The rise of remote working models in the business world, combined with the COVID-19 outbreak, means that mobile learning is more important than ever. Realizing the importance of mobile learning, both education and the corporate sectors have started developing and adopting mobile learning solutions for students or employees.
Whether you’re an educational institution or a business, your aim should be to make learning as convenient as possible for learners. When it comes to accommodating the tech-savvy learners of today, nothing beats the value of mobile learning.
In this guide, you’ll learn the critical importance of mobile learning, but before that, let’s find out what mobile learning is.
What is Mobile Learning?
Also known as M-learning, mobile learning is a novel way to access learning content through mobile devices. As long as the device is connected to the internet, it allows users to learn whenever and wherever they want. Based on the analytics for people using learning management systems (LMSs), most people access public content on websites via their mobile devices.
While users who need to create and administer content tend to use desktops most of the time, the learners are different. When it comes to taking exams and courses, there’s almost an equal split between participants using mobile devices and those using desktops.
Employees that are always on the go, those that work remotely or want to attend training after work hours may not have access to laptops or desktops. Mobile learning solutions are an incredible lifesaver for them. They recognize and appreciate the importance of mobile learning more than others.
There are two main ways to deliver training using mobile learning. You can either share learning content for mobile consumption or use it for a blended learning approach during face-to-face training sessions. Let’s look at how each works:
Sharing Learning Content for Mobile Consumption
Based on individual consumption, this approach involves creating the learning content using a desktop computer and sharing it with participants, who can then access it on their mobile devices from anywhere. All you need to do is share the course link with the participants via email or text message.
Blended Learning Approach
This approach in mobile learning combines in-person training with the use of mobile devices. During or after training, instructors can share a survey containing a list of questions, requiring participants to complete it then and there through their smartphones. Again, trainers can share the link to the survey through a text message or email, or set up a QR code.
But what’s the point of this blended learning approach? It allows trainers to give immediate feedback to learners, which proves significantly more effective in learning.
Now that you know what mobile learning is, let’s examine the importance of mobile learning in detail:
The Importance of Mobile Learning
The following benefits explain why mobile learning has taken the eLearning industry by storm:
Mobile Devices are Social
The highly portable nature of mobile devices, especially smartphones, makes them very social. No other platform matches the social aspect associated specifically with mobile learning. Knowing that a huge learning community is available for support all the time, the learner stays motivated throughout the learning process. Ideas keep bouncing off from one device to another and learners’ questions are answered right away.
As opposed to this, an eLearning solution that’s technologically very advanced but lacks the social aspect may not be as effective. The unprecedented feeling of support offered by mobile learning makes learners feel like they’re not alone.
Accessible and Flexible Learning
When examining the importance of mobile learning, you just can’t ignore the flexibility and accessibility it offers. One of the biggest problems with traditional training programs was that they had to be conducted during office hours when employees typically have important tasks scheduled. The idea of being physically present in the office for training also made it inconvenient for employees, especially if the course is to be attended after working hours or a holiday.
Since mobile learning allows learners to attend courses from anywhere and at any time, they no longer need to take the courses during office hours or even be at the office for the purpose. Mobile learning allows learners to access and take the courses during their lunch breaks, commute to the office, or from home.
Better Completion Rates
Modern training is no longer about hour-long courses. In today's fast-paced world, no one has the time to attend long-form courses. The bite-sized nature of mobile learning programs further enhances the importance of mobile learning. This allows learners to complete training modules and quickly and move on to the next.
Since users aren’t required to dedicate too much time every day, the completion rates for mobile learning courses should be high. To further motivate learners to progress and complete the mobile learning programs, points, level progression, rewards, and other gamification elements can be added.
Fosters Personalized Learning
The idea of mobile learning emerged when L&D professionals realized how important it is to adopt a learner-centric approach to ensure effective learning. The learner-centric approach to eLearning provides learners accessibility and freedom as discussed above. Another key characteristic of the learner-centric approach is personalized learning.
Personalized learning refers to delivering learning content tailored to each individual’s needs, strengths, interests, and skills. The programs are capable of collecting accurate learner data to establish unique learning paths that adapt to their progress, quiz performances, goals, and motivations. This model fits perfectly with mobile learning, with each learner using their own device to take courses.
Hence, personalized learning is another key factor that reinforces the importance of mobile learning.
Fits Well With a High-Speed Life
Rapid Digitization has greatly accelerated our lifestyles. Today’s fast-paced technology era has made every organizational process, operation, and task quicker than ever. While, on the one hand, the trend has boosted productivity, it has also made our lives increasingly busy. With the emergence of technology, people are able to handle greater work volumes and take on newer tasks.
In a setting like this, an inflexible, slow training program won’t be compatible. Learners need a fast-paced learning method that fits well into their fast-paced work life.
On top of that, social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have made users habitual to receive information in short bursts of visually-appealing content on small screens. This, again, highlights the importance of mobile learning, which can be used to deliver learning content in a similar manner. However, make sure you incorporate appealing visuals and interactive activities to engage the learners just as social media apps do.
Remember the concept of just-in-time inventory in supply chain management? It’s the idea of obtaining inventory shipment just when it’s needed to fulfill demand. The method eliminates any stock pile-up. Based on the same concept, mobile learning offers just-in-time learning, a technique that perfectly adjusts to our busy lives.
Just-in-time mobile learning uses the concept of microlearning, which offers short courses that don’t typically exceed 5 minutes. They cover simple, yet important functions, such as how to handle a difficult customer or how to behave professionally in a formal meeting, etc. Employees should be able to access these skills from their smartphones to learn or revise a particular skill.
Learners Can Refer Back to Learning Content
Mobile learners cannot just access the learning content from anywhere, but they can also refer back to it later when required. And remember, training content proves more useful when learners are faced with a problem and they're looking for solutions. If they’re able to access valuable training at that very moment, they’ll probably remember the solution for the rest of their lives.
Thus, while learners can’t take an office PC at home or carry a laptop everywhere they go, they’ll have a smartphone all the time for quick reference.
Now that you understand the importance of mobile learning and why you need to make the most of it, let’s discuss how to design and deploy a mobile learning solution effectively:
How to Effectively Design and Deploy a Mobile Learning Solution
No one is denying the importance of mobile learning, but organizations must realize that if learning isn’t happening, using mobile learning technology makes no sense. Therefore, before embarking on your mobile learning endeavors, it's important to develop a sound learning strategy. Defining your targeted learners, their needs, and where they're located are the key aspects of a learning strategy.
Also, when designing a mobile learning solution, don’t forget to take into account the environments of your learners. For example, clinical environments are different from others. Employees in a setting like this can't play audio on the operating floors. Thus, the mobile learning solution created for them shouldn’t have critical information in the audio. It should be able to provide value with the volume turned off.
When choosing instructional theories for your mobile, use learning theories that describe how learning takes place. You can simply do this by downloading training apps designed for practice and drill. Look for apps that include clutter-free interfaces, are simple to manipulate, and helps provide both positive and negative reinforcement.
If you want your learners to grasp complicated procedures through your mobile learning solution, consider adopting the behavioral technique of chaining. This approach involves teaching the first step and only allowing learners to move on to the next once they’ve mastered the first. For even more complicated procedures, backward chaining should be more suitable.
Besides the learning content and theory, you also need to choose your technology wisely. With an array of programs and development solutions out there, deciding what’s best for your business can be hard. Some tools might be more or less expensive than others, and some easier to use than others. Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong mobile training program. A solution that works best for your business may not be good for another business.
Mobile learning has truly revolutionized eLearning. Now that organizations have embraced the importance of mobile learning, it’s time they adapt to this transformation by leveraging M-learning to set up effective L&D programs. Failing to respond to this change can cause them to go into oblivion.
Mobile learning solutions should directly address learners' needs. If your training programs don't adapt to the needs of the learners, they’ll no longer remain relevant to your target market. To be honest, it’s already happening to firms.
No doubt developing and providing an eLearning program can be daunting in the beginning, especially for firms that haven’t stepped into eLearning yet. However, experienced and reliable eLearning agencies like Racoon Gang are there to create top-notch custom mobile learning solutions.
Racoon Gang’s Open edX mobile app sets up a convenient learning environment for students or employees on their smartphones. The platform currently offers native learning apps for Android and iOS devices, allowing students or employees to remotely access learning content.
We, at Racoon Gang, understand the importance of mobile learning, possess considerable experience in developing Open edX mobile applications, and are able to create highly customized mobile learning solutions. If you're looking for highly engaging, easy-to-use mobile learning apps, contact us today or request a quote.