People Are Mobile Again. Is Your Learning?

mobile learning for peopleNow that people are increasingly vaccinated, they’re on the move again. Is your learning ready to keep up? According to the latest report from the U.S. Travel Association, nine in 10 American travelers have plans to travel in the next six months, while nearly 75% of businesses feel their employees are ready to travel for work again. People are taking vacations, day trips, business trips, and seeing family and friends again.

How are you going to reach your learners when they’re scattered all over for their first summer post-pandemic? They’ll be sitting in airports, waiting rooms, on the beach, in the passenger seats of cars, in parks, and at playgrounds. If you want to reach them where they are, your learning program will need to be mobile as well as remote.

Isn’t mobile learning the same as remote learning?

You may be thinking “wait a minute– our organization’s L&D program just went remote last year; the one thing we don’t have to worry about right now is making sure our learners can access their learning remotely.”

Some of that is true — remote, online learning boomed last year as organizations that hadn’t yet embraced online learning converted live training to an online format that could be accessed remotely. But while many companies transitioned to remote L&D last year, that doesn’t necessarily mean all learning went mobile.

Remote learning is learning that can be accessed online, which means learners can sign in from home or other locations. Mobile learning is training a learner can access from their mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet. Essentially, while all mobile learning is remote, not all remote learning is mobile. In fact, according to data from Brandon Hall Group, many organizations aren’t mobile-ready at all.

Why haven’t companies embraced mobile?

Brandon Hall’s data found that less than one third of the companies they surveyed have a mobile strategy, while almost a quarter of companies don’t plan to create a mobile strategy at all. Many of those that do only offer limited learning via mobile –  27% of companies offer some learning through apps, web pages, or portals, while 36% offer content through mobile browsers. Sometimes that content, however, is limited.

Why isn’t a full mobile learning experience being offered? Companies may not believe learners want or will use mobile learning. The top challenge listed by 44% organizations when it comes to mobile learning is adoption; according to Brandon Hall Group, 86% of learners are accessing their learning from a desktop or a laptop regularly, rather than from a smartphone or tablet.

While this might look like a barrier to adoption — why develop a mobile program no one will use – there are some other factors to consider. For one thing, accessing learning on a mobile browser might not necessarily provide the best, fastest, or most secure user experience. A frustrated learner might just put off a module until they are once again near their desk or laptop.

Another issue is that not all learning is mobile ready — modules might be available but assessments, videos, or gamified content may not be. Having two different user experiences may be off-putting for users.

The last reason is that learning should be more than simply mobile-ready; it should be created specifically for mobile devices.

Why is mobile learning important now?

Your workforce is used to working from home. They’ve spent the last year working and learning from home offices, the dining room table, bedrooms, couches, and anywhere they could. They’ve learned to use online tools that let them do their jobs remotely. Now that they’re venturing back into the world, they expect to be able to learn from wherever they are.

This doesn’t just mean being able to learn from the car at their kid’s soccer game, or the lounge at the airport, however. Mobile learning is particularly suited to on-the-job learning for employees who might not have desk jobs. Employees in retail businesses can learn at work, for example, and employees who are out on the road can learn during their lunch break or right before an in-person meeting, where a quick skills brush-up is needed.

In fact, certain kinds of learning are perfect for mobile learning. Just-in-time learning (picking up a skill right when you need it at work) and microlearning (learning in short chunks) work well with mobile learning because not all employees are near a computer exactly when they need to learn something new. They probably do have their phones on them, however.

By making sure you’re offering mobile learning, you can engage those employees and boost their learning, wherever they are.