Five reasons why mobile learning is on everyone’s lips

Wednesday 7 October 2015

My world revolves around the learning and development that drives sales and service improvement. Mobile learning is currently a hot topic. We have customers talking about it, researchers talking about it, and people on the news talking about it. So at Prosell we decided to have a look at mobile learning to discover if it is a myth, if it is a fad, is it a new wave, is it something that is going to be here for a while? How should we use it? 

So what we have decided to do is write a series of blogs over the next few months, some based on research, some based on our opinions and others on our current experience developing mlearning programmes. We really look forward to your feedback on those views.

We are going to start with the first blog which is about the 5 reasons mobile learning is on everyone’s lips.

So what do we mean by mobile learning? We define it as an “eLearning method that relies on the use of mobile devices” - such as the ubiquitous smartphone and tablet. In other words, “learning on the go”. 

About half the adult population are currently using smartphones and about 15% own a tablet. So reason one is the soaring use of internet and smart connect devices.

1. Today about half the adult population owns a smartphone and about 15% own a tablet

A huge share of the working population in the UK has access to the internet through their smart connected devices. This has changed how we learn, over 70% of people search what they need to learn over the internet. They want anywhere, anytime learning at a touch of a button. This is detailed in the Deloitte report 2014.

The smartphones sales figures confirm the enthusiasm for high connectivity. In fact the IDC claims that the number of PCs will fall to 13% of the device market in 2017 and tablets will increase to 16.5% and smartphones to an incredible 70.5%.

So this combined with a growing trend towards BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices to their workplace, and to use those devices, is increasing the adoption of mobile devices.

2. The Cloud is changing the way the corporate sector interacts and communicates

The reason number two is the Cloud. As we all know, it is changing the way the corporate sector interacts and communicates. Organisations have changed the way they work and collaborate thanks to cloud computing. In particular, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has become a very popular system to use, replacing many legacy CRM, ERP and HR management systems. This is because of three main reasons:

This type of system has made it easier and cheaper to implement mobile learning.

3. Cost efficiency recognised

During the recent economic downturn, over the last 4 – 5 years, many organisations were forced to look for alternative methods of driving learning into their organisations, particularly those responsible for regulatory areas. Most turned to mobile learning and now it is recognised as a cost-effective, efficient and particularly advantageous when training people spread all over the globe.

4. Post-secondary education users are already accustomed to mlearning

This is an interesting one as, believe it or not, mlearning was not something I grew up with, but certainly the people I am coming into contact with now have used mlearning or some form of elearning when they were at school. So when people are entering the labour market, they have already been exposed to this and are less resistant to change, which was one of the big issues in the early days of mobile learning.  They are already used to learning in this way, learning on the go, learning in the classroom and learning at home.

5. Rapid innovation of fundamentally new types of mobile learning

Mobile learning only really first emerged in the early 2000s but back then it mainly focused on engaging learners via text messages and reminders. Now mobile phones have a whole host of functionality, with the onset of native apps and access to interactive websites through 4G. This has radically changed mobile learning, making it a richer learning experience. You only have to look at things like YouTube to understand the immediate appeal of graphics, video etc. Within the mobile learning context, you are now able to include videos, gamification, connect it to social media platforms, run webinars and even track how effective your mobile learning is through reporting functions.

So what views do you have on mobile learning? My perspective at this stage is that mobile learning is inevitable, the digital evolution has changed the way we work. There is no reason to believe that learning and development and education will be closeted away from the impact of the digital revolution.

What does this mean? As we learn by accessing information anytime, anyplace and anywhere, learning will naturally become part of our working, and most probably our domestic, lives. However there are two things to consider. How do we manage that wonderful cliché, our work / life balance when we are bombarded constantly with learning messages, as we are with advertising? Secondly how do we ensure that everyone can access mobile learning in a personalised way that achieves the best possible outcome?

This post belongs to our blog series on how to develop effective mlearning programmes. Don’t miss out on the next one by signing up for email updates here.

This post was written by

Simon Morden