10 Mobile Learning Facts You Need to Know Now

With smartphone sales continuing to rocket worldwide, the possibilities offered by mobile learning are huge. How can you take advantage?

Multi-device learning isn’t just the future—it’s happening right now. Mobile learning has huge potential to enhance everything from on-the-job performance support to microlearning. Here are some of the key facts you need to consider when planning a mobile learning strategy:

  1. All mobile phones are mobile learning devices. The number of mobile phone users is expected to pass 5 billion by 2019, which will be a rise of more than 1 billion since 2013. In 2018, the number of mobile phone owners who are using smartphones is expected to make up more than half of the total (Statista, ‘Number of mobile phone users worldwide from 2013 to 2019 (in billions)’ (2018). That means people can access a greater depth of richer content at greater speed. And if your mobile learning design is HTML5-enabled and adaptive and responsive, your eLearning will look beautiful on any device: smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.
  2. L&D teams are still slow to seize the timeliness mobile learning can offer. Mobile learning rose to become the sixth most common learning technology used by companies in 2017, with 74 percent of organizations saying they offer m-learning content (Towards Maturity, ‘Where are we Now?’ (2017). Research carried out with 1,200 respondents in Europe also shows that mobile was the second most in-demand type of learning content in 2017, sought after by 76 percent of companies (Fosway Group, ‘Digital Learning: European Realities’ (2017)). However, only 16 percent of organizations that use mobile devices are using eLearning apps to specifically support performance at the point of need (Towards Maturity, ‘Where are we Now?’ (2017).
  3. Mobility problems are holding organizations back. Limited or non-existent mobile capabilities are the greatest barrier to learning technology. That was the verdict from nearly a quarter of the organizations that answered Brandon Hall’s Learning Technology survey, which previously had found that less than a quarter of companies had a mobile learning strategy (Brandon Hall Group, ‘Learning Technology 2016’). Fewer than 1 in 10 felt most of their learning content was mobile ready.
  4. Analytics are vital… The best learning systems and tools provide you with incisive analytics, which are becoming increasingly important. Recent research from LEO Learning and Watershed shows a 71 percent increase in Learning and Development (L&D) departments saying they feel executive pressure to measure their learning programs (LEO Learning, ‘Measuring the business impact of learning – 2018 survey results’). Business impact needs to be central to digital learning. The broad, top-line results include 7 out of 10 companies achieving an increase in employee capability and 55 percent raising learner engagement because of digital learning (Fosway Group, ‘Digital Learning Realities Research 2017’ (2017). And much of that success has to do with the convenience of mobile learning.
  5. …And analytics need to be meaningfully comprehensive. Mobile learning can transform learner engagement, give learners better access to support, and provide a much broader range of ways to deliver learning content. But it’s meaningless without the right kind of business data to measure the impact of learning. Analytics are still at an early stage, but we’re on the path from canned reporting and dashboards to integrated analytics and predictive data that will drive decision-making and better results.
  6. Mobile learning is incredibly useful for time-poor workforces. Just 1 percent of a typical working week is all employees believe they have to focus on training and development, according to Bersin by Deloitte’s research. The same study found that employees unlock their smartphones up to nine times an hour, and 3 out of 10 full-time employees do most of their work somewhere other than at their employer’s base. That’s why leading experts such as Craig Weiss predict that short bursts of learning, such as 90-second videos, will become increasingly important in the future.
  7. The business case for mobile learning is compelling. In his book, “Designing mLearning,” Clark N. Quinn takes the example of a salesperson on the move to demonstrate the effect mobile learning can have. With a quick review of a customer’s current figures just before their visit, the learner could modestly expect to achieve a 3 percent increase in sales, as well as saving 10 minutes’ work per customer visit. If the salesperson averages 600 customers per year, this would save 100 hours.
  8. Organizations should focus on performance support. Mobile learning is as much about supporting and facilitating performance as providing relevant, engaging content. As the amount of information, complexity of solutions and speed of competitive response increases across all sectors, continual innovation should be the aim for Learning teams. Fosway’s 9-Grid analysis of the learning technology market shows most learning technology providers hardly ever innovate their offering. They identified working in the cloud as one of the key opportunities that leads to a higher rate of innovation.
  9. Employees expect dynamic mobile learning. While Millennials consider the ability to learn and progress on the job as a vital part of their working lives, 42 percent say they’re likely to leave their current job because they’re not learning quickly enough. In response, L&D teams need to be able to deliver lots of learning opportunities at speed and scale. This isn’t about churning courses out quickly but about making sure courses can be quickly consumed at the learner’s moment of need. And the best way to ensure that? Mobile learning, of course.
  10. Mobile learning can be pivotal in tackling career challenges. Careers and organizational learning have changed dramatically in recent times. According to Deloitte’s “2017 Global Human Capital Trends,” the average length of a career is now between 60 and 70 years, but the average tenure in a job is less than five years, and learned skills have far less longevity than they once did. Continuous learning is crucial to employee and business success. Almost all executives worldwide consider this an “important” or “very important” trend, the research found—and mobile learning has a crucial role to play in delivering learning that is always available and up-to-date.

Mike Alcock is managing director of gomo, a responsive and adaptive, HTML5 eLearning authoring and hosting tool. With an ever-growing client base including Nike, Jaguar Land Rover, Booking.com, EE, Santander, British Airways, Shell and Rentokil Initial, gomo is helping global organizations create beautiful multi-device eLearning. For more information, visit gomolearning.com.

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