Mobile Devices in Learning: Utilizing the Ubiquitous Platform for Corporate Learning

From G-Cube by: Arunima Majumdar

Mobile Devices are an indispensable  part of our people’s life – both at work and home. Using smartphones or tablets, they read newspapers on their handheld devices, send work emails, plan their schedules, book airline tickets, find maps for desired destinations – it is difficult to list the many utilizations of the mobile device. In the work scenario, handheld gadgets are now a necessity and for many organizations, a way to deliver training as well.

One of the many strengths of the mobile platform is that it really is the primary portal for social communication for many professionals, who are always connected on the social media.  Most corporate learners are open to the idea of self-paced online learning. But mobile learning (mLearning) is different from learning on the desktop, or in the classroom, with detailed notes in hand. Mobile learning truly extends learning beyond the confines of a classroom – delivering learning as per the need of the learners. mLearning comes at a time when technology can help us rethink possibilities in the face of dwindling training budgets. As learners are already utilizing mobile devices, it makes good sense to put them to work for training as well.

Here are some mobile learning strategies that can kick-start your learning initiative as well as strengthen existing learning programs in the corporate scene.

Delivering learning nuggets through mobile devices: Many training developers create small learning modules that provide an introduction to a course or supplementary reading and deliver it on their learners’ hand-held devices. This strategy is called the ’Flipped Classroom’, where learning nuggets are created using very little text, but rich media, graphics, video or audio. Learners access them as per their schedule. This strengthens the classroom delivery as they are better prepared and instructors can now serve as a guide, re-teaching as needed. Through easy availability of internet, available tools like Wikipedia and YouTube can be utilized to provide background study material – available as and when the learners require.

Delivering learning content on the Mobile Learning Management System:  Not only supplementary material, but entire learning courses can be delivered directly to the learners on their personal handheld devices. When out of office, the learners can access the learning courses and utilize their time while travelling or waiting for clients. The learning progress can be synched across different devices so that the learner can access learning without any gap. So, if the next time he or she picks up the course from the office desktop, the course will begin from where they had finished the previous time.

mobile devices

Instant connection with Learners: As the instructor asks a question in class, questions can be sent to all the learners as per the learning course they have undertaken.  The learners can provide instant answers from remote locations and can be assessed on the same. Data analytics can be utilized on the answers and intelligent reports can also be generated using mobile learning management systems. If not tests, IM from mobile devices can be definitely utilized for gathering opinions on topics pertaining to the lessons learnt. This provides a peer-connect for all the learners and helps them come out of their shells and participate more in the learning process.

Simulations on Mobile Devices: Many industries like Oil and Energy or Manufacturing often have the problem of training employees within risk-prone environments or complex machinery. Especially for new recruits this process is excruciating to learn within the alien environment. To make learners comfortable and more receptive to learning, simulation-based trainings can be delivered on their mobile devices to enable them to get used to equipment or machinery before they can actually start working on them. For training sustenance the learners can also utilize texting or IM to receive instant feedback from experts on their handheld devices and feel more confident in their work – therefore, show better results.

Mobile learning is the new frontier in the field of corporate education. It is also true that some sceptics have concerns about the actual impact of learning on mobile devices and wonder if the devices can be truly utilized for a serious task like learning. To allay any potential concerns about mLearning, learning developers should clearly outline learning goals, objectives and desired outcome from the mobile learning initiative. All expectations should be clearly stated – especially financial ones – if the organization needs to pitch in for hardware or software costs.  With a little planning and utilizing appropriate strategies, organization as well as employees can both benefit from just-in-time, collaborative and interactive learning that mobile learning provides.

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