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Five Reasons Why Executives Should Care About Mobile Learning

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The world is a busy place, and people’s time continues to become more and more scarce. This is especially true for corporate executives, who are often presented with numerous opportunities that require assessment and problems that require fixing. In many cases, they spend a significant amount of time in meetings being inundated with mounds of information and data that they must sift through to make sound decisions.

With all that is on their plates and all the issues they have to deal with, why would or should corporate leaders care about mobile learning?

Here are five reasons:

1. Mobile devices are always on.

With mobile devices, your employees always have their learning tools/devices with them.

Mobile phones are ubiquitous and pervasive in today’s society. Why not take advantage of  devices employees have with them and use all the time? In many cases, they have paid for the devices themselves, and all you might have to do is help to subsidize a better data plan.

Are you concerned that everyone has a different device and is on a different platform? Fair enough, but there are many ways to overcome this limitation, and most are not as complicated as you might think.

2. Mobile learning is contextual.

Much of the time spent in instructor-led training (ILT) or in front of computers doing e-learning can be replaced by learning while working. Classrooms and e-learning must create an imagined context for the information being taught, whereas, with mobile devices, learning occurs when a real context presents itself.

Think about the difference between trying to create a “what if” scenario for your children as opposed to taking advantage of a “teachable moment.” For a concrete example, consider showing your children a video on how to ride a bike versus actually being there by their sides. I think that all parents would agree that the teachable moments are much more effective.

Workplace learning is no different.


3. Mobile learning is cost-effective.

Considering the time employees spend participating in instructor-led training or e-learning, it is apparent that development costs are only one of the expenses that result from these forms of learning.

That doesn’t make these forms of instruction bad, but when the costs of delivering training are factored in, mobile learning can have a real advantage. In addition, the costs to develop mobile learning rarely exceed more traditional forms of training. In some cases, mobile learning costs can be much less.

4. Mobile learning is reusable.

Think about how much material from a classroom training session is never used again by the people attending the training. Sure, there are often handouts or a binder full of information.

But are those handouts and binders really designed for ongoing use and reference?

In some cases, the answer is yes, especially if the instructional designer has paid close attention to creating solid reference materials. However, the accessibility of information in mobile learning makes creating training that has a life beyond initial use both practical and beneficial.

5. Mobile learning has adaptability and speed.

With properly designed mobile learning, new or updated information can reach your audience almost instantly.

Imagine an SMS text message that alerts your sales force when new product information is released. The next time they log onto the mobile web or native app that contains product information, the new information is downloaded and available to the user. When appropriate, content can be updated behind the scenes with no action required by the learner.

These five reasons are not an exhaustive list, of course, but it should serve to illustrate that mobile learning is not a passing fad or trend that can be easily dismissed or ignored. For executives who are serious about leveraging opportunities as they present themselves, m-learning certainly deserves a closer look.

Editor’s note: This post is an excerpt from Mastering Mobile Learning: Tips and Techniques for Success, co-published by Wiley and ASTD. This excerpt has been adapted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, copyright © 2014.

About the Author

John Feser is the COO and a founding member of Float. Before helping to form Float, John worked for Andersen Consulting and Accenture, helping Fortune 500 clients to deliver value and change for their employees and customers. His focus has been on learning, with emphasis on how the right learning improves employee performance.

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