Do mlearning Apps really improve performance?
My name is Simon Morden, and I am the CEO of the international performance improvement company, Prosell. Today, I would like to talk about the role of mobile learning in developing frontline sales and customer service teams.
Smartphones are the now the most popular device for connecting to the internet
There is no doubt, we are becoming a smartphone society - which offers great opportunities for businesses to harness the potential for mobile learning. So why does mlearning matter? Like any learning solution it’s not just what you do, but how you do it. The use of smartphones and tablets allows a more bite-sized, personalised learning process, which can be varied with video content, quizzes and remote coaching support through applications like FaceTime.
Recently, we have helped a number of our clients roll out some exciting new initiatives - that blend the use of online technology with our 30 years of coaching expertise – in the form of mobile Apps. And it was this work that made us want to better understand the true potential of mobile learning in improving the performance of sales and customer service teams. So, we asked Aston University to undertake a comprehensive, independent study of the application of mobile learning in the corporate world. As you can imagine the results are extremely thought-provoking – and I thought it might be interesting to share some of our key findings with you.
“Mobile learning is unique in that it allows truly anywhere, anytime, personalised learning. It can also be used to enrich, enliven and add variety to conventional lessons or courses”
So what do we mean by mobile or mlearning? The research defined 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”.
The psychology of learning
Naturally, the Aston Research looked at mobile learning within the context of the psychology of learning. Could mlearning really add significant value? Interestingly, their findings did show that mobile learning could play an important role. For example, mobile learning allows the learner to reshape and reorder information – to go at their own pace, to learn when and what they want. Secondly, it recognises that individuality matters. So, if content is provided in a variety of ways, users can learn in the way that best suits them. However, the research emphasises that it is easy to get distracted when learning on a mobile device. To combat this, information should be provided in different formats – so that it is encountered several times.
When will mobile learning work?
Mobile learning is particularly good at:-
- Hard skills training, such as compliance or mandatory items.
- Reinforcing learning
- Providing regular, timely updates
However, mobile learning can also support soft skills training, when used in conjunction with classroom activities and one-to-one coaching. And these findings are supported by our own experiences, where mlearning is particularly effective in connecting the learner, trainer and manager – especially when teams are routinely out of the office, or are dispersed around the world.
Motivation is key to success
And it comes as no surprise that motivation is the key. Team members must believe in the value of mobile learning if it is to be successful. So how can this be achieved? We know that frequent and specific communication and feedback from management improves employees’ performance and lowers turnover rates. And we also know that the line manager’s attitudes and behaviours will have an impact on employee motivation, commitment and their engagement in the work place. So, the line manager plays an essential role in coaching and encouraging their frontline team members to both accept and use mlearning.
Supporting dispersed teams
Now, the Aston Research suggested that mlearning should not try to replace a manager’s personal coaching role or the relationship they have built with their people – but rather support it. It also emphasised that mlearning can be particularly appropriate for out-of-office teams who do not see their managers often, but who would, nevertheless, really benefit from daily messages or remote coaching.
80% of what people learn at work is through informal learning
Today’s mobile apps allow for virtual socialisation, shared content and collaborative education. Just image the impact on performance if you could truly harness the potential offered by mobile learning.
If you would like to discuss these findings in more detail – or see how we could help you use mobile learning to further develop your people, please do get in touch.
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