If you are new to mLearning or are seeking ways to enhance its impact, e.g. by using mobile learning for online training, you would have several questions about it. In this article, I answer 10 questions that range from its definition, application, and how you can maximize its impact.
Following are 10 questions answered about adopting mobile learning for online training. Let us begin.
mLearning or mobile learning is self-paced online training that is available to the learners on tablets and smartphones. Typically, the same training would also be available on desktops/laptops helping learners learn on the device of their choice.
Mobile technology has become part and parcel of people’s day to day activities today. The “anytime-anywhere” flexibility that it offers is being used extensively by people to fulfill their varied needs – shopping, finding their way out from a lost route via GPS, looking up for a missing ingredient in a recipe while in kitchen, the list goes on…
The scenario is not too different when it comes to learning. The dynamics have changed and we are seeing an increased adoption of mLearning on account of the following factors:
1. Changing Learner Profiles.
Organizations today are seeing an increase in the millennial workforce in significant numbers. Millennials in general are die-hard smartphone addicts, so much so that a CNBC report states that 93 percent of millennials admit to using their phones in bed and nearly 80 percent of them say they can’t part with their phones in the washrooms too!
2. How Learners Want To Learn.
Learners today want to waste no time in knowing something they want to know. The staggering number of views on the “How to…” videos on YouTube tells you something. A lot of this learning is “just-in-time” learning and this is justified by the fact that YouTube itself has put up a stat saying “more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices”. Today, if learners are in need of something urgent, they are likely to drop in a message in one of their WhatsApp groups or other chat applications (collaborative/social learning). The change in learner attitude in terms of getting to know what they want to know clearly warrants adoption of the mobile learning approach.
3. Changing Learning Device Preferences.
Learners today are seeking the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice. According to a Statista report, the percentage of users owning multiple mobile devices worldwide has grown from 8% in 2011 to 25% in 2016. With advancements in technology, this trend is likely to continue in the years to come. Learners are, therefore, looking to learn seamlessly on the device of their choice and at a time of their convenience.
4. Maturing Of Supporting Tools And Technologies (mLearning Authoring Tools And Learning Management System Support).
In the last few years, there have been significant improvements on the technology front. With the growing demand for mobile technology in the market, many mobile-compatible technologies have evolved. Today, one has several mobile learning authoring tools (which support both Adaptive and Responsive designs) to choose from. The Learning Management System technology has also evolved and is very much in line with the developments being made in mobile technology.
As I see it, to maximize the impact of your training, giving learners the flexibility to learn “on the go” as well as on the device of their choice (tablets and smartphones) is necessary. Consider the following statistics. These (and there are plenty more) numbers make a clear case for adoption of mobile learning.
mLearning is a great fit for all possible training needs ranging from formal training to informal training (just-in-time learning or job aids). It can also be used effectively to foster collaborative or social learning. You can also use components of mLearning to enhance your ILT/VILT sessions.
At EI Design, we have created mLearning solutions for the entire spectrum of training needs including:
Here is my list of top 7 benefits that mLearning or mobile learning offers vis-a-vis traditional eLearning:
Here is my list of 5 aspects that you must watch out for. A careful evaluation of these aspects will help you create an effective mobile learning strategy.
1. Mobile Learning Is Not eLearning Lite.
You must revamp your learning strategy so that it is aligned to the strengths and limitations of mLearning.
2. One Size Does Not Fit All.
Looking at the training, business, and learning mandate, you need to evaluate and select Adaptive (mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, and tablets) vs Responsive (mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones). There are trade-offs in each approach and these must be duly weighed upon before you make the selection.
3. The Same Content And Same Learning Strategy Would Work On All Devices (Including Mobile Devices).
When designing for the mobile medium, the information needs to be broken down into smaller pieces and how these pieces will appear on the mobile device needs to be factored for. Also, the user interaction and design should be such that it works well for all devices with equal ease and intuitiveness.
4. Tablets And Smartphones Both Support HTML5 But The Same Learning Strategy Does Not Work On Both Devices.
A great way to crack this and ensure a similar learning experience is to design your strategy for the smartphone first, then for the tablet, and then for PCs/laptops.
5. Get Your Strategy Right To Deliver A Complete Learning Experience On Smartphones First.
This is very much possible if you factor for the limitations of the mobile medium and design your strategy keeping the user experience in mind.
To be able to address this, you need to first be aware of the traits of millennials, their preferences, modes of accessing information, and what gets them hooked.
You can then design your strategy accordingly, using elements of the way they go about fulfilling their various infotainment needs.
To multiply the impact of your mLearning or mobile learning strategy, you can integrate:
To facilitate sticky learning, you can adopt engaging approaches like Gamification. Also add Performance Support Tools (PSTs or just in time learning aids) that are accessible to learners within their work-flow. These will facilitate the application of learning on the job. PSTs are short bite sized assets that are a great fit for mLearning or mobile learning.
While mLearning or mobile learning uses several engaging formats, the trends you should adopt are:
To multiply the impact, you can:
I hope this article gives you some cues that you can apply in your organization, irrespective of whether you are new to mLearning or are looking for approaches that can increase the impact of your mLearning. In case you have any specific questions, do contact me.
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I work as a Project Lead at EI Design where I develop the visual design for client projects. My focus is to provide end products as per the client’s design and requirement. This puts me in a position where I need to understand core client requirements. I achieve this by communicating efficiently across the different domains that are involved in the project. As a Visual Designer, my focus is to develop eye-catching products that not only capture the imagination of end-users but also enhance their learning capabilities through our innovative technologies.
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My role at EI Design requires me to don multifaceted capabilities, starting from consulting with clients on Instructional Design requirements, strategizing learning approaches and handling presales opportunities as a Solution Architect, managing a domain with diverse skillsets, to innovating and exploring new learning design trends.
Through my journey at EI Design, I have learned to appreciate the value of Learning Innovation, Customer Relationship Management, and the power of Instructional Design in ensuring the required Behavioral Change mandates per end stakeholders. The sheer magnitude of the domain and the impact it creates on the learning landscape is impetus enough to innovate and accelerate every day.
I like to start early and plan my Urgent-Important matrix to begin. The whole day is an artful juggle between a Domain Head and a Solution Architect, with periodic connects with teams and customers. A perfect wrap-up would entail ticking off items in the matrix with tangible outcomes or action plans. Innovation and thought leadership are a constant underlying message in everything I do.
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I constantly contribute to Learning and Development at the organizational level (specific trainings on design trends, best practices, knowledge sharing, and so on.) In addition, I guide and ensure that designers follow design briefs, guidelines, and prototypes in various stages of product development.
I receive my work at the beginning of the week and so I begin my day reviewing the previous week’s progress and then move on to the tasks allotted to me for the next week. On other days, I just go about my tasks according to the priorities assigned to them.
Apart from this, I coordinate with the Visual Design Team to assist with issues such as design variance, alterations, and clarifications. Most of my day is either spent in brainstorming fresh ideas for new projects or helping other domains carry out the functional aspects of our design strategies.
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I work with the Quality Assurance Team at EI Design, co-ordinating with multiple domains (ID, VA, Tech, and VD) to deliver exceptional product experiences for learners. It is my duty to ensure that the developers are equipped with accurate information in order to fix/uplift the product experience. I also bridge the gap between developers/testers and the client to provide clarity on the feedback received from client. In conclusion, I can say that I drive the quality of work generated across domains and monitor the performance of domains, teams, and individuals using Quality Measurement Analysis reports.
My day begins with organizing the activities for the day, checking emails for client responses, and allocating task to my team, depending on the ongoing projects on floor and the deliverables planned. Apart from this, on a regular day, I would receive client calls, conduct meetings, and communicate project requirements with my team and other domains that require my help. At the end of the day, I conduct status checks across all ongoing projects reviewed on the day and assess their progress. This helps me to ensure a high standard in the quality of work generated across all the products at EI Design.
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As a Senior Business Development Manager at EI Design, my main role is business mining, building new opportunities for our business.
I drive revenue for the business and build relationships with clients to expand our business. I help clients solve monotonous training challenges through engaging approaches and ensure smooth transaction throughout the project lifecycle. I am responsible for generating the customer satisfaction survey for EI Design, where I gather feedback from end-users and convey it to the client. I mentor new employees that join the business development domain and ensure that they are aligned to the business needs along with process training.
During my close to 2 years tenure at EI Design, I have helped achieve the committed revenue for the business and retained various clients. With the constant support of my team, I continue to ensure that our clients’ journey through the entire project lifecycle is hassle-free.
Reaching out to clients and presenting the best eLearning solutions is the core of my everyday life at EI Design. I ensure that all customer satisfaction surveys are delivered to clients while also continuing to work on building new business for EI Design. On a monotonous day at office, I ensure to build energy within the team and keep them motivated.
Work till you need no introduction.
I joined EI Design as a Quality Analyst and worked my way up to become an Associate Project Manager. I now help my team plan their daily tasks and provide the necessary guidance to meet project deadlines accordingly.
My role at EI Design involves the delivery of quality products to all our clients and address their concerns and queries through multiple stages of the project life cycle.
A majority of my work deals with managing various project requirements from numerous clients from across the globe. A regular day for me is getting involved in various meetings with team members, and attending client calls. I always ensure that I have a positive approach toward the projects that I handle. The environment around me is reciprocative and the support helps me overcome any obstacles within the project. Even so, it is important that I take crucial decisions at critical moments and ease the pressure off my team and maintain a smooth process flow. Apart from this, we normally take breaks to refresh ourselves and find ways to keep each other motivated.
Every time you come across a challenge you need to face it than avoid it. It will help you grow professionally as well as personally.
As the Project Lead at EI Design, my role involves supporting my team in delivering quality products and managing iterations. I am also responsible for coordinating multiple projects with clients across the globe. I am perpetually involved in supervising and guiding my team through the numerous tasks that come our way. It is my duty to ensure smooth functioning of daily processes and drive my team to deliver quality, while maintaining consistency.
My day at EI Design begins with a stand-up meeting where I assess my team’s workload, create a list of deliverables, and distribute tasks to team members accordingly.
It is my top priority to make sure that the team’s dependencies are taken care of and that there are no obstacles in project deliverables throughout the day.
Even so, there are times when I too would not be able to resolve an issue. But the speed and enthusiasm with which my team responds to escalations is a quality that I admire.
We normally get into discussions to check the difficulties faced by each member and find solutions to avoid them in future.
If you want to grow you must be ready to learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime.
I never knew my journey at EI design would be so rewarding and fulfilling. I have never felt the curiosity and enthusiasm drop over the time I’ve spent at EI Design, mainly due to the amazing work culture that we support. My seniors at EI design have always provided me the support and guidance I needed to grow as a professional. Not only have I been surrounded by brilliant professionals – people that I can look up to and take inspiration from – but there have been so many opportunities for me to develop and progress.
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I start my day with early morning workouts to make sure that I am physically active and carry the same energy throughout the day. Most of my days begin with meetings to ensure that we are on track with ongoing projects. I detail the information provided in these meeting to concerned team members and keep project deliverables on track.
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