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How Can Your Organization Use m-Learning? (Part 2)

Part 2 of Teri Hale’s discussion of how to establish a comprehensive m-learning experience for your employees.

Colleagues using their smartphones

August 5, 2021

How can your organization use m-learning?

Are you ready for m-learning? The first part of this series encouraged you to consider how your company can leverage m-learning. If you’re now considering implementing m-learning, the next step is to develop a mobile strategy that considers all learning needs.

Creating a strong mobile experience requires simplicity. Mobile training programs should use only content relevant to a mobile learner and discard the rest. This results in a simple, focused experience that reduces the risk of losing learners and avoids scrap learning. Mobile is a way to deliver different learning experiences in the workflow, so it should be appropriately applied. Consider the audiences most dependent on mobile devices, such as executives or field technicians, as well as those that are the least dependent, such as frontline employees. Each of these groups participate in learning events, but with varying levels of detail and different delivery approaches.

To form a strategy and determine where m-learning may be appropriate — or where e-learning will suffice — consider instructional psychologist Dr. Conrad Gottfredson’s, Five Moments of Need:

  • When learning for the first time
  • When wanting to learn more
  • When trying to remember
  • When things change
  • When something goes wrong

A hybrid learning program takes full advantage of all media, including mobile. It begins with a well-designed learning experience that includes a curated collection of resources and activities as it relates to a specific need. A learning environment can be designed by assembling a recommended collection of materials and then making those resources accessible to learners who need them. For example, you can build a collection of resources around a formal event on a specific topic such as hazard communication. A hybrid curriculum extends learning by providing additional links, job aides, tutorials, examples, training and more. It also includes learning moments for supervisors and leadership that encourage transferring safe behaviors to the job and setting the tone for a corporate culture of safety. Implementing a bundled approach can help expand your program from targeted training to a hybrid learning program. 

So, how do you go about developing an m-learning strategy for your organization? Consider the following:

  1. What does mobile mean to your company? Definitions of mobile differ from person to person. Often, it’s synonymous with portable and can refer to laptops, tablets and phones. Other times, it strictly refers to a smartphone. In planning an m-learning strategy, consider which devices will support your portability goals as well as the availability of those devices to the workforce.
  2. What problems are you trying to solve? Mobile is just one element of an effective e-learning strategy. Consider how you can make the most impact with m-learning events and which audience is best suited for mobile learning. Performance support, job aids, tutorials and brief how-tos are best suited for mobile delivery today and can be easily used in the workflow.
  3. How does mobile fit into your current training program? m-Learning can improve employee performance, productivity and retention, but it does not meet every moment of need. Consider the broader training curriculum as well as the goals of your organization and workforce. If an employee can take the same training on a laptop, it is not considered m-learning.
  4. Is your organization ready for m-learning? Regardless of whether employees are using an Andriod or iOS device, a well-planned mobile strategy considers the organization’s key objectives instead of automatic reactions to new technologies or competitor initiatives. Your mobile strategy needs to align with your company’s IT and security framework. Consider the types of devices and plaforms being used, the increased security risks and the amount of support both employees and devices will receive. The best strategies require a strong partnership between the learning and development group and the IT department.

m-Learning is just one important component of a hybrid approach that should be learner- and device-focused. Attention spans on mobile devices are shorter and time is more precious, so bite-size content should be easily accessible and quick to complete. Better integration of m-learning into your overall training strategy will help foster a culture of ongoing learning and safety that extends beyond one-time training events.

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