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How Can Your Organization Use m-Learning? (Part 1)

Teri Hale, PMP and UL’s manager of EHS Learning Solutions, discusses how to establish a comprehensive m-learning experience for your employees.

Colleagues using their smartphones

August 5, 2021

What is m-learning?

What is the most powerful learning tool most of your employees carry with them every day? Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Consider how you use your device to get information the moment you need it and what you’ve learned while using a mobile device.

Mobile learning — or m-learning — is defined as learning across multiple contexts through both social and content interactions using personal electronic devices. Users can learn anywhere, anytime with their mobile devices. m-Learning focuses on how a learner interacts with portable technologies and considers how institutions can accommodate and support an increasingly mobile population.

What does mobile mean?

Many organizations equate mobility with portability. Enterprises are quickly adopting formalized policies, resources and methods to adapt to an expanding bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and remote work approach. However, these organizations are typically in the early stages of mobilizing training and may not yet have a formal strategy for supporting learning across a variety of devices and operating systems.

Here are a few key points to remember:

  • Mobile is not a device, but a way of delivering experiences.
  • Mobile is not simply the desktop made smaller — it is a different medium and design approach.
  • Mobile content is lighter and simpler, which may result in a better learning experience.
  • Mobile learning should be one component of a broader learning experience. 

Moving content to a mobile platform without adapting it to the smaller format may not be enough. That is to say, transferring an existing desktop-based training module to a mobile device may result in a poor user experience, as small devices simply do not lend themselves to high levels of interactivity. For example, learners are less likely to complete a lengthy, 10-hour training or certification program solely on a mobile device.

Battery life, connectivity, screen size, security and BYOD policies can all affect employees’ learning. As a result, goals should be immediate and simple, bite-size content is key and easy access to information is vital.

Mobile learning should not be a replacement for other learning options. m-Learning is most effective as a supplement or reinforcement for learning as well as a platform for providing just-in-time assistance and performance support. The real goal of m-learning is to enhance the value of training in an increasingly commoditized e-learning market. Providing the right content for the right device in the right context allows companies to meet learners’ needs.

Are you ready for m-learning? 

Do your employees understand what m-learning can offer? Check out Part 2 of this series for tips on establishing a comprehensive m-learning experience for your employees.