Learning for the Mobile Workforce

There is another shift underway with mobile learning. It has been hard to keep up with the roller coaster ride that started its long climb the first time a company pushed learning-related text notifications to people’s Blackberries. We have seen both Android and Apple’s iOS rise to become mobile standards in their own right. We’ve seen phone design shift through QWERTY keyboards, trackballs and buttons to smooth glass surfaces. Desired screen sizes fluctuate every year and we’ve seen tablet adoption rocket past laptops, only to plateau and even fall off somewhat.

mobile learningThe underlying truth is that whatever they look like in the future, people will continue to increasingly interact with the world via mobile devices. This means there is no room for a “wait and see” attitude around mobile learning. The good news is that the shift I alluded to earlier should make things easier.

Increasingly, companies have stopped looking at mobile learning as a separate concept necessitating a separate strategy. Instead, it has become another tool in the expanding learning ecosystem. The death of Flash, the emergence of HTML5, and the wealth of responsive and adaptive platforms has meant the effort required to create effective mobile learning experiences has greatly diminished. Instead, companies are able to build content once, knowing it will work on almost any device.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t unique opportunities available for learning on mobile devices. In Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 Mobile Learning Study, we found that 64% of companies that use mobile devices in their learning programs incorporate the devices’ video camera. Other features unique to mobile devices being used include the camera (43%), microphone (47%), and the ability to make a phone call (32%).

The big takeaway from our current research is that companies need to embrace mobile devices into their learning and not get held up worrying about their formal mobile strategy. I plan to go into the findings of the study in more depth during a free webinar, sponsored by Instructure, on Tuesday, February 16 at 1pm Eastern. The webinar will examine the role of mobile devices in the learning ecosystem and explore some examples.

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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