Mobile learning has often been treated as a “special case” for eLearning, and that has sometimes led to confusion. Mobile learning suffers from a kind of split personality in this regard. Is mobile learning intended for mobile employees, or is it intended to provide anytime-anywhere skill and knowledge development? Those may be two different outcomes, depending on the designer’s point of view. Let’s think about that for a bit, in the context of a hybrid world of work.

Why mobile?

First, why do we often see the advice, “Develop mobile learning first?” I believe the reason is that otherwise the developer must deal with ambiguity in the mobile learning’s purpose. If the developer begins with the end in mind and that end is anytime-anywhere creation of a given set of knowledge and skills without considering the learner’s entry-level skills, how can the developer create a concise development program? If the end in the developer’s mind is simply to create learning for mobile employees, how does the developer set learning objectives?

By being very clear about the outcome, including whether the outcome is for employees whose work and location varies by day or for employees whose actual need for instruction will be indicated by workflow, the developer can proceed with confidence. In either case, making the right choice results in an engaged workforce, and a recent study by Gallup has shown that engaged workforces have a 10 percent increase in customer loyalty and a 23 percent higher profitability, compared to disengaged workforces.

Making mobile learning work

In developing mobile learning, it is important to account for the importance of more frequent meaningful conversations between the manager and the employees so that employees know what is expected of them, and that the employees have the materials and equipment they need to do the work. This is not the same thing as micromanaging the employees! The objective is team engagement.

In one case, mobile learning makes it possible for employees to be flexible and connected as they go about their work in different interactions and places during the day. In the other case, workers will have the right information at the right time in the flow of work: support for microlearning at the moment of need.

Finding the best match to your needs

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