Business and Technology Insights

A Timeline of Mobile Learning

 
June 13, 2018

Let’s accept it, the world is a completely different place now than it was 10 years back. We now have Big Data, AI, IoT, robotics, nanotechnology, supercomputer, smartphones, and so on. As technology reshapes itself, virtually every other organization tries to make size-able investments into it, to stay competitive. The way organizations ensure that their workforce stays relevant and competitive is through learning. Technological advancement has greatly impacted the way learning is imparted and consumed by people. With advent of smartphones and mobile technologies, mobile learning (M-Learning) has picked up big time.

Ericsson’s forecast (2016) states that by 2021, around 80% of the world’s population will be using smartphones. Another report states that nearly four out of five employees access their work-related documents on the move. This shift in paradigm is encouraging the organizations to focus on adopting mobile learning. Some organizations who are early adopters of this trend are already putting in a lot of effort to make their huge legacy courses mobile-friendly.

What’s in it for corporate learning?

Organizations look to bridge the performance gaps by learning. Top learning companies, who adopted mobile learning are consistently achieving higher benefits and reporting fewer barriers than most. To name a few, mobile learning enables businesses to deliver on-demand, high quality training to remote workforce in a cost-effective way. Mobile learning can play a major role in delivering reinforcement activities, to help learners retain what they learn. The modern content creates higher appeal to millennial learners. Instant messaging and web conferencing tools promote collaborative learning in the organization.

Increase in adoption of mobile devices has resulted in adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies across enterprises – use of personal devices at workplace. Which is a common requirement for knowledge workers operating outside the office environment in industries such as legal, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and so on.

Mobile learning is suitable for both, formal learning as well as performance-support learning, which includes the entire spectrum of learning types, such as induction/onboarding training, compliance training, behavioral training, product training, soft skill training, and application simulation training.

Content – the real pull in M-Learning

Mobile learning is not only about the adoption of technology. Effective content is key to attract and retain the new generation of learners. Smart content enables conversational learning with the use of automated voice messaging technology such as “How to” instructions at the point of use, keeping the learner engaged. Animated mobile content works best, which is more playful and relaxed form of learning over traditional video learning comprising presentations or broadcasts. Mobile learning is simpler and makes the overall experience elegant.

Learner engagement through technology

Advanced technology, such as HTML5 based animations and videos, enable creation of engaging content accessible from various form factors of mobile devices and tablets, taking a step further in empowerment of learner. Also, use of learning design can help to modulate the geo-specific training needs, thus providing real time dashboards and progress to the geographies. And of course, mobile app analytics can play an important part in understanding the behavior of learners. Blending learning with technology advancements is fostering a bubbling environment today, for the learners.

Mobile learning – cutting across industries

Health sector commonly uses mobile learning to refer materials created by instructors. Communicating, interacting, and networking regarding the developments in the field of medicines provides a positive space for collective learning. Mobile learning has gained recognition as it aids access to medical information and resources in resource-limited environment. It can also be beneficial in clinical settings to resident physicians and trainee doctors for accessing information related to patient care on the go. Convenience of medical photography for instant discussion with the experts around the sphere anytime is another benefit of mobile learning.

An apparel retail company has an induction cum compliance program integrated with gamification and supplemented with Performance Support Tools (PSTs) which can be accessed through mobile. The course is developed through six interactive e-learning sessions, which also include interactive PDFs for deep explanatory learning. Customer care executives can complete modules at their pace and have to clear a key challenge at the end of each module to move towards next, which engages and motivates them to learn effectively.

Mobile learning as a concept is growing powerful not only for education, but for business and personal use as well. It can further expand its coverage and attract more learners in near future by innovative approaches such as decision-making complex branching solution, guided exploration, and so on. Mobile learning also can leverage new trends like micro-learning and social learning. Moreover, with mobile technology becoming less expensive and internet access readily available, mobile learning is a norm instead of an exception.

Are you looking at transforming your training to a new avatar? Do share your say on use of mobile technology to provide satisfying learning experience to the learners.

Madhura Gokhale is a Pre-Sales Consultant in the CHROMA - Platform Solutions Unit at TCS. In her professional experience spanning over a decade in TCS, Madhura has worked for various portfolios in core HR spanning from corporate policies and processes, business units, regional deployment and audits. Madhura holds a masters degree in Human Resource and has done her MS in Counselling and Psychotherapy.