Developing your mobile learning strategy

a coffee cup, a pen and a smartphone
iStock/Karandaev
David James
Learning Strategist
Looop.co
Columnist
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If your organisation has yet to embrace mobile learning, the time is now - but being there is only half the job. In order to be truly successful, businesses need to understand learners' online habits and cater to them. 

When e-learning first appeared in the workplace, it was an innovative new way of reaching people. Employees learned at work in a way that few had learnt before.

The difference with mobile learning (or m-learning) is that it's arrived in the workplace with a familiar set of habits that had been honed by each device owner. L&D is now just catching up to capitalise on the opportunity that’s presented.

At a time when the majority of us have integrated mobile technology into our daily lives the question shouldn’t just be 'how do we get our learning content onto mobile?' but, how do we (L&D) integrate into our employee’s digital lives (i.e. being where they are and capitalising on their digital content consumption habits)?

This is because mobile habits aren’t all about stopping what we’re doing to concentrate on our device. They are often about combining what we’re doing with immediate access to information, know-how or entertainment.

It’s about making the most of downtime in order to work, connect, amuse or inform ourselves. It’s about getting from 'not knowing' to knowing and then carrying on.

With so many different employee groups, the trick is to create contextually relevant content over time - and to get a little help while you're at it.

The distinction to be made here is that mobile content consumption habits are rarely about ‘learning’ but about finding things out and preparing to perform.

Whether that’s by tailoring news feeds, accessing industry insights, connecting with friends/peers/colleagues/experts, seeking ‘how to’ support, browsing for inspiration, or finding out specific information ‘in the moment’.

On top of this, the growing popularity of online video content has led experts to predict that video will account for 79% of global internet traffic by 2020.

So what does this all mean for L&D? The potential for mobile learning is to engage employees on their terms and provide content in a form that they recognise and want. We know this, because we’re mobile content consumers ourselves.

Mobile content strategy

When developing a mobile content strategy for L&D, think about the micro-moments that employees might be experiencing. According to Google, micro-moments are the ‘I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy, or I-want-to-know’ moments when people are turning to devices to find answers, discover new things, or make decisions.

Of course, these moments will vary for different employee groups, whether they are new starters, new managers, experienced managers, budget-holders, salespeople, marketers, etc. One thing’s for sure, however - there are going to be plenty of them - and far too many for one person (or one small team) to plug with content.

With so many different employee groups, the trick is to create contextually relevant content over time - and to get a little help while you're at it.

Learning from YouTube, the world’s most engaged-with content website, you can employ their ‘CCC content framework’ to create content, collaborate and curate in order to collect your m-learning content to support your clients in their micro-moments of need.

Create

To get things started, you and your team might create some how-to content for some of those ‘I-want-to-do and I-want-to-know’ moments.

Pick a pain point and answer the questions being asked with short-form video, wherever you can.

Organisations are now doing this for induction, performance management, management tips, selling techniques and all sorts of internal systems training.

Collaborate

Ultimately, the goal here is to help you broaden the relevance and reach of your mobile learning whilst leveraging the expertise and experience of additional creators.

For this, you might work with your finance department to create content on what budget-holders will need in their micro-moments of: running a P&L for the first time; forecasting; processing payments; re-forecasting; year-end activities, etc.

It’s a no-brainer to get where your learners are and that’s why mobile learning is such a hot topic right now - but it’s half the job to only 'be there'. The opportunity is to capitalise on habits that are already successfully employed online.

You might collaborate more remotely and seek expertise gathered from across the business. Collect 'want-to-know' and 'want-to-do' video clips (recorded on mobiles or webcams) and screen-recordings (using online tools such as Quicktime, Camtasia, Screencast-o-matic). In doing so, you collect content as quickly as it is to say-it and show-it.

In a survey by Towards Maturity, 84% of respondents were potentially willing to use technology to share what they know with their peers.

Curate

The final content type in the CCC framework is 'curate'. This means making good use of the wealth of great content that already exists and making this available in micro-moments of need.

This could be information that sits on the company website, intranet, policy notes or any other content that could (and should) be as easy to find as a web search - perhaps repackaged as a video clip.

It might be content from the internet that can be referenced, alongside organisational context. There are many tools you can use to find and filter relevant online content sources.

Better still, let others in your business know that you plan to curate and invite them to provide relevant content (and context) too.

It’s a no-brainer to get where your learners are and that’s why mobile learning is such a hot topic right now - but it’s half the job to only 'be there'. The opportunity is to capitalise on habits that are already successfully employed online.

Technology we now have at our fingertips empowers us all to create video content as quickly as it takes send say a message and show a task.

It's not expected to be high-production quality these days. What matters more is that, in their micro-moments of need, your people are able to quickly and easily find the contextually relevant resources they want to engage with, when they need to know and perform.

Want to learn more? Read The challenges of mobile learning in corporate training.

About David James

David James is Learning Strategist with Looop and a seasoned Talent Management, Learning & OD leader with more than 15 years of experience in the field. Until recently, David was Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company’s EMEA region. 

Looop is a powerful online learning platform for business that capitalises on how people really want to learn today and is renowned for extraordinary levels of learner engagement.

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