Mobile learning is the key to effective learning and development today. Is your organization struggling to keep pace with its learning needs or engage young learners? A mobile learning strategy is an ideal solution.
If you’re new to mobile learning (or “m-learning”), or if your organization is considering launching a mobile learning program, you’ll have a few questions. We’ll break down all the benefits of mobile learning, for you and your employees. Plus, we’ll look at best practices to get the most out of your mobile learning strategy.
Mobile learning refers to training content designed to run on mobile devices. Your company’s trainers (or employees) create learning content and share it with others via an online platform. The learners at your company then access the content on their mobile devices.
Considering how much we rely on our smartphones and tablets today, mobile learning is a must-have for any modern business. Without it, your company will be out of touch with its learners’ preferences. Now that we know what mobile learning is, let’s look at some mobile learning benefits.
If you’re an employer or L&D professional, you know how challenging it can be to provide up-to-date, on-demand training content. It’s also challenging to keep learners engaged. This is where mobile learning can bring major benefits — for both employers and employees.
Here are the main benefits of m-learning for employers:
Employees also enjoy many advantages of mobile learning. Here are some of the main benefits:
Our experts created the ultimate guide to help you select an authoring tool that fits your organization’s needs.
M-learning comes with both advantages and disadvantages. While it opens up lots of new possibilities, there are also potential setbacks. While we’ll cover the best practices later, here are a few limitations of mobile learning to take note of:
Now that you know what mobile learning entails and the benefits it can bring your business, let’s talk about how to set up a mobile learning strategy. Here are some steps you can take:
Mobile learning can be used to achieve a variety of goals. That’s why it’s important to first identify what your business wants to achieve and how mobile learning will help you. From there, you’ll have a clearer sense of what types of mobile learning content to create.
While more and more people are owning smartphones and becoming mobile-ready consumers, it’s still important to do your research on who your targeted audience is and why mobile learning is the best way to communicate with them. Once you’ve identified your audience, gather information on their habits like whether they use smartphones or tablets more, what they use their devices for, and how often.
Once you know who you’re creating content for and why, you can start determining what tools you’ll need to deliver your strategy. For example, you might want to use an LMS’s built-in authoring tool. You could also use a separate authoring tool like Easygenerator that automatically optimizes content for mobile viewing.
Next, it’s time to create effective content. Here are some mobile learning best practices you can apply:
It’s easy to get lost in the creative process of designing a course on a desktop or laptop screen. But be mindful of how much smaller mobile screens are and how that affects a learner’s experience. Previewing your content in mobile view regularly will help you keep it in check.
Creating user-friendly content seems intuitive when it comes to digital content in general. Still, remember that user experience varies greatly between desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Consider testing your content across these different devices by scrolling through them and even rotating mobile devices for landscape previews.
Mobile users have a much shorter attention span than those scrolling through a laptop or desktop screen. Keep your courses short with concise copy and bite-sized information. Similarly, keeping your graphics simple can make for an easier scrolling experience too. This doesn’t mean you should rush the content design process. Instead, it’s about creating short content that still makes for a meaningful experience.
As mentioned previously, mobile learning requires an internet connection. At the same time, one of the major conveniences of mobile learning is the ability to access content anywhere. Enabling offline access to your content will allow mobile users to continue benefiting from the m-learning experience even if they’re disconnected from the internet. One way you can do this is by making your content downloadable in a PDF.
The content optimization process doesn’t necessarily end as soon as it’s published. You’ll likely continue gaining insights on how your learners experience your mobile content, and it’s important to be ready to tweak it as needed. Leveraging data on your learners’ activity—like through an LMS or an authoring tool’s learner report features—can help paint a clearer picture of your user experience. For example, activities like whether a learner completed a course and, if not, where they clicked out can shed light on how easy it is to interact with your content on a mobile device.
We know that m-learning occurs on mobile devices. But besides that, how is it different from e-learning?
In short, there are a few key differences distinguishing one from the other. Here are the main ones:
As we’ve covered, mobile learning is intended for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This not only affects the size of the screen content appears on but also how accessible it is. An m-learning user could be leaning back a couch, scrolling through their phone. An e-learning user, on the other hand, is most likely sitting at a desk, where their laptop or desktop computer is sitting.
For the same reason, the amount of information a learner gets from m-learning vs. e-learning varies. Mobile learning content is usually delivered in bite-sized chunks of information, making it easier for someone using a small screen to process key takeaways quickly. While e-learning content can also be delivered concisely, it’s more suitable for full courses that provide a more thorough overview of a subject, divided into multiple chapters or sections.
E-learning modules tend to last at least 20 minutes, while m-learning content should be consumable in half the time. This makes m-learning better suited to provide quick pieces of information in a learner’s exact moment of need, and therefore, a suitable format for Performance Support. Ultimately, this means m-learning users are more likely to apply their newly acquired knowledge much sooner after learning it than an e-learning user can.
Despite possible setbacks (which can easily be overcome if you choose the right software), the benefits of mobile learning are too powerful to ignore. If your company is ready to fully modernize its learning and development activities, then it’s a must-have. It gives you a fast, cheap, and interactive way of educating the workforce of the future. These are young learners who are used to accessing on-demand information on their smartphones and expect to do that at work too. Just remember to choose your platform or authoring tool wisely, and soon you will be benefiting from all the advantages it has to offer.