People rarely go anywhere without their smartphones these days. And it’s not limited to just millennials. For all of us who are attempting to balance work and home life, we can check email, finish a document draft, research on the Internet, and order dinner on our smartphones. Smartphones are incorporated into how we now live. We’re no longer restricted to our offices and our desktop computers.
So why are we still offering one or two learning strategies through our corporate learning management systems (LMS), such as training on PCs or classroom training? These training strategies may be valuable, but we also need to train for the way we work now.
With employee demographics changing and competition increasing, training the modern workforce whenever and wherever they need it is becoming critical. As smartphones become smarter, and as smartwatches and other wearables become more popular, companies need to examine their LMS to determine how to import learning and training at the employee’s point of need.
Introducing mobile learning into our LMS will take us to the next level of employee engagement and retention, corporate effectiveness, and increased profits. However, mobile learning and development must be appropriately designed for it to be effective. Organizations need to follow a mobile-first approach in their design, meaning plan the training for mobile devices and their learners.
Let’s look at some critical points of incorporating effective mobile learning into your LMS.
Know Your Audience
To design an effective mobile learning platform, companies need to understand the mobile device audience. Although most employees would embrace learning on their smartphones these days, you may have some older employees that would not engage in such learning and development. Further, you may have some employees that would engage in specific learning platforms but not others.
What will your employees use mobile learning for? To get quick updates? To get questions answered at the point of need? To get refresher courses on more advanced training?
Do you have a remote workforce? Do you have independent contractors? Do you have employees who travel? In the U.S. or internationally? Does everyone have access to Internet connectivity?
Getting answers to questions like these will help you design a program that will meet the needs of your employees. Remember, you want this mobile learning platform to serve your employees. You want your LMS program to run smoothly on all mobile devices.
Do your due diligence and incorporate your answers into your mobile learning design.
At the Point of Need
The days of training once a year are over. Handing a new employee, or any employee for that matter, a sizeable three-ringed binder, and telling them, “Here is some information you may run across one day in your job,” is futile. The employee more than likely won’t review that three-ringer binder. Your company spent a significant amount of money printing those binders and preparing for those extensive, once-a-year trainings. And what did you get out of it?
Information flows so quickly, and changes so rapidly, that ongoing training is vital. Employees are used to looking up information on their smartphones when they need it. Who was the lead actor in that movie? Google it. What was the name of that restaurant? Google it. How do you start collecting butterflies? Google it.
So, when you get to a point in your job where you need help, what should you do? Go to that big three-ringed binder that probably doesn’t answer your question? No. Go to your company’s LMS app and do a quick, 2-4 minute training on it. Learn it. Apply it. Get back to work. It’s your company’s solution to Googling it.
This approach can save your organization time on training. It can also increase employee engagement and retention. Plus, your employees are taking charge of their learning and development. They’re taking ownership of their jobs.
Across Multiple Locations
Many organizations have employees location across multiple locations. With mobile learning platforms, companies can reach all employees with high-quality, uniform training on compliance, employee relations, management, or other topics particular to their industry.
Additionally, companies can make changes to mobile training easily and quickly, pushing out revised training to employees across states or countries. With LMS, employers can additionally push out training notifications to employees on their smartphones through apps, notifying the employees of new or updated training no matter where the employee is.
Mobile platforms allow you to customize your content and delivery easily. Even though your training may only be a couple of minutes long, you want it to be engaging and to-the-point. You want the information to give the learner what they need to know at that minute. You also want it to be visually attractive. If you pack all of this into your 2-3 minute learning package, your leaner will give you his or her full attention.
Don’t be hesitant to add in a little more flair. Throw in some infographics, video, animations, or quizzes, but only if it fits your content and the message you want the learner to absorb. This interactivity will also engage the learner and help with retention.
With all of these customizable and interactivity options, remember, you want to focus on getting one point across to the learner. Don’t cram three or four points into such a short segment. That will overwhelm the learner, and you’ll have defeated your purpose.
With mobile training platforms, employees can track their progress towards specific learning goals. They can concert learning deficits into challenges. Tracking steps and goals can add to interactivity and engagement.
Employers can track mobile learning as well. Employers can see where employees are thriving and where they aren’t. They can decide what needs to be tweaked or completely re-hauled. Employers can get a micro view of where issues are while also getting a macro view of where the company stands overall on learning and development.