Changing Instructional Tides: Four Critical Concepts Bolstering Effective Training Programs – Part 3 of 4: Mobility
This is the third installment in our four-part series exploring the synergy between Content Modernization, Intelligence, Mobility and Performance Support as key factors driving the development and innovation of eLearning today.
Part 3 of 4: Mobility
As discussed previously in the first two installments addressing the critical concepts that enhance effective training programs, content modernization engages new resources and delivery methods designed to bolster learning in the workplace, and intelligence enables employers to link courses to backend systems that facilitate the collection and analysis of instructional data.
The third tenet, mobility, delivers the training content where and when learners want to consume it.
Meet Learners Where They Are
Mobile readiness is a popular topic among enterprises of all kinds – and for good reason. An estimated 77 percent of American adults own smartphones. Of these individuals, nearly 80 percent regularly download mobile applications.
These figures are expected to grow as device makers and software firms churn out new, all-encompassing innovations. Now, the average smartphone user burns through 1.4 gigabytes of data per month and within four years, that number is expected to balloon to 8.9 GB.
And this seismic shift in the portability and accessibility of educational content is due largely in part to the Mobile Learning Theory. The theory, among other things, suggests that when students learn across both space and time, moving from topic to topic, learning can be interwoven with activities part of everyday life. And giving learners control of their learning environments and schedule meets learners where they are: receiving and consuming information on mobile devices that deliver short snippets of content. In fact, a recent study now suggests that U.S. consumers now spend an average of five hours a day on mobile devices.
As such, businesses are carefully watching the development of mobile technology and calculating ways to capitalize on its growth. Internal training and development staff should do the same. The reality is, most employees now live mobile lifestyles, consuming online content and completing digital tasks on the go using smartphones and similar devices.
Most employees likely learn in the same fashion, too. In fact, an estimated 70 percent of modern learners absorb new information via smartphones. And, roughly 67 percent prefer this instructional method over all other training formats.
Organizations interested in providing truly effective training must adjust to this new paradigm shift and offer instructional resources that are available around the clock. This way, workers can fit workplace training into their tightly packed schedules – a capability many most likely already yearn for, as nearly half of all modern learners prefer reviewing instructional materials on the weeknights and weekends.
The Benefits of Mobile Learning
By now, touting the convenience of mobile devices is wholly unnecessary as, for better or worse, most of us are plugged in and handheld. But what may be less obvious, however, is how mobility plays an inextricably critical role in how the modern learner consumes training content.
Here are just a few of the benefits of putting training – literally – at learners’ fingertips:
- Accessible. All a learner needs is an internet connection, a laptop, smartphone or tablet, and a login and password, and they’re set to access training resources at any time from anywhere.
- Confidence. A confident employee is a safe, happy, and productive employee. And mobile learning solutions allow employees to learn at their own pace with personalized solutions. Gone are the days of being too embarrassed to raise your hand or fall behind your peers.
- Understandable. The human brain processes visual information faster than words so in a time dominated by quick-hit social media and the internet, people have become accustomed to sharing visual information quickly and easily.
- Digestible. Employees can pick out the relevant microlearning training clips to find exactly what they need in real time from the palm of their hand without having to retreat to a desk, search through courses, or thumb through a manual.
- Interesting. Mobile learning, using analytics and data-driven instruction, can identify a learner’s strengths, weaknesses and interests – and cater each learning module accordingly to accommodate those preferences and predispositions.
- Assessable. Mobile learning provides opportunities for self-assessment by allowing students to grade their own discussion posts or provide input for their own grade to encourage course participation, motivating students to take responsibility for their own learning experience.
- Flexible. Classroom lectures provide little – if any – accommodations for learners whose schedules are inflexible. Mobile training not only allows learners to choose when, what and where they learn, but also their pace and courses of interest or need.
- Collaborative. Mobile training facilitates communication on social platforms, helping to build a sense of classroom community. Further, the sociability also provides a platform from which employees can develop mentoring relationships for even more guidance and support.
While likely an unsurprisingly critical component in today’s exceptionally on-the-go digital landscape, mobility has a yet another newfound purpose: facilitating learning and training for modern learners who expect resources and solutions to be available at their fingertips at their exact point of need.
In our next and final installment, we’ll address the fourth of the four key tenets, performance support, and its role in further advancing workplace training programs.