Now that “flippy phones” have been replaced with smart phones, there is no question that moving forward, eLearning will increasingly take place on mobile devices, including both phones and tablets. The reason why mobile learning continues to gain ground, however, is based on much more than the growing accessibility of mobile devices. Below are just five reasons why we continue to see a shift from eLearning on computers to mobile learning or mLearning.
Rise of a Global Workforce
More than every before, organizations are building work teams that stretch across the nation and around the world. Indeed, one’s team may come from all 50 states and several nations. This means that increasingly, it is impossible to bring together workers to train in person. It also means that training must happen in different time zones. Mobile learning is an ideal way to deliver high-quality, uniform training to employees wherever they happen to be based in the world.
Millennials are a Key Part of the Workforce
Ten year ago, millennials were still mostly known as irritating interns (or precocious start-up founders). A few years ago, many employers also faced another challenge: Older workers who were neither comfortable with online learning nor had access to a mobile device. By 2017, most workplaces looked remarkably different. Older workers who are less likely to own mobile devices are retiring and millennials are an increasingly a dominate part of the workforce. What we know about millennials is that they love their phones and prefer learning online at their own pace and on their own time. They also expect to be able to reference training materials wherever they happen to be. This is another factor that continues to drive the rise of mLearning.
Ongoing Training is the New Normal
While training may be scaled up during one’s onboarding period, it is no longer assumed that training is a one-time experience for new employees. In fact, most employees now expect to continuously retrain throughout their careers and a growing number of certification boards require employees to take courses to maintain their status in the field. This means that the multi-million dollar training industry is expected to keep growing over the coming decade. To scale up training at this level, however, there is a cost. Mobile learning has been seen to save businesses money over time, yield hire levels of participation, and even increase employee engagement and retention.
Time is an Asset
Ask any worker what they need and most will say more time. In today’s always on and overwired world, time is something that increasingly comes at a premier. To find time in a finite day or week, more people are making the most of time that was once simply wasted (e.g., time spent commuting to work on a bus or time spent idle on a lunch break or coffee break). As employees and employers seek to fill up idle moments, mLearning, and specifically the types of micro-learning that mLearning facilitator, continues to gain ground. With mobile learning, a moment that would have once been lost staring out the bus window can now be easily reclaimed to acquire a vital skill that can be put to use on the job.
A final and critical reason by mobile learning continues to take off is metrics. We now live in a world where many employees happily count their daily steps or climbs or trips to the gym. Measurement is many respects have been a norm. This means that employees are increasingly excited about embracing tools that can help to track their progress in training and on the job and connect deficits to new training challenges. From an employer perspective, metrics offer a way to measure their return on investment on training and make smarter decisions about which employees and types of training to target. While eLearning can also offer critical metrics, since mLearning tends to yield hire rates of participation, it is also a more effective way to generate key metrics that can support one’s overall business talent management strategy over time.