel are increasingly handling larger territories necessitating being away from their workplace for long durations. In such situations, capitalizing on the opportunities provided by mobile technologies for training and learning purposes seems logical as it gives them the freedom to learn or get trained on the move.
Technological changes have greatly influenced the way we seek information and learn. Greater mobility among workforce across different geographical areas also propelled the concept of capitalizing mobile technologies for training. As a result, smartphones and other mobile devices are being increasingly explored as additional tools for training.
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Scenario-based online learning courses help learners involve in learning as they can relate themselves with the situation. Scenarios can be used to present real life situations that the learners are likely to face in their job role and improve their problem-solving skills.
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I believe that (the) educational process has two sides – one psychological and one sociological. . . Profound differences in theory are never gratuitous or invented. They grow out of conflicting elements in a genuine problem. – John Dewey, In Dworkin, M. (1959) Dewey on Education
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Knowledge is power – Francis Bacon
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Jim is a sales manager in a leading multinational company. His responsibilities include meeting sales targets, training and assessing the performance of new employees and reporting results to the senior management. Recently, he hired talented people from various prestigious institutions into his team. After providing 4 months of rigorous training, he expected them to perform well. But, after 3 months, Jim realized that his team is underperforming and are not reaching the sales targets. Productivity was taking a hit, and this worried Jim. He tried to find the reasons for the dismal performance of his team. After speaking to some colleagues, he understood what the problem was. Jim realized that his training was not very effective because it did not align with the profile of his sales people who belonged to Gen Y.