Smartphones, phablets and tablets – essentially all mobile devices have given birth to a new generation of people: the mobile natives. This is a generation that believes in the ‘here and now’ when it comes to accessing information. Their previous counterparts – the digital natives too are rapidly making the shift to mobile devices for almost everything on the go. The thought behind this is – “Why go through the trouble of starting a bigger device when a mobile device can provide contextual support at the touch of a screen?”
Consequently, there is a lot of energy and hustle-bustle in the market of mobile-ready learning solutions as different players try to get their share of this new segment. However, failed mobile learning strategies are proof to the fact that simply jumping onto the mobile learning train hardly helps. Here are 4 insights about mobile learning to help you chart your way through before you make the plunge:
Mobile learning is not just about the device
If your plan sounds more of a ‘device’ plan instead of a ‘content’ or ‘learning’ plan, be alarmed, for you are headed in the wrong direction. When being used for training at the workplace, it is essential, in fact inevitable to understand the role that mobiles will play. Technology should be used as a tool to achieve the ultimate aim of learning, it shouldn’t become the aim itself. Before you start, set expectations for learning among employees without even worrying about the device. Then focus on where mobile devices can fit in and develop a separate mobile centered content strategy.
Use a mobile first approach to be inclusive yet responsive
There are two ways to approach content design: ‘graceful degradation’ and ‘progressive enhancement’. The former is centered on designing for laptops and PCs and then removing extraneous details such as content and features to shrink it for smaller devices. More often than not, this approach is plagued by the problem that desktop content usually doesn’t scale down well at all. When you actually set out to design to make your content responsive, use a mobile first approach or ‘progressive enhancement’ as it is called, to design for smaller screens first, then add more content and features for bigger screens. This makes sure you put all your energies into providing an excellent mobile learning experience via different mobile devices. On the other hand, when you enhance features for the e-learning, you can still take advantage of everything that platform has to offer.
Prepare for decentralized learning
With traditional learning systems, it is you who decides what employees learn. This is true more or less with e-learning too. However, to adopt mobile learning you must prepare to place greater reliance on and give greater control to learners as they use formal and informal resources to support learning. Social mobile learning must be encouraged too – what you need to do is channel it constructively. Focus on empowering learners.
Don’t just be a content creator
According to a recent post in the ATD (Association for Talent Development), there is a sudden spurt in the usage of crowd sourced and user generated content by organizations. As a training professional, you must not only focus on creating content, but also curating material on websites produced by users themselves to keep your mobile learning program rolling.
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