Mobile Learning, often referred to as mLearning, allows for learning on the go. The tools we use for learning initiatives have always extended beyond our classrooms and offices, and are now in our pockets and purses. Mobile Learning offers clear benefits to both individuals and teams, while also providing a return on investment for the business.
mLearning bridges gaps caused by location, timezones, and mobile workforces, allowing employees to access learning anywhere, anytime. People can learn while parked between appointments or look up immediate answers to questions, rather than wait for a person to respond or for a trainer's annual visit.
For business, it’s often less expensive to provide smartphones or tablets, rather than facilitators and training spaces. mLearning content is designed to be delivered in concise and clear microlearning “chunks,” making it easy to complete, understand, and retain.
In mLearning, having a positive User Experience (UX) is crucial for learners to be able to understand and retain the material. To do this, we must design for the smallest screen first. This strategy is called Mobile First Design.
Smartphones traditionally have the most design restrictions. By designing for these screens first, the most important aspects of the learning are prioritized, i.e., content over navigation. Mobile First Designs focus on practicality and neatness, which help learners get what they need quickly. Once this initial design is complete, we can add enhancements as we work our way up to larger screen sizes for eLearning or other learning modalities.
The possibilities for mLearning are exciting and plentiful. You could create something as simple as a Mobile First eLearning module. You could add elements of gamification. You could even leverage virtual reality by incorporating a simple VR viewer like Google Cardboard.
It really depends on the problem you're trying to solve. The deliverable might look different if you're trying to teach your team something new, as opposed to providing performance support.
It's important to apply design thinking to your solution. Think about how your learner is going to interact with the content. Where is she? On the bus? Waiting to pick up the kids from school? In front of the TV at home? How long is she likely to spend looking at her phone before being distracted by other tasks? Think about how people interact with their mobile devices so that your mLearning meets the learner's needs and constraints.