Recently we’ve been getting some questions about m-learning, or mobile learning, and thought it would be good to spend some more time on this topic. The questions we’ve been asked range from, “Do I need to offer mobile learning?” to, “What kind of content works best for m-learning?” Before we launch into answering all these questions, let’s agree on this central point: M-learning should be based on your learners’ behavior and should complement and augment your existing CE offerings. It shouldn’t be added just to tick the box. So with that foundation in mind, let’s launch into your questions.

How do I know if m-learning is right for my organization?

Here at InReach we’d say, that depends on your learners. Are they already accessing your existing content on mobile devices? Is this something members have requested, or just a “new idea”? We encourage you to determine if your learners are currently using or requesting it, or what percentage of learners are likely to use it.

Secondly, how are learners using mobile devices for m-learning? Are they watching content on tablets? Are they buying courses on their smartphones, but watching content on their larger PC screens? Really get specific so you can build an accurate picture of what your members are doing or asking for. That will help you pinpoint the exact need.

How do I get buy-in for m-learning?

As with any new initiative, getting the initial buy-in can be tough. However, if your m-learning strategy is integrated into your overall education strategy it should be much easier to “sell”. How does your proposed m-learning augment your overall education strategy? What gaps or needs does it fill? At its core, your education plan should reflect your member’s use and adoption of technology, and m-learning should be a natural extension of that.

I want to launch m-learning in my organization. How should I do this?       

As with all CE, there is no one-size fits all. We recommend that, as with all new education initiatives, you have a strategy. Start by knowing your learners and having an overall education plan. M-learning, as we’ve said before, should be one component of this plan. Make sure your overall plan, as well as your m-learning plan, are aligned to your organization’s goals and priorities, since this makes getting buy-in and budget easier.  Finally, consult your technology partner. They should be able to shed light on a couple of things which will help you translate your vision into tactics. Your technology partner should be able to update you on the latest trends and best practices, and should also be able to give you additional insight into your learners’ behavior.

What kind of content works best for m-learning?

Good question! Most people assume that m-learning is merely delivering the same content on a mobile device. However, if you stop to think about mobile devices and the spaces your learners are likely to use them in a number of questions arise. What kind of content will they be accessing from the device? Given the relatively small screen size of your average smartphone, will your learners be watching videos, or, in a more likely scenario, paging through SCORM courses or reading an e-pub? Perhaps they will be launching a webcast on their phone with the intent of picking it up on their PC or tablet when they get back to their home or office. So, you can see how important it is to really know your leaners and have great insight into their m-learning behavior to really guide your m-learning strategy.

Hopefully we’ve answered some of your questions, and given you a starting place to build your m-learning strategy. If you’re looking for some more information on m-learning here are some great additional resources to consider:

Tagoras White Paper

8 Steps to Create and Develop an Effective Mobile Training Strategy

Going Mobile: An ATD Infographic