It would not be an overstatement to say that there has been an explosion in the use of mobile devices in the learning field in the last 5-6 years. Tablet devices in particular seem to be in the forefront of this growth as thousands of companies around the globe adapt mobile learning to train and educate their staff effectively. The reasons and drivers for this large – scale implementation of mobile learning strategies across the globe are, not surprisingly, mobility, portability and the ability to deliver learning content to a remote workforce.
The benefits of implementing mobile learning in an enterprise organization are numerous and the potential most organizations have to seamlessly onboard such learning strategies is very high. Many companies have already signed up, and for those who have not, the opportunity to do so and reap the benefits is ripe.
The main advantages of going mobile
As mentioned, the mobility, portability and the fact that you can deliver learning content to remote employees are the main plus points of mobile learning. Companies that are already using mobile learning to improve the skills of their workforce report the following perks –
- Increased flexible access to learning content
- Increased productivity on job
- Facilitate enterprise level change with sufficient pretraining
- Learning content reach is enhanced
- Establish and improve good practices
Another advantage to be noted is that a user can always go to their mobile device to learn a process or skill at the time of need (ad-hoc learning) and this increases productivity enormously.
The challenges companies face while onboarding mobile learning
When surveyed, it was found that many of the companies that considered implementing mobile learning, but later decided against it (or decided it was not the right time to implement these strategies) reported that the initial development and setup and the maintenance costs were the main detriments. Cost is of course a primary concern for businesses, but a secondary challenge was that of varying devices used by staff members and the incompatibility of these devices with the existing IT architecture in the organization.
A lot of companies worked around the latter challenge by supplying their workers with the device and implemented a mobile learning platform this way. Usually a smartphone or tablet is provided for this reason to the employee. Some of the other common challenges reported with mobile learning implementation are as below –
- User safety, security
- Not having the facility to provide technical support for the same
- IT security issues and concerns of breach
- Personal devices and tech used by staff have high variance
Which implementation approach is right for you?
Depending on existing IT infrastructure and architecture, firm size, and other factors, you may want to consider how to implement mobile learning the right way in your enterprise. Some of the common approaches used in the industry right now are
- BYOD – bring your own device
- Provide smartphone
- Provide tablets
As the name suggests, the BYOD approach is where you let the consumers use their own personal device to consume the learning content that the employer can make available to them via an online portal, an app, etc. BYOD approach is seen mostly in large companies with over 20,000 employees, multinational companies and in companies where the practice of mobile learning has already been established for a decade or more. It is the most popular approach.
Obviously, the main benefit of this approach is the fact that you don’t have to spend money on providing the devices to the employees.
This is the most common approach used in mobile learning today. However, the provide device approach is also commonly seen and the benefit there is the minimal variance between devices and so the learning content can be tailored for a device and there is no need to worry about cross platform support, etc.
The top tips for implementing mobile support
When we take a closer look at successful implementations of mobile learning and analyze them, some of the common factors that led to the success are as below:
- Define the goals or objectives
- Make it browser, device and OS agnostic
- Use videos, images and other form of media to make eLearning effective and memorable
- Make the training material interactive using quizzes, assignments, comments section, leaderboards and feedback forms
- Incentivize users to share content on their social media accounts to gain more exposure
- Use a BYOD approach since virtually everyone uses a smartphone or tablet already
- Continually incorporate user feedback and improve content – it should be a continuous, never ending process