Learning goes small, social, savvy

SMAC – Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud – is in! The landscape of learning is rapidly changing. The push era is gone. It is now the ‘pull’ time with smaller and speedier devices dictating the learning trends universally.


For instance, a simple addition of a ‘Did you know?’ page in a learning solution could improve the sales performance of an individual. A tip of spending just 5 minutes to research a product before a call is known to have boost a sale success by 40%!

Such outcomes are possible by scouring the different learning platforms available today. Classroom (chalk and blackboard) teaching is passe as virtual learning (click and touch – e-way) is fast catching up everywhere. The transitional phase of learning has altered the sphere of business and day-to-day lives. From the era of mainframes and large-heavy-loaded computers, the switch or the shift is to smart phones, tablets, ipads, Apple Watches and more! Gadgets galore. Flexibility and the ability to learn anywhere, any time are conveniences that are shaping the imagination of people (read learners) globally. So, ubiquitous is not the only word defining learning now. For, one cannot ignore the personalized factor too!

In his May month column, Marc My Words, Marc Rosenberg ## demystifies the myths around mobile learning.

Throwing light on ‘What Exactly Is Mobile Learning?’, he says “Mobile learning is exciting and full of potential. But if we are not careful, how we see mobile learning can inhibit what we do with it.”

He explains by citing a situation. Imagine a scenario where a person is working late and embarking on a course on tablet after he reaches home. The next day a business trip awaits. While on airplane, the individual uses the tablet to continue the course, finally finishing it at the hotel once the day’s work is over. Is this mobile learning?

What if the tablet is substituted with a desktop and workstations that enable completion of the course? Is that mobile learning?

And what if you took the course on different devices, at different times—a tablet, a laptop, and a desktop computer. Is this mobile learning?

According to Marc, the answer to all these scenarios is “yes.” They are all examples of mobile learning. The changes were in the device use – mobile, fixed and multiple devices but learning moved with the individual, being available on demand, wherever he went and delivered on a platform of choice!

A common misperception of mobile learning—or mLearning—is that it must be delivered on a mobile device. Why? Are we really concerned that the device is mobile, or that we are? Sure, most mobile learning is made possible by the increasing mobility of our devices, but the growing ubiquity of cloud computing is beginning to make specific devices less important than any time, anywhere access.

To put it in Marc’s words: “So the first part of our definition of mobile learning is learning that is available any time and anywhere, and is platform agnostic.”

Statistics reveal that 64 % of the American adults own a smartphone and 42 % a tablet, triggering excitement among professionals in this business. The focus is on bringing in innovative ways of structuring learning programs that can be delivered on a platform that the customer of today prefers.

A white paper for the eLearning Guild by Sharon Vipond and Janet Clarey, called ‘Microsoft’s Corporate MOOC: Transforming Training to Increase Seller Engagement’ describes “how Microsoft designed and launched its first MOOC at a critical juncture in the company’s history. The MOOC needed to provide essential and transformative training for the worldwide sales force and enable sales personnel to engage with customers and sell using Microsoft’s new cloud-based and mobile-focused strategy.”* The results were amazing – Microsoft’s global workforce was able to “discover one another” through joint participation on the MOOC as well demonstrate on-the-job impact by showing that knowledge gained through specific courses was then used to accomplish a goal that has value.**

Yet another way of having a productive engagement with the customer is the advent of Augmented Reality (AR) applications. This means superimposing digital information on a physical infrastructure by which a measurable impact on business generation is possible.

It will be the ‘Internet of things’ that will drive businesses to re-think and re-purpose their learning architecture that will ultimately dictate the mode (choice?) of delivery of learning solutions.

* P.1: Microsoft’s Corporate MOOC: Transforming Training to Increase Seller Engagement

** P. 15, 16: Microsoft’s Corporate MOOC: Transforming Training to Increase Seller Engagement

## Marc J. Rosenberg, Ph.D., is a management consultant, writer, educator, and expert in the world of training, organizational learning, eLearning, knowledge management and performance improvement. He is the author of the best-selling books, E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age (McGraw-Hill), and Beyond E-Learning: Approaches and Technologies to Enhance Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Performance (Wiley/Pfeiffer).

Leave a Reply