We recently presented our perspective on mobile learning at mLearnCon in San Diego. The main theme communicated was that mLearning should NOT be the act of transporting e-learning from a desktop to a smart phone. The golden rule we follow at CERTPOINT, is to leverage new technologies, such as the smart phone, for what they are good at. As we look ahead at M-Learning, the approach to content must change.
What is mLearning good for? A recent IBM study published in Training and Development Magazine gives us a clue. In 2009, IBM conducted a study to examine how its employees used their smart phones for their jobs and for skills growth. What they were surprised to find out was that mobile users rejected “e-Learning” delivered via their mobile phones and instead used their devices for job related support and access to late breaking information. As a result of the study, IBM shifted its focus for mobile learning from delivering formal learning modules to just-in-time performance support systems.
CERTPOINT agrees with this direction. To us, mLearning is about getting the answer wherever you are…it is about bringing answers to “on-the-go” performers when they need it. A solid mLearning strategy should assure that mLearning empowers on the go performers – especially those who are customer facing and are constantly faced with challenges and questions – to rapidly access “micro-bits” of relevant knowledge required to solve problems, sell more product and satisfy more customers.
We felt that the above message resonated well with many of the participants attending mLearnCon. Other topics of interest to participants were around mLearning strategy, how to justify an mLearning initiative, future trends, and pitfalls of mLearning. Conference attendees were a mix of corporate (65%), government (15%) and academia (20%) and ran the gamut from instruction designers to managers of Corporate Learning departments.
One of the Key Note speakers for the conference was foremost mobile expert – Tomi Ahonen (http://www.tomiahonen.com). Tomi’s message was that mobile is a game changer. It is the most adopted mass media technology in the world. In fact, more people have a mobile subscription (4.6 billion) than have a toothbrush (4.2 billion). As a result, this is technology that needs to be embraced and leveraged. (See Tomi’s presentation here)
After having presented at and attended the mLearnCon, we are more convinced than ever that mobile technology will drastically change the way in which we work, learn, live and play (for some of these areas it already has) and are confident that our new mLearning solutions will help our clients successfully enable this change.
SVP, Global Strategic Initiatives