July 2013
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TD Magazine

The Explosion of Mobile

Monday, July 8, 2013
Editor’s Note: The Explosion of Mobile

During this year, ASTD is celebrating its 70th anniversary. It's the perfect time to look back on what has been and look forward to what could be.


I'm sure we can all admit that technology has changed the way we work, live, and play. I can still remember the typewriter I used to write my papers in high school and college, and the PacMan game that was the craze before Atari games burst on to the scene (the kids of today don't even know what Atari is). What about the maps we carried in our cars to get us to where we needed to be?

The World Wide Web as we know it today came about in the late 1980s, and the smartphones that millions are using today took off in 2002 when Blackberry developed a phone that could accept emails. So when you really stop and look at technology, it's only been about the past decade when mobile learning as a term has taken on extraordinary meaning and given employees the chance to be more productive.

Technology continued to dominate the attendees' discussions during ASTD's 2013 International Conference & Exposition. Many were curious not only about the different channels that trainers can use to disseminate content, but also how to deliver it more efficiently and effectively.

This month's cover story by Sarah Gilbert focuses on the design of mobile learning and admits that the simplicity of creating interactive and engaging mobile learning is gone. "Just click the HTML5 box to convert all of your e-learning courses to mobile learning," Gilbert writes. "Sound familiar? With the boom in using mobile devices as a tool for learning, many of the software companies are marketing a one-click solution for your mobile learning needs." But when you read on, she shows that it is not really that simple.

With many different kinds of devices—laptops, tablets, and smartphones—and various screen sizes, making your learning user-friendly and convenient is a must. In the special section on page 64, Tacy Byham of DDI notes that one trend that surfaced at ASTD 2013 was the need for attendees to harness social and mobile. "Everyone wants to know how to make it happen and since more people are experimenting, we're seeing some solid, effective approaches emerging," Byham said.


Have you used video in your training programs? Have you created learning for mobile devices?

It is time to start seriously examining the training needs of your employees and finding new ways to bring content to them anytime, anywhere. Mobile learning is the new wave of learning—short snippets of information that can help workers gain the skills and knowledge they need, when they need it.

Paula Ketter
Editor, T+D
[email protected]

About the Author

Paula Ketter is ATD's content strategist. Previously, she served as editor of ATD's periodicals.

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