As mLearning gets more attention, the misunderstandings about it grow. Here are my nominees for the top eight things that people don't get about mLearning.

  1. Mobile web browsers work fine for accessing existing e-learning content and sites. While newer mobile phones have improved browsers and displays, most content prepared for desktop access or playback is not properly formatted for mobile-friendly access. As such, most e-Learning content “out of the box” isn’t ready for mobile delivery. However, you can reformat and repurpose much of your content generated with desktop-focused tools for mobile delivery.

  2. Mobile content can’t be as secure as online learning content. While it’s true that one is more apt to lose or have stolen a mobile device than a laptop or desktop computer, a growing number of enterprise-grade mobile devices and smartphones can actually be considered highly secure and easy to manage. Content can be encrypted on-device, over-the-air, and on the server ensuring maximum integrity.

  3. Mobile content should be SCORM compliant. A key benefit of any mobile device or smartphone is its ability to extend a mobile worker’s access to business communications, e-mail, social networks, and training resources while on the go. Mobile learners are apt to access required content while traveling by air or in other areas where wireless coverage is not readily available. Strict SCORM compliance isn’t always possible given that the SCORM API that’s required to run on a server may not be accessible to the user while they’re mobile. On the positive side, most mature mLearning tools bridge this gap by collecting and managing training session details like “who, when, for how long, frequency, and test scores and responses” and can send these results back to a LMS as soon as direct access exists. Efforts are underway by standards groups like ADL and LETSI to include mobile learning delivery and tracking in the next round of SCORM specifications expected later this year.

  4. Mobile Learning is not as effective as either ILT or online learning. While it is true that mobile is not the ideal delivery medium for every type of training, many organizations can provide measurable proof that properly planned and delivered mobile learning can be just as effective as the available ILT and online learning alternatives. Mobile learners also benefit from their ability to access content and revisit concepts at the time of need or on an available schedule.

  5. Flash content works on any BlackBerry or iPhone. This myth is widespread but actually wrong – at least today. At present, Flash content does not play back on any BlackBerry or Apple iPhone or iPad. Research in Motion has announced upcoming support for Flash Player 10.1 coming in BBOS 6.0 due out Q3 2010. Once released, newer BlackBerry smartphones will be able to render SWF-style content although user interaction within that content will remain limited. The industry doesn’t expect Apple to announce Flash support on the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad anytime soon, but other tier one devices are moving to support Flash content including devices running the upcoming Android v2.2 OS as well as higher-end devices running Symbian and Windows Mobile operating systems. But much of today’s Flash-based content created using tools like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Presenter, and Camtasia Studio WILL STILL NOT be compatible for mobile delivery due to a lack of ability to easily interact with the standard navigation features and “hot spots” embedded in these forms of content. Small SWF files, played back as videos or audio clips, will be much easier to access and manage in the mobile realm.

  6. Rich media files are compelling but hard to prepare and distribute. Rich media files (e.g., video clips, Podcasts, or slide presentations) are among the most compelling content that users will access using a compatible mobile device, but training teams will need to learn how to convert (transcode) existing materials into mobile-friendly formats. A variety of inexpensive tools is available to capture, convert, and deploy content to every major smartphone device, thus turning training professionals into media experts.

  7. In order to be successful, you need to limit the variety of mobile devices your organization supports for mLearning. In our experience, this approach actually limits the potential use and growth of any new mobile learning initiative. The easier it is to use ANY available mobile device your users may already have, the easier it will be to get your program accessed, adopted, and used again and again.

  8. Integrating mLearning results can be very difficult. Actually, there are numerous ways to get results from a mobile learning program back into an existing LMS (or HRIS, EPR, or TM) platform including simple methods like importing templates to more sophisticated platform-to-platform interactions, including Web services/REST, API tool kits, and even single sign-on connections.