Mobile Learning: If you build it, will they come?

So often we think of mobile learning (mLearning) as just repurposing existing courses for a mobile environment. However, there is so much more to mobile learning than just repurposing courses. To ensure your mLearning initiative is successful you should consider:

  • Who is using mLearning, and how are they using it?
  • When should you use mLearning?
  • Is mLearning right for your organization, your audience, your needs?

Who is using mLearning, and how are they using it?

It’s not just millennials using mLearning. Learners of all generations will use mLearning if it meets their needs. However, regardless of age, most learners won’t use a mobile device to complete a long training course that was originally developed for eLearning and has just been enabled for mobile delivery.  In fact, some research has shown that only about 2% of users access courses through a mobile device at all.  Learners prefer mobile devices for just-in-time learning and reference support. They want to be able to quickly access information when they need it, where they need it.

When should you use mLearning?

It’s clear that what works for classroom training or eLearning won’t work for mLearning. The Brandon Hall Group’s 2014 Mobile Learning Benchmarking Survey found that organizations found that the most effective applications for mLearning are:

Jill Blog percentages section

Is mLearning right for your organization, your audience and your needs?

I hear from many L&D professionals, that they want to provide cutting edge solutions to their learners and that decision makers are pushing them to provide mLearning solutions. However, if the decision to provide mLearning is not driven by an actual need, but rather a desire to provide the latest and greatest, it ends up falling short of expectations. Before deciding whether mLearning is the right solution, you need to consider:

  • What is your organizations’ learning strategy and how does mLearning fit into that strategy?
  • What is driving the need for providing a solution in mobile format? Is there a more appropriate delivery method?
  • What are the benefits of developing the solution for mLearning?
  • How likely are learners to access the learning on a mobile device?
  • Does your organization have the right technology to support and track mLearning?

So let’s get back to the question that got this all started…If you build mLearning, will they come? If you’re building mLearning so that you can check off a box or you’re just repurposing existing courses, you probably won’t see the results (or usage) you were hoping to achieve.  However, if you build mLearning solutions for the right reasons and have the right support structure in place, the answer is yes they will come!

What are your thoughts?

Please share any experiences you have with mLearning or additional thoughts you may have in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

About the Author

Jill Gualtieri is a partner with Performance Solutions International (PSI) and has spent over 20 years working in performance improvement and instructional design, helping clients to improve performance through business-focused solutions.  LinkedIn

Performance Solutions International (PSI)

PSI is a leading provider of industry-focused performance improvement services that empower your professionals with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment.

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