Modern workers are tech savvy and love to use mobile devices. They are using these devices to consume vast amounts of content for their personal use (YouTube) and professional development (TED talks, Kahn University). For this reason, the L&D world is moving ever more toward mobile learning (m-learning) in efforts to keep the modern workforce engaged in corporate learning, but a recent study of m-learning in Australia and NZ (Skillsoft, 2015: see www.skillsoft.com/apac/2015_report) shows that we still have a long way to go before m-learning becomes the norm.
In the Skillsoft study, only 28% of respondents have adopted m-learning in their organization despite 70% of decision makers recognizing that m-learning enhances business efficiency. The study points to the cost of implementation as the major hurdle for adoption of m-learning (Skillsoft, 2015). If your company is currently considering m-learning as a tool for employee training then keeping the cost factor minimal may increase the success of your m-learning initiatives.
Here are three suggestions on how to get a footing in m-learning without blowing out your L&D budget:
1. M-learning does not require all new content.
It is a mistake to believe that implementing m-learning is going to require all new content to be developed from scratch. It is possible to recycle your current content from face-to-face training courses, product manuals and user guidelines for developing m-learning courses and content. To make these types of content more user friendly on mobile devices, it is often necessary to break them up into shorter modules or topics and use more visuals like diagrams and videos since small screen sizes and download speeds are limiting factors.
2. M-learning video content can be recorded using any video recording device.
Of course, it would be nice to have professionally produced videos for all your m-learning video content, but if keeping costs low is one of your concerns, then consider recording your own in-house videos. All that is required is a camera (even a smartphone camera would suffice), your subject matter expert and a well-scripted interview. As a general rule, keep the videos to 10-15 minute to optimize learning.
3. M-learning can be outsourced.
If you don’t have competent staff to create m-learning content or your team is already overstretched on other projects, then consider outsourcing as part of your implementation strategy. Since a lot of m-learning content is short and in bite-sized chunks, an external e-learning partner can easily and rapidly develop the courses and content for you at reasonable costs. Not only are external e-learning partners experts in the authoring tools to do this, but a good partner will also be able to advise you on how to deliver m-learning content securely to your on-the-go employees through your current LMS or via mobile apps.
The shift toward m-learning in companies is one of the major trends in L&D and will continue to be so into the future, as more and more millennial employees enter the workforce. M-learning provides an exciting tool for educating and developing these millennial workers as well as any employee who wants the flexibility to choose when and where they complete their corporate training, whether it be for upskilling, updating knowledge, gaining professional development, or undergoing compulsory training.
Companies that want to keep and maintain their talent are now investing in m-learning as part of their strategy. Keep your implementation costs low by reusing your existing content. Do not overspend on video development at the start, Outsourcing to an e-learning partner when you require additional hands and expertise can help overcome hurdles to m-learning adoption in your company and allow for a better return on your investment.