Mobile learning, also known as M-Learning, mLearning, or mobile training, is education and training delivered across portable computing devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
Many benefits of mobile learning exist, but the most important advantage is that information can be accessed anytime, and anywhere the user can safely use their mobile device. Consider learners whose workspace is not an office environment, like a traveling salesperson, a teacher, a truck driver, hair stylist, a factory worker. These learners would benefit from being able to pull out a mobile device and find what they need right when they need it.
Like eLearning, mobile learning can accommodate many learning styles and modes. It’s excellent at supporting microlearning that consists of short 3-5-minute courses that convey a single clear learning objective each. Learning engagement in mobile learning can be much higher than traditional eLearning due to familiarity with their mobile device of choice; many people spend more time on mobile devices than on computers and can be more familiar with its features and interface.
Mobile learning solutions do have some costs and disadvantages. The screen size can be a limitation or simply not be the best fit for a training need, for example, software specific training or topics that can take a longer seat time to convey may be better suited to traditional eLearning. If a course has been previously developed for a desktop environment only, a potential need to redesign the eLearning for mobile is likely. Compatibility across a broad range of devices takes testing, and responsive design (which is what makes the content visually appealing and easy to use whether it’s on a phone, computer, or tablet) is slower to develop than fixed frame dimensions. In other words, a course can be technically functional on a phone, but be tiny and almost illegible, so it would need to be redesigned for a friendlier user experience.
A mobile learning app is a standalone software application that is downloaded onto a mobile device and used as an entry point for training content. Creating a mobile learning apps can have benefits, such as an easy and attractive user interface with consistent branding, and also the ability to access training materials offline.
How is this done? By creating a package that is downloaded in its entirety to the mobile device that includes documents and other training materials (videos, performance support) that could be accessed without an internet connection. An example of someone who might benefit from this type of option would be a traveling salesman who frequently travels to rural areas or overseas, or maybe a person in need of a survival guide that could be accessed in the wilderness.
Various factors contribute to the overall cost of building a mobile learning. Here's a guide to how much eLearning costs in general, without the mobile application. To figure out mobile learning ROI, follow these steps, here's a guide to calculating training ROI overall. It boils down to this:
Yes. HTML5 enables eLearning developers to quickly create device-agnostic content that can be scaled to fit any screen. Modern mobile devices have high resolution screens that can display the content clearly at smaller sizes.
Mobile Friendly refers to web content being easily viewable on a mobile device, probably by using responsive design. Mobile First means that your website, email, or other content, was originally and purposefully designed for mobile devices. This requires user-focused design and content hierarchy for the small screen.
Below is a list of tools that are popular now, but when you are ready to build your mobile learning course do a search for the latest mobile learning technology to see what meets your needs.
Other mobile learning development tools include:
Mobile learning can be a powerful tool in your toolkit for driving employee engagement and improving on-the-job performance. It provides opportunities for frequent engagement and promotes an environment of continuous learning. Combined with a microlearning format, mobile learning can deliver training right at the time and place of need. For example, a maintenance person in a factory needing to service a machine he or she is not familiar with.
Employees engage more readily with fast and easy-to-use mobile learning, which supports better decision-making and collaboration. Since smartphones are nearly everywhere, mobile learning can support and guide employees as they do their work with guidance that is empowering and less disruptive than other ways of getting information.
The real key here is to not jump to solutions or the latest mobile learning trends immediately. First, make sure training is the real need. Then, evaluate whether mobile is the best solution, as opposed to eLearning or classroom training.
We’re often tempted to turn to new technology or trends, thinking one of these will be the most engaging or effective. But mobile learning, and even training in general, is not always the solution to the problem – it’s important to first identify the root cause of the problem.
If the answer to the following questions is “yes,” mobile learning might be right for your organization: