Mobile Learning: Finding Common Ground

Mobile learning can help organizations address a critical business goal.

What do soldiers, nurses, and franchise operators all have in common? Mobile Learning.

At the end of 2011, there were more than 6 billion mobile subscriptions around the globe ( Add to that number the fact that more than 60 million tablets were shipped to consumers in 2011, and 29 percent of adults in America now own a tablet or e-reader. Indeed, estimates that by 2015, the market for yearly shipped tablets will be at 287.2 million. With the proliferation of mobile devices and the ease of use, many organizations are developing training programs specifically for mobile. In a recent Brandon Hall Group Survey, 47 percent of companies identified the greatest use for mobile learning to be in the field (BHG Meeting Mobile Need Webinar Dec 2011, N =189), but as mobile becomes more mainstream, companies are using it to do more than provide up-to-date training for field reps.

In the 2011 Brandon Hall Group Learning Awards for the category of Best Use of Mobile Learning, you’ll find case studies from organizations that seem, from the outside, to have nothing in common. However, these organizations all chose mobile learning to help address a critical business goal.

The Brandon Hall Group Awards submissions’ reasons for using mobile ranged from increased profitability to reduction in time to performance, but the portability of a device that can be used anywhere at any time for training was an attractive solution for each of the submitting organizations.

  • The British Royal Artillery wanted to promote field readiness with a cost-effective and portable training tool.
  • Chick-fil-A needed to entice independent franchise operators to take advantage of corporate training while traveling.
  • Hollister Wound Care’s external audience of doctors and nurses already were using mobile technology, so they decided to build their programs in a mobile platform and saw improved patient care.

In every case, the gains seen from mobile learning were significant. For the British Army, gains included greater engagement, motivation, and speed of training delivery. The Chick-fil-A operators showed greater interest in accessing, using, and sharing available content because of the choice in how and when to access it. The doctors and nurses profiled in Hollister Wound Care’s submission were able to provide better patient care based on the new information provided by the mobile learning app. These organizations, and others that are using mobile learning, have seen major changes based on the use of mobile technology.

Not only have these organizations seen performance improvements due to the accessibility and portability of mobile learning, the use of mobile devices also offers a significant cost savings. The Royal Artillery no longer prints training “pamphlets” (13 separate folders of material); all of these documents now are accessible through the mobile device. The Chick-fil-A Annual Meeting presentations are available online and viewed on the mobile devices, resulting in a 98 percent reduction in requests for DVDs of presentations, as well as a 50 percent increase in restaurant employees viewing the annual messages. Hollister Wound Care’s mobile app has made it more attractive to outside clients and its mobile learning strategy has allowed the organization to win new accounts.

Mobile learning is here to stay! Visit for a case study on how GE leveraged mobile learning to provide its sales force with product training. Additional full case studies and more are available as part of the Brandon Hall Group Membership Program ( .

With more than 10,000 clients globally and 20 years of delivering research and advisory services, Brandon Hall Group is an established research organization in the performance improvement industry. Brandon Hall Group has an extensive repository of thought leadership research and expertise in its primary research portfolios—Learning and Development, Talent Management, Sales Effectiveness, Marketing Impact, and Executive Management. At the core of its offerings is a Membership Program that combines research, benchmarking, and unlimited access to data and analysts. Members have access to research and connections that help them make the right decisions about people, processes, and systems, coalesced with analyst advisory services tailored to help put the research into daily action. For more information, visit

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.