Scott Lavelle talks to TJ about the future of mobile learning.
Reading time: 3 minutes.
Are we moving toward a mobile-first learning environment or have we already arrived in your opinion?
I believe we are moving toward a mobile-first approach to learning, but have definitely not arrived in terms of wide adoption.
There are some good examples of customers creating mobile-first learning programmes: Walter Davis of UK-based Aggreko won an industry award for the mobile L&D programme he created to offer 300 courses to over 2,000 distributed global employees. But I believe the vast majority of companies are a long way off, still relying on desktop and face-to-face sessions for their learning programmes.
This is likely driven by a lack of understanding of how to embrace mobile and when it is appropriate, plus a fear of breaking away from traditional methods.
What do you anticipate is next in the short-term — say one year from now? What about the longer-term?
In the short term, I think employees are going to demand mobile learning experiences more and more, and companies are going to be forced to figure out how to satisfy this demand. Millennials are forecasted to make up 50% of the American workforce by 2020, and 92% of them own smartphones.
Generation Z is now entering the workforce, a digital native generation with 96% smartphone ownership. Companies are going to be forced to innovate and create high quality mobile-first learning experiences for workers from these generations, or face lower engagement rates and programmes that fail to meet their goal.
I think the greatest opportunity is to power the organisers of L&D programmes with a truly disruptive mobile technology platform that is integrated with their LMS.
In the long term, I believe companies are going to be smarter with optimising these programmes by leveraging push notifications with the right timing to keep programmes progressing, using mobile-based approaches to measurement, better integrating with LMS systems, and ultimately creating mobile-first employee lifecycle programmes that include employee onboarding and training, company events, and L&D.
From your perspective, what do you see as the greatest hindrance? What about the greatest opportunity?
I think that a lot of big companies have lengthy partnerships already in place with enterprise providers like Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, or other LMS systems that are quite robust. Legacy systems make entering the mobile-driven ecosystem a bit hard to traverse.
Moreover, since learning and development is so critical to a company’s success, there’s a lot of inertia around rocking the boat.
I think the greatest opportunity is to power the organisers of L&D programmes with a truly disruptive mobile technology platform that is integrated with their LMS. One that will offer hugely measurable value and a sticky solution that the majority of employees, especially Millennials and Generation Z, will prefer.
Any tips to help our readers make the shift to incorporating more mobile strategies into their L&D programmes?
Here are five tips based on what I’ve learned from customer feedback:
- Consider which of your use cases are appropriate for a mobile-first L&D programme. Here are a few examples:
- Remote and/or distributed overall company workforce, or individual teams
- Employees that spend a large percentage of time in the field (e.g., construction)
- In-classroom learning environments, with live instruction, and feedback (e.g., live polling)
- L&D programmes that are a fit for learning on the go, e.g., a series of 5 min training videos
- Leverage push notifications and/or SMS to encourage learners to jump back in and continue right where they left off
- Keep it concise – mobile is a great fit for shorter 5-10 min chunks of ‘microlearning’ material that employees can easily tackle when and where they have the time
- Gamify – make learning fun, and keep learners engaged and motivated by enabling learners to unlock rewards, status points, and by fostering healthy competition among employees
- Measure results – be sure to measure the effectiveness of your L&D programmes with surveys, live polls, and usage/engagement analysis. Note that mobile measurement is very effective given the scale and speed of mobile adoption.
About the interviewee
Scott Lavelle is VP of marketing for Guidebook.