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  • How Mobile Learning is Shaping the Workforce

Our technologically evolving society has everyone attached to their portable devices- laptops, tablets and smart phones. Modern learners today have the ability to access an abundance of information in an instant. On-the-go devices are constantly buzzing with alerts, reminders and notifications, generating tendencies that people start to expect in the workplace. When learners are asked to participate in training and corporate systems don’t behave the same way as their consumer tools, the result is a disconnect between expectations for the learner and what the learner anticipates.

Now, more than ever, the use of mobile devices is playing an important role in the workplace. With faster internet speeds and affordable smartphones, mobile learning is becoming an unstoppable trend that requires learning and development professionals to consider when designing training content. The amount of accessibility people have to the abundance of information demands organizations change their traditional training approach and adopt an efficient, effective mobile strategy for learners.

According to the Ambient Insight 2012-2017 Worldwide Mobile Learning Market, Longitudinal Trends, 74 percent of people use mobile devices for e-learning. The convenience and accessibility of mobile learning allows learners to digest and engage in the information anywhere, anytime. 

“There’s a tendency to want those type of consumer experiences to push their way into the corporate training environment because it’s familiar,” said Jim Renner, technical product strategist at Skillsoft.

The recent launch of Skillsoft’s learning app was optimized for the mobile experience, designed to target the user’s specific interest.

The app will ask users what types of personal development they are interested in, whether that might be communication skills or compliance training, Renner explained. Based on those selections, the app will push relevant new content that allows users to learn on the go.

Traditional learning and development requires users to find their own content, he added. Within the last year, content curation has taken off exponentially allowing learners to find just the right content, at the point of need. Mobile learning educates learners and brings them up to speed on their job responsibilities in a way that is comfortable. That said, to attract and retain talent within an organization means creating an infrastructure that caters to a variety of devices and providing learning opportunities to support easily digestible information.

“Today’s recruits- your new employees- live on their mobile devices,” said Joe Panepinto, vice president and director of strategy at Genuine Interactive, in a Harvard Business Review article. “With competition for tech talent at an all-time high and mobile tech savviness a common characteristic for new employees, demonstrating that your organization “gets” the new IT landscape is incredibly important.”

However, there are some challenges associated with adopting a mobile strategy. The increasing BYOD trend, and more specifically mobile, can make it difficult to condense large amounts of information and make it highly interactive. Many organizations have a large library of training that needs to be updated to be mobile ready and it can be a struggle to build a mobile learning solution that meets the needs of everyone. That said, it is critical for organizations to slowly adopt mobile learning and not tackle it all at once, Renner said.

In an annual survey conducted by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), although mobile learning technologies are expected to have the greatest impact on learning and development, many professionals lack the confidence in their ability to use technology to increase learning effectiveness, explained Karen Higginbottom, contributor to Forbes.com. Only 25 percent of respondents actually felt confident.

Content created for mobile learning must be bite-size and engaging. Designing for mobile encourages learning and development professionals to consider the most important snippets of information and how best to ensure a great user experience.

Despite the association between technology and the distracted learner, “If we aren’t learning at work, then we are not doing our job,” Renner added. “Learning, and resulting self-improvement, is a great alternative to the typical mobile distractions."

Designing for mobile is a constant work in progress, but one that needs to be taken seriously in order to keep up with a tech saavy generation. In addition to providing targeted content specific to the user, mobile learning provides the ultimate learn-on-the-go experience to improve learner engagement, interaction and retention. Why not take advantage of every opportunity to learn? 

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