Why Organizations Cannot Ignore mLearning?

Why Organizations Cannot Ignore mLearning?

Why Organizations Cannot Ignore mLearning?

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.

  • Mark

    Whilst I broadly agree with this statement that newer learners have grown up with devices and are better equipped to use a mobile environment. I cannot help but be a little uncomfortable with this paradigm shift. This is from someone creating a medical curriculum with 40 modules focused on a mobile strategy!

    Learning certainly needs to be modular, 30 minutes was the traditional length of a module. These days it needs to be less. Sales People like less than 10 minutes of consumable learning. Kids like less than a minute! I heard recently that the attention span of a regular kid was 18 seconds! Can’t recall where I heard that but the fact struck an accord! Just observe the average kid and how they operate their smartphone.

    In terms of learning only a limited amount can be accomplished using a mobile strategy at this point. Interactivity is limited and as such educational interventions need to be minimal, if at all. Not always a bad thing, how many times I have been held captive by the latest eLearning at work that expects I click everything on the page before proceeding!

    That said, it limits the better quality learning simulation for instance and lacking that sophistication of design provides another series of death by powerpoint style learning interventions, just on the latest fad technology.

  • Dear Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on mobile learning. You are absolutely right about the limitations of mobile learning. It certainly can’t match the capability of a regular eLearning module. However, given the portability of mobile devices, it can be effectively used in certain scenarios particularly in cases of individuals who spent more time on the field than on their work desks. If there are no other options available, mLearning can pitch in to fill that void – particularly useful for just-in-time and just-enough learning.

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