New Leader, New Learning

Our workforces are going Millennial, and our learning strategies need to go mobile.

Millennials – whether rank-and-file employees, high-potentials or those already in leader roles — know no other way to gather or share information, communicate and collaborate, or build their knowledge if they can’t do it via a mobile device of their choice.  With Millennials comprising about 40% of our workforces today and that number expected to rise to 75-80% by 2025, we forecast the global corporate mobile learning (mLearning) market to grow annually at a rate of 15% on average over the next five years.

Senior learning and business leaders get it and tell us they are planning to significantly increase their use of mLearning solutions over the next year.

mlearning increase
Source: 2015 Brandon Hall Group State of L&D Study (n=302)


What is mLearning?

mLearning is not eLearning on a mobile device.  mLearning refers to technologies and applications installed on mobile devices to facilitate learning, reference, and exploration of information useful to the learner at that particular moment or in a specific context. Think of it as “right here, right now, on-the-go learning” aided by mobile technology.

Making the Move to mLearning

Transforming your learning to a mobile strategy is no overnight exercise. It is a full transformation from pushing content to learners who are often bound by the time and space of an instructor-led class, to enabling Millennial and other leaners to control their own content. They pull information for themselves in an anytime, anywhere fashion exactly and in just the amount they need from any mobile device they want.

You know you’ve turned a corner on the transformation effort when your learning is a user-centered and generated experience controlled by the learner with the learning team’s function being more of content curator than a content developer and provider.

3 Tips for Getting Started

Mobile technology, devices and tools create new opportunities for learning that improve employee performance, productivity, and communication. Creating an mLearning strategy can be jumpstarted with these 3 tips:

  • Content — keep it simple. Mobile devices simply do not accommodate text heavy, lengthy, and dense content. Start with a select few resources and keeping content short, visually heavy, on-demand. Navigation should be simple – very simple.
  • Collaboration – ensure it is available. Enable synchronous communication and connectivity. Leverage mobile technology and devices to facilitate interaction between and among peers, senior leaders, mentors, coaches, and other experts.
  • Tools – decide which mobile technology you will support. mLearning can certainly start with a limited version of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). You will do yourself a favor by identifying the initial few devices on which you will support the initial and limited content.

The bottom line advice is just do something – get started. Start small by identifying a little bit of content to deploy on a few devices. And then do it all again adding a bit more content and another device or two over time.

Like any transformation, getting it all right the first time is very likely not going to happen. Your best bet is to get that first mobile app deployed and plan to iterate it after launching. That’s OK! In fact, your Millennials will be glad to tell you how it should work and help you shape it more closely to match their needs. Making content available that they can access on-the-go will make them happier and more productive than forcing them to attend class when and where you choose to offer it.

Using mLearning

The list of mobile learning uses is long. The data I shared earlier shows that mLearning organizations are using it successfully in at least three ways:

  • As part of a formal learning solution. Accessing content that was initially delivered as part of a formal training solution increases retention and aids application of new knowledge, information, or skills.
  • To access information. Learning in the moment, at the moment it is needed — often through videos and social chat sessions — empowers learners to make better decisions.
  • As performance support agents . Accessing procedural, how-to information using smart phones or other mobile devices improves learners’ performance and accelerates results.

Do you have mLearning? If not, what considerations might you need to think about to help you get started? What might you anticipate as hurdles to get over or around?

Until next time….


Laci Loew
VP and Principal Analyst, Talent Management
Brandon Hall Group


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