Future of Corporate Training: E-Learning’s New Avatar

Future of Corporate Training: E-Learning’s New Avatar

Consider the scene adapted from an article in Educause Quarterly (Corbeil & Valdes-Corbeil, 2007): Jason, a 29-year Sales Executive of ABC Inc., woke up early Friday morning to download the previous week’s Product X’s classroom training recording as a podcast to his iPod. As he got into his car for the one-hour commute to the customer’s office where he was expected to make a sales presentation, he put on his ear buds and began to listen to the Product Training Manager’s session on how Product X compares with its competitors, feature by feature. The session ended as he entered the parking lot of Star Bucks, where he had planned to meet his colleague, Paula, en route to the customer’s.

Just as he was getting out of the car, Jason received a text message on his smartphone from Paula that she had a question she wanted to discuss with him before the meeting. He pulled out his laptop and backpack before locking the car door. By the time he walked in, Paula was already connected and online at a comfortable table. She was busily transferring the Sales Trainer’s hand-outs from the Product Resources Web site to her pen drive. “How does our Product X compare with Product Y’s higher NiCad battery backup? How do we answer this question? I don’t find anything in the resources available” she asked as Jason sat down.

“I don’t know,” he answered; “Why don’t you go through the FAQ section on the website posted by other Sales Reps? They may have figured out an answer.”

“No time. I’ve got a better idea,” she responded. “Why don’t you text the Product Training Manager? He’s online right now.”

Dr. Davis was on his way back to his office from Product R&D when a familiar chime let him know that someone was texting him. He pulled out his PDA and read the message; with stylus in hand, he typed the response, “Call me.” Ten seconds later, his cell phone rang.


“Hi, Dr. Davis. Jason and I are on our way to a sales presentation and we are having a hard time trying to figure out how to counter Product Y’s better battery backup.”

“Are you in front of your computer?” Dr. Davis asked.

“Yes, we are.”

“Go to the e-learning course on Product X on the LMS and review the section on Power
Back-up. You’ll find what you are looking for there.”

“Thanks a lot,” Paula answered. “We’ll post on the website if we have learnt anything new once we finish the meeting.”

Can we visualize a comparable situation in the corporate world? How do corporate organizations and staff view mobile learning – as a completely new way of learning or as an extension of eLearning? Do they take such learning seriously? Do they feel that they have learned something substantial and useful via mobile learning? What do they think are the current bottlenecks in adopting mobile learning and how do they foresee the future of mobile learning? It would be interesting and useful to learn what’s going on in the minds of corporate learners and stakeholders in case the paradigm is really shifting from a traditional classroom and self-paced e-learning to mobile learning which is less formal and more open, more truncated and more collaborative.

Are we witnessing or going to witness a new revolutionary way of how people at work would learn in the near future?

View Presentation on Effective Corporate Training through a Learning Cycle!