According to recent research and surveys, a majority of training and development departments have already considered implementing mobile learning. However, most have been cautious in implementing full-scale mobile learning initiatives, opting to undertake pilot programs first to test the waters.
OnPoint, which offers the CellCast mobile learning platform to support mLearning solutions for the enterprise, has created a pilot “blueprint for success” to help organizations better plan, deploy, and evaluate the results of their first mobile pilot. Here are five elements from that blueprint that will help you map out a pilot project for your mLearning needs.
Define your learning and business objectives
It is important to define what objectives your organization is trying to achieve using mobile learning technologies. Are you trying to cut the cost of traditional training? Perhaps you want to provide another learning option for next-generation workers who prefer to consume their learning on their time and in non-traditional ways. Clarifying the reasons that your company is exploring mobile learning makes your decisions on what content types to explore, and what metrics to track, easier to determine.
Establish your device selection criteria
Does your company standardize on one device type, or does your mobile workforce have a variety of cellphones and smartphones? Answering this question allows you to pilot with all the devices you need to support for a full rollout.
Set the length of the pilot and the mix of participants
A mix of users from different departments, with a variety of skill levels and different devices, will give you the best pilot group. Pilots are typically thirty- to ninety-days in length; this often depends on whether content is already identified and prepared.
Choose the appropriate content and the authoring tools or vendors
Based on your business objectives, you may choose to pilot with all or some of the available content types listed below (in order of simplest to most complex):
Level 1: Triggered Notifications and Reminders – Automatically generate and send personalized SMS or e mail messages using templates based on pre-defined business rules and conditions. For instance, you can send a SMS to a mobile learner asking them to confirm their understanding of a current policy or reminding them to complete an assignment. Use scheduled message-based content as learning reinforcements, or to deliver serialized training campaigns such as a “Sales Tip of the Day.”
Level 2: Interactive Messaging – Use two-way messaging campaigns when you want a user response, such as for mobile surveys or data collection. Send questions one-at-a-time via SMS, and once the user answers the question, send the next one until all questions are responded to.
Level 3: Voice-Based Content and Tests – Upload audio-based content and make it immediately accessible to mobile users. To measure understanding and knowledge retention, include spoken-word assessments, tests, or quizzes. This content is generally fast, easy, and economical to produce.
Level 4: Reference Materials – Deliver reference materials as supplemental learning or performance support documents (e.g., checklists, job aids). These materials can empower employees to perform tasks with minimum external intervention. Supported content types include PDF and Text/HTML files. You may already have existing content that you can reuse, and the effort required to create and deploy it is minimal. You can deliver this content to any smartphone and most data-enabled cellphones.
Level 5: Content and Courseware – Deliver animated, narrated PowerPoint and HTML formats (with graphics, animations, and style sheets) to expand mobile learning offerings beyond simple reference documents and page-turner modules into more engaging, fully interactive courseware.
Level 6: Media-Based Content – Upload rich-media formats such as Podcasts or video, allowing delivery of media-based content to support learning initiatives. Your organization may already have media content libraries that you can convert to mobile-friendly content that firmly targets the smartphone audience.
Measure the pilot outcomes and success
What you choose to measure will be based on the objectives you determined in Step 1. OnPoint’s CellCast Solution, for example, tracks all user interactions (including who, when, what, how long, frequency, etc.) as it does all test question/survey responses regardless of modality (Web, Interactive Voice Response, or message). Reporting, dashboards, and analytics features allow you to determine the success of the pilot program.
By investing the time and effort up front, you can crystallize a viable approach to your mLearning pilot and more easily transition to a full-scale implementation. For more information on OnPoint’s CellCast Solution pilot options, please visit www.mlearning.com.