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M-learning Applications: Changing the Face of Corporate Training

In the world where information plays a key role, corporations are in constant research of the most effective means of team learning. No more need for tones of books, long lectures and big auditoriums; the strategy of m-learning has revolutionized the idea of team education. Accessible, flexible, interactive, cost-saving… and surely much more effective, m-learning applications meet the demands of both the employers and the employees.

The global mobility makes mobile devices the preferred tool to access and consume the content. At this stage, the number of mobile devices exceeds that of human beings for 600 millions! This figure is considered to grow in the years to come. This is the reason of the steady shift towards mobile learning solutions over the last few years. M-learning application is not just a mobile version of an existing e-learning course. It is an entirely new approach than traditional e-learning and it certainly has many advantages as compared to the traditional  team learning.

Why should you consider using m-learning applications for your team education?

Accessibility

Surveys show that employees are not in their offices 50 to 60 percent of work hours. A modern professional is busy, time-starved and does not want to spend extra hours working on his computer. His working schedule is intense, but on the other hand he moves a lot and spends a lot of time in transport or waiting. To match his needs, the team learning must go beyond the classrooms and desktops. The usage of the mobile learning solutions enables the staff to learn whenever and wherever it is convenient for them. The possibility to learn on the go engages hours considered to be “dead” and makes a good use of spare time. The employees have a possibility to pass a short course while in a bus or subway on their way to the office, watch educational videos while waiting for a meeting, listen to the podcasts in the car or play a learning game during a break. Consider that the learners may not have permanent connection to the Internet or have limited storage capacity on their devices, they tend to lightweight m-learning applications available both online and offline.

CellCast Widget is a good example of a handy application which gives access to mobile library containing a large number of topics on management, marketing, sales, innovations and changes. It is available on iOS and Android.

Microlearning

As it has been already mentioned, the employees do not have time for long lessons; they are more disposed to learn in short bursts of activity. Mobile devices are perfect for the use of bite-sized learning modules: in the survey held by Cisco, 99% of users of m-learning applications claimed that the mobile format improved their learning results. The course, divided into small bits of information, makes team learning more flexible: no need to have an entire hour free for training; learning elements are short, neat and dynamic. It is possible to combine them up to the learner’s needs and to choose only the information that is required here and now.

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Another benefit is that small amounts of information can be remembered more easily: users find it difficult to keep focus on learning for over 20 minutes. In bite-sized learning one module aims at one or two learning objectives and requires 5 to 20 minutes. This learning strategy is more appealing for learners as opposed to large amounts of information, and it results in improved retention. Consider short quizzes, infographics, videos and interactive lessons for your m-learning application.

Skill Pill is a tool providing short training videos (called pills) for your team learning. It is available on iOS and Android and proposes different topics, such as marketing, sales, customer service, management which can be combined to generate a unique course for your learners.

ASTD Trainer’s Toolkit is a useful resource for instructional designers and trainers. This is a tool for creation of the short activities to engage and motivate learners, and it also enables them to create activities, notes, bookmarks.

What is BYOD system?

Bring your own device (BYOD), also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), is a policy allowing the employees to use their personally owned devices, such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, to access enterprise data and applications.

Cost-effectiveness

Usually enterprise education requires susbtantial expenses for learning center equipment, relocation, printed materials. The use of m-learning applications keeps the costs to a minimum. The “bring your own device” (BYOD) system allows the employees to use their personal mobile devices and to reduce the expences for learning equipment. Trainers do not have to move to the learning center, neither do the learners. So, the costs for development are the only expenses required for this form of training. And due to the microlearning approach, segmented learning modules are developed much faster and at lower costs. Bear in mind that if your employees are using their own devices, the content on your mobile learning platforms should be compatible with as many different devices as possible.

Some of m-learning applications are completely free. For instance, Snapguide is a simple and easy tool to create, share and find guides created using iPhone. These guides can contain text, images and videos and cover a large variety of subjects. The app enables the users to comment, share and ask questions. This m-learning application creates endless possibilities of on-demand learning. However, it exists only for iOS users. Do you need a similar app for Android? We can do it for you!

Aurasma is a mobile learning app which enables users to create auras or augmented reality experiences that are easily associated with any geographical locations. This gives amazing possibilities for training and performance support. And there are new features coming soon: possibility to record Auras on video, social sharing of videos and screenshots, images and QR codes recognition, tutorial guides for new users. The app is free and available on iOS and Android mobile devices.

How much does a mobile learning app cost?

Learner-centric delivery method

All learners are different, there always are those who take more time to complete the course and it causes some problems for team education. With mobile solutions every employee can learn at his own pace and access the information on his demand. As opposed to traditional approaches to team learning where the information is given to the learner, with m-learning application the process is controlled by the user. In the morning hours, when feeling fresh, learners might choose to take interactive lessons or a queez. And later in the day they might prefer podcasts or video as more passive study methods.

Moodle is a popular learning management system having apps on  iOS and Android and giving a convenient framework for professional training and performance support. Using Moodle, trainers can create surveys and quizzes and the learners have the possibilities of messaging, offline reading and participants tracking.

Collaborative learning

In the age of virtual communication and social media, the learners require the interaction in almost real time. And the mobile learning platform is a suitable environment for collaboration and feedback. Learners can communicate with their mentors or peers, share their ideas and collaborate on projects even if they are in different locations.

Blackboard Collaborate Mobile provides the possibility to participate in web conferences, chats, view presentations and answer the questions. It is available on iOS and Android.

Educreations Interactive Whiteboard is a simple tool to generate course content for iPads. You can create lessons, animated images, videos and share them with learners.

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Analytics

The latest mobile learning platforms give a possibility to automatically collect data about the number of learners having started or completed their training, their success rate, pass out ratio and feedbacks. The Learning and Development Teams use this analytics to better understand learners and their results and to improve the course or provide the users with additional support.

DesignJot was specially created for trainers and instructional designers to build learning courses. It is available only on iOS. This m-learning application includes two interrelated elements: design and analysis. The Analysis tool provides needs assessment to ensure that your mobile learning strategy corresponds to your special needs and solutions.

Gamification

In team education, our main issue is to find the best ways to engage learners. Game-based m-learning applications are very powerful in this regard. They increase motivation and enjoyment and are extremely effective in corporate team education as well. Most learners play games on their mobile devices and like the games learning opportunities. It is also an effective mean of collaborative team learning: learners can share their scores, achievements or tips on the boards, as well as discuss the game in comments. The spirit of competition boosts the moral of learners and encourages them to learn more.

mLevel is a game-based learning application which allows learners to play anytime and anywhere. This casual mobile learning platform motivates users with badges and leaderboards and keeps them engaged in team competition. Using detailed analytics, you can provide real-time support to your learners and assess their knowledge. It is available on iOS and Android.

What are the main concerns about the use of m-learning applications for team education?

Security

Security stays the biggest issue which restrains many organizations from mobile learning strategy adoption. Despite its obvious benefits, the use of mobile learning platforms causes a serious risk to data integrity and confidentiality. Mobile devices contain the company’s private information about its customers, state of business, etc. Therefore, these data should absolutely not fall into unworthy hands. It is generally assumed that mobile devices are not secure for transfer and storage of confidential data: they can be lost, stolen or used by an ex-worker for his own benefit; they are used in public networks and can be hacked.

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However, there are many ways to secure your m-learning applications and company’s data. Due to mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM), if a device was stolen, lost, or the employee has left the company, the corporate information on it can be erased or access to it can be denied. There is a possibility to restrict access by time, user’s location or device ID. Consider also proper encryption and protection of all data on your mobile training platform, as well as use of secure protocols, passcodes and restrictive policies. Monitor your users’ activity using special tools and get notifications via email in case if the system detects any abnormal activity. The implementation of cloud-based servers increases the level of learner’s confidence to the mobile learning platfoms.

In a research, 45% of people surveyed, asserted that technological barriers, together with security issues, were a setback for implementation of mobile learning strategy in their work. The frequent changes in device models/technologies/functionality, etc. give rise to doubts about the flexibility in use of m-learning applications. Another issue is their integration with existing systems that are probably already used in the company for training. To be really flexible and universal, the mobile learning applications should be compatible with as many different devices as possible. The use of HTML5 gives you a possibility to develop device-independent m-learning applications. The user-friendly interface gives learners the positive experience of using the application, which is essential for motivation. Clear design, large buttons (to avoid possible tap errors), easy navigation will make your app simple and, therefore, effective.

Want a mobile app for your team training?

As a powerful mean for performance improvement, mobile e-learning is changing the idea of corporate training. It is well-suited to meet the demands of time and is a highly effective tool for education improvement, as well as the most beneficial and effective answer to the needs of corporate training. Accessible, flexible, learner-centric, cost-effective, it is the ideal training format to achieve an advanced learning experience. Despite the possible concerns about security and technological issues, the organizations are increasingly shifting to the use of m-learning applications for their team training.

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