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.