With smartphones and tablets becoming the new norm in the workplace, organizations are seeing the potential for mobile learning. However, many of them are asking themselves if now is the right time to take the plunge or if they should wait for a more stable mobile landscape.
Several factors play into an organization’s decision making process for mobile learning, including speed, security, economics, and the multiple platforms and shifting standards. The state of the market is still in flux, and there are many unknowns that make it difficult to create a long term strategy. However, mobile learning does appear to be here to stay, with Training & Development magazine listing it as one of the six trends that will change workplace learning forever, so more and more organizations are making the decision to incorporate mobile learning into their learning programs.
When making that decision, there are five basic questions that organizations should ask themselves to decide next steps:
1. What does “mobile” mean?
- While some assume that mobile learning is delivered on a mobile phone or tablet, others associate it with portability. By broadening the discussion to overall portability, the devices and approaches are more diverse, and often more attainable. Additional portable devices include laptops and media players, such as iPods.
2. What problem are you trying to solve?
- Mobile is still only a component of an overall learning strategy. It is important to keep the audience in mind, as well as what types of learning you want to focus on. Based on most mobile devices’ capabilities, they lend themselves well to performance support, reminders and notifications, and assessments and surveys.
3. What devices will you support?
- Based on the lack of standardization between device platforms, it is impossible to cater to the needs of every device’s operating system. Once you understand the capabilities and limitations of various devices, you are likely to conclude that your mobile program needs to be focused on limited number of devices or even a single device. It is important to evaluate the various strengthens and weaknesses of each device.
4. Do you have the necessary organizational support?
- Your mobile learning strategy needs to be aligned with overall organizational strategy and informed by a thorough understanding of the company’s IT approach. To be successful, the program needs to be built on a strong partnership between the HR/Training group and the IT department. In addition, the strategy needs to be built around your company’s policy on providing mobile devices to employees. At the outset of your planning, it is wise to sit down with senior leaders and understand what their views are on mobile devices, and if they envision a time in the near future when the organizational approach may be changing.
Interested in the fifth question to consider when evaluating next steps with mobile learning? Check out our white paper: Five Calls to Make When Developing a Mobile Learning Strategy!