What Is Mobile Learning (mLearning)?

mLearning: An Overview

mLearning (mobile learning) is “learning on the go” that is typically consumed on smartphones/tablets and allows learners to learn seamlessly across devices. Due to the changed workplace dynamics, training should be delivered to cater to remote learner needs, and mLearning is the way to go.

You can use mLearning to manage the entire spectrum of your training needs, including formal training, informal learning, instant/just-in-time learning aids, self-directed learning, and social or collaborative learning.

What Are Mobile-Friendly Designs In mLearning?

The designs used for mobile-friendly mLearning reflect the more commonly available design approach (adaptive) used to design mLearning courses. They feature multi-device support. Nevertheless, they still cater to the way learners use laptops/desktops. This method extends to tablets seamlessly.

In smartphones, this method only works in landscape mode. When converted to portrait mode, there will be a lot of blank space as the design shrinks to a viewable area. Although the courses work across all devices, it is important to remember that the learner interactions in this method may not necessarily be aligned to the way we operate our mobile devices.

What Are Mobile-First Or Responsive Designs In mLearning?

Mobile-first designs (responsive) are optimized to be administered on smartphones. This then is extended to tablets and laptops or desktops.

This method not only showcases a completely responsive design approach (where the content is modified dynamically to a viewable area) but its significant difference also lies in the learning interactions that mirror the way we use our mobile devices.

What Is The Significance Of mLearning In Today’s Corporate Landscape?

Here are some factors triggering the rapid adoption of mLearning:

  1. With the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the workplace, the need to offer mLearning solutions that can be consumed by remote learners, working from home, has become a necessity.
  2. Most of us use smartphones extensively during our day. Applying this for learning is a plausible extension.
  3. Increasingly, organizations are offering a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, giving learners the control to learn on the devices of their choice.
  4. Learners want the learning to be part of their workflow, avoiding the need to log into the LMS all the time.
  5. Learners prefer formats that engage them better. These include formats like videos, animated videos, interactive videos, or podcasts that were not part of traditional eLearning but are an integral part of mLearning.

What Are The Benefits Of mLearning?

Value For Learners

From a learner’s perspective, mLearning provides the following benefits:

  1. Training on the go or as they work from home.
  2. On-demand, anytime, anywhere access.
  3. Gives them control over when and how to consume content.
  4. Enables them to consume at their own pace.
  5. Can be pulled by them as required (rather than pushed).
  6. Syncs with their lifestyle.

Value For Organizations And L&D Teams

Here are the key benefits mLearning offers organizations and L&D teams:

  1. Address remote learners as well as a geographically spread-out audience.
  2. Higher engagement.
  3. Better completion rates.
  4. Easy to update and redeploy.
  5. Lower costs compared to classroom/ILT.

What Are The Advantages Of mLearning In Corporate Training?

Availability

mLearning is self-paced online training that is available to learners anytime and on the go—across mobile devices (tablets and smartphones). Ideally, the same training would be available on desktops/laptops, allowing learners to learn on the device of their choice.

Usability

The technology support to create effective mLearning has kept pace, and the range of authoring tools offer several tracks of options. By looking at how the training will be consumed, you can decide between mobile-friendly (adaptive) or mobile-first (responsive) designs.

Convenient Size

mLearning offers tremendous flexibility, even in terms of its size, for learners to choose the device they wish to learn on, when they want to learn, and most importantly, at the speed at which they can consume and assimilate the learning.

Social Touch

If learners are in need of something urgent, they are likely to drop in a message in one of their WhatsApp groups or other chat applications (collaborative/social learning). The change in learner attitude in terms of getting to know what they want to know clearly warrants the adoption of the mLearning approach.

Engagement

Learners prefer formats that engage them better. These include formats like videos, animated videos, interactive videos, or podcasts that were not part of traditional eLearning but are an integral part of mLearning.

What Are The Disadvantages Of mLearning In Corporate Training?

Tech Discrepancies

As an application that runs on a device according to the instructions embedded in it, software is affected by several external factors that hinder its lifespan. These factors, which are changing trends in the field of IT, include regular system crashes, not upgrading to new versions, compatibility issues, and so on.

Poor Wireless Connection

This is a major issue in rural areas where access to the internet and supply of electricity is not yet prevalent. Offering the option of mLearning to people in these areas does not make sense, as they do not have the basic facilities required to execute mLearning.

Distractions

As mLearning is primarily executed through mobile phones, it can prove to be a source of distraction, as learners may spend time on social media websites or video game websites instead of the learning application.

How Do You Differentiate mLearning From eLearning?

Different Purpose

Contrary to eLearning that focuses on equipping the learner with specific skills or comprehensive information on a very specific subject, such as data science or quantum physics, mLearning aims to support an ongoing learning process by delivering short, bite-sized micro-lessons that achieve quick information distribution.

Different Length Of A Lesson

While eLearning lessons that deliver in-depth information last anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes, mLearning lessons are much shorter and often don’t exceed 10 minutes. They are suitable for employees who are short on time but require quick access to important bits of information.

Different Output Method

eLearning takes place through desktop computers and laptops, thereby limiting learners to their desks. mLearning is delivered through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets that allow the learning process to continue regardless of where the learner is.

How Do You Implement mLearning In Corporate Environments?

1. Top Tips To Succeed With mLearning

You can offer personalized training in an mLearning format to meet varied employee training needs, notably:

  • At the moment of need (just-in-time learning or performance support tools).
  • To practice and acquire skills to succeed at the current job.
  • To improve specific skills that align with the business goals.
  • New skills or skills to nurture in the business.
  • Leadership development skills.

2. Make Onboarding Easy

Any corporate training initiative—including employee induction and onboarding—that’s traditionally delivered in the ILT form could benefit from an mLearning training approach.

3. Make Your Training Program Mobile-Friendly

As mentioned earlier, mobile-friendly designs reflect the more universally available adaptive approach to designing mLearning courses. The designs feature multi-device support, but they still map to the way learners use the laptops/desktops.

4. Utilize Microlearning To Boost Retention

The appropriate use of microlearning in combination with mLearning helps meet learning outcomes on par with other learning strategies and create better recall and retention.

5. Use Video Content

A versatile medium, videos and interactive videos are great tools to help L&D teams with corporate trainings, and mLearning is the logical way to deliver them to the learners. You can leverage mLearning for video-based learning or interactive video-based learning to boost the impact of learning:

  • Teaser videos to increase engagement and motivate learners.
  • Conceptual videos.
  • Videos to set the context.
  • Videos to accelerate change management initiatives.
  • Videos highlighting scenario-based learning (SBL) to drive change in thinking and behavior.

6. Integrate Gamification

With the increased adoption of gamification and microlearning in online training, mobile apps for training can leverage short, bite-sized, focused learning nuggets that can be presented over a gamified learning path. This further increases the impact they deliver.

7. Encourage Binge-Learning

mLearning enables learners to access training on the go and switch across learning devices—from smartphone to tablet and then to laptop—and continue learning on the go, wherever they are (subway, cafeteria, home, or airport).

Parting Thoughts

I hope the pointers mentioned in this article on the value and significance of mLearning help you implement it in your corporate training environment effectively.

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EI Design is a leading Learning and Performance Support solutions provider that thrives on transforming learning—keeping it relevant, impactful, and continuous.

Originally published at www.eidesign.net.

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