Smartphones and tablets are amazing devices that enable us to do things that were previously impossible. In the palm of our hands, we have technology that's as powerful as a PC - enabling us to communicate, collaborate and share information instantly, from anywhere. Why not put these mobile tools to work for your company's learning programs?
Why Mobile Learning Makes Sense
Mobile devices enable anytime, anywhere access.
The unparalleled convenience of smartphones and tablets is one strong reason to consider mobile learning. By making learning accessible from mobile devices - and enabling people to complete learning activities on their own schedule - today's organizations can reap big dividends. More flexibility also attracts more learning styles, ultimately translating into more course completions and stronger results.
Mobile is the computing device of choice.
Beyond excellent performance, today's mobile devices are also incredibly responsive and easy to use, making them people's favorite computing device. According to Facebook, 87% of its nearly 1 billion daily users access the social site via their mobile devices. The ever-growing number of mobile-friendly applications only adds to the appeal.
A 2012 survey confirmed this growing popularity. According to elearninginfographics.com, 65% of workers surveyed declared their mobile devices their most critical work device. This perception bodes well for companies wanting to expand their e-learning programs to mobile devices.
848 million users of all ages access Facebook every day from their mobile device - up 29% from 2014. - Facebook Q2 2015 Financial Results
Your competition is investing in mobile learning.
According to a 2014 webinar by Brandon Hall Group called "The Future of Corporate Learning: Trends and Predictions," 87.4% of surveyed organizations stated that their mobile usage would increase either significantly (38.7%) or somewhat (48.7%) in the near future. If you're considering mobile learning, there's a good chance your competition is, too - so don't miss an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve.
Who's Using Mobile Learning Today?
It's no surprise to learn that today's biggest names are already on board with mobile learning (or making big strides to get there). Check out these success stories:
Guitar Center Wanted More Stories to Tell
Guitar Center, the world's largest retailer of musical instruments and related equipment, had a challenge: getting its 12,000 employees - especially sales associates - to share information among its 250 geographically dispersed stores. The idea of mobile learning was highly appealing.
With a new LMS and social hub app, employees can now disseminate information quickly to other associates. They are recording, posting and sharing stories of upcoming musical events and sales strategies.
"People want to learn on their own terms, when it makes sense for them," said Chris Salles, Director of e-Learning. "We're going from 25 SMEs to 12,000!" Learn moreneeds to link to new page on new Saba.com about Guitar Center's journey with Saba Cloud.
FlightCar Needed Fast, Consistent Training
FlightCar, a quickly growing car rental company with 150 employees spread across 10 airport locations, needed to leverage technology to deliver fast and consistent training on the FlightCar experience - from customer service, to sales and billing, and even to car detailing services.
The company needed an easy-to-access, always-on tool. They also wanted short, easy-to-digest interactive content, as well as a clear user interface. Since the company's staff and customer base are primarily tech-savvy Millennials, its learning needed to be equally leading-edge. They chose Saba Cloud.
Within a few months, FlightCar had comprehensive content and 24/7 access to e-learning for employees across 15 disparate locations. They quickly learned that content creation and changes were easy. Front-line teammates' skills and confidence improved. Service consistency and guest experiences rose dramatically. And training is all done on the fly - on an iPad.
"With Saba Cloud on mobile, I don't need a computer lab to train my team. I just need an iPad,"" said Patrick Cournoyer, Head of Learning and Human Resources. See how FlightCar is taking off needs to link to new page on new Saba.com with Saba Cloud.
Cisco Wanted Just-in-Time Learning
Cisco Systems relies heavily on channel partners, who account for almost 80% of company revenue. Cisco's Partner Education Connection (PEC), serving 100,000 learners worldwide, is their training hub, where learners can register for classes, join virtual classes, take e-learning, and find a wealth of downloadable product information that can be searched on demand by these sales and service teams.
Since much of Cisco's content was already in mobile-friendly formats (e.g., MP4, PDF, PowerPoint, Word), the company was able to quickly offer access to partners through their phones or tablets. PEC users find answers to their questions often while on-site, so they no longer have to return to their office to solve their customer's problem. Today, 25% of the PEC site's usage is mobile, which will continue to climb because Cisco has started to convert its e-learning courses to run on phones or tablets.
Ready to Dive In? Five Tips for Getting Started
Perhaps reading these stories is prompting you to accelerate your own mobile learning efforts. Yet where should you start? Here are some tips to help you move forward.
Tip 1: Adopt an experimental mindset.
Many companies start with a small pilot program - and some efforts fail before they become a success. But they learned a lot, which is the goal. There's no right or wrong; it's a matter of figuring out what works best for your organization.
Tip 2: Choose a project you can turn into a pilot program. This could be any class, process or a community you think could benefit from mobile learning. Consider adding mobile access to that community's social group, so people can interact, post thoughts or answer questions even outside of class or after hours. The goal is to gain familiarity with the technology, how content works and how learners interact with it.
Tip 3: Evaluate your internal resources.
- Is your Learning Management System (LMS) ready? Can it support social learning groups? Even if not, you can still move forward by creating a community in an existing tool (e.g., Jive or Yammer). Or you could leverage private groups in free sites like LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Is my content ready? If your content isn't already in a mobile-friendly format (e.g. PDF, Word, PowerPoint), it may take some time to get it there. Begin that process today. If you have a large SCORM-based library, it can take some time to get it mobile ready, especially if you have Flash-based videos. Those will have to be converted or redone, typically in the MP4 format.
- How accessible is your content? Make sure your learning platform will index all your content so your learners can quickly and easily find what they need while on the go.
- What are your must-haves vs. nice-to-haves? Do you need just-in-time learning search and browse like Cisco? Or to base all e-learning on the iPad platform like FlightCar? How about offline access to learning when your learners can't connect to the Internet? Or supporting managers with mobile approvals and a dashboard to keep up with their teams? Whatever your needs or goals, start building a list of requirements.
Tip 4: Eliminate a potential financial barrier. Mobile learning requires data usage.
Consider buying some goodwill with your mobile learners by covering their data cost during the pilot program. For about (or 20€), you can provide 2GB of data usage per month (which supports many PDFs and video hours). If you start with a small group, the cost won't break the bank - and the knowledge you gain will be well worth the price.
Tip 5: Run the pilot program like a project.
Establish your goals and learning objectives up front. Afterward, reflect on what worked well and what didn't. Ask yourself: Was the tool sufficient? Was the content properly organized? Were there access issues? What were the learners' mindsets? Was it an overall success? What needs to change to improve on the performance?
The Time Is Right for Mobile Learning
There are plenty of compelling reasons to consider mobile learning today. In fact, certain subsets of employees are even asking for it. Is it time to put mobile learning to work for you?
Click here ** need to link to new learning page on new Saba.com** to learn how mobile learning can engage your learners, elevate skills and maximize impact.