There has been much back and forth regarding the need for mobile learning and whether it is absolutely necessary or not. In this short article, I will explain when learning should be mobile compatibile.
For the most part, many organizations can get away with e-learning that is strictly laptop based (or lacking in mobile capabilities) – and this isn’t always a bad thing. For instance, I am hard pressed to think of a situation where someone would take their workplace compliance training on their ipad in their spare time. In circumstances like this, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to ensure mobile compatibility.
Unfortunately, there are times when instructional designers will create something to be accessible through mobile means when it really doesn’t need to, but simply because the option is available (or worse, to “impress” a client).
Just because the technology exists doesn’ t mean that it is the right option. For example, sometimes learning is best delivered through an instructor-led format. If this is the case, then there isn’t a need to make an eLearning module is there? No. Doing so would be a waste of time and resources.
So when should mLeanring be used?
The answer here varies, but mLearning should absolutely implemented when it adds value to the end-users. For example, Franchises should use mLearning with their franchisees. Many times franchisees are in the field working the front lines. They don’t have the time to sit down at a computer to learn new strategies.
Franchisees need to learn on the go in an on demand fashion. They would benefit from being able to launch specific training modules from mobile devices so they can stay competitive and current with the franchise methodology. Using the same example, suppose Franchises made their Owner’s Manual mobile compatible. This would be ideal for the “on-the-go” franchisee who needs to reference the manual quickly. In this case, the method of delivery supplements the end-user’s performance.
The main point here is that mLearning shouldn’t be used just because it exsits, but instead only if it adds greater value than other methods of content delivery. In the franchise example, mobile learning enables the franchisee to stay current on their franchise methodology while still maintaining their presence in the day-to-day activities. In addition, it also helps to promote uniformity across franchisees, something that is essential to the success of the franchise concept.
So before you opt to integrate mLearning into your training design, really take the time to understand if its use will maximize the benefit for the end-user. If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes”, then you should move on to another method.