The majority of training professionals already recognize that the most effective training is interactive, continuous and takes place outside the formal classroom. In a nutshell, it happens in life, not in stand-alone training sessions. But how do you bring training to life?
Just a decade ago, the concept of mLearning was still difficult for many trainers and educators to accept. After all, predictions for the mobile generation were grim – more mobile devices would lead to a more distracted workforce and worse yet, a generation of workers who could text but not spell. From all accounts, mobile devices held little promise to be retooled as training or educational platforms.
Today, the size of our screens matters less than ever before, and mLearning is gaining ground. mLearning uses mobile devices from phones and tablets to MP3 players and laptops to deliver interactive learning experiences that can take place in any context at any time. But mLearning is more than a convenient and cost effective way to deliver training to people on the move. With smart design, it can bring learning to life on an unprecedented level.
First, with mLearning, employers can respond to training needs as they arise. It’s crisis responsive and in tune with the fast pace of the modern work world where new platforms and systems are constantly being rolled out and training can’t wait. As a result, mLearning fosters an adaptable and receptive workforce and holds the potential to heighten productivity.
Second, because mLearning happens on the same screens used to access other social media platforms, by design, it promotes discussion between workers, permitting them to collaborate and make the most of their shared knowledge base. In other words, mLearning harvests the benefits of the informal learning that already happens on the office floor but in this case, makes it available to workers outside work hours and beyond the workplace.
Third, mLearning favors the delivery of information in micro modules. This means that workers can move through modules more quickly. It also makes it easier for workers to review and reference materials they’ve just encountered. Bearing in mind that most learners retain less than 30% of information encountered during a typical training session, mLearning’s heightened capacity for review and reference is part of the model’s value added.
Fourth, mLearning can easily track employees’ training progress. Where applicable, the training process can also be incentivized to encourage faster and more successful progression through materials.
Finally, mLearning is integrative. It can happen in the locker room at the gym, in the park, or on the bus. Rather than demand that we take time away from our jobs or lives, mLearning integrates itself into our lives, but don’t assume that this is only appealing to millennials.
Look at the parents waiting to pick up their kids in the schoolyard or the people buying bulk at the grocery store – a high percentage of them are probably clutching a mobile device. Working adults with children, generally in their 30s to 50s, are just as addicted to their mobile devices as their kids. Adults juggling work and family commitments often know more than anyone else that every second counts. For busy working parents, mLearning, which is typically delivered in modules that can be completed in less than 10 minutes, offers a way to make the most of time that may otherwise be wasted standing in line or waiting at the doctor’s office.
Of course, mLearning’s benefits aren’t just for employees. Eliminating training sessions (not to mention the coffee and pastries employees typically expect when they attend these sessions) saves time and money. Fewer work hours are lost to training and the pressure to supply coffee and pastries that no one will complain about disappears. After all, with mLearning, the classroom can travel with learners to their favorite café and even to their own kitchen table. This is learning quite literally brought to life.
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