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Mobile Learning 2012 – 13: Hot? Or at best lukewarm?


Cross blogged from:

If the advent and exponential adoption of the mobile phone, smartphone and tablet is anything to go by, you would expect mobile learning (m-learning) to congruently pick up too.  While the opportunity for m-learning definitely exists for businesses, is mobile learning finally going to be this year’s winning L&D trend to watch out for?

Ironic as it might seem scores of corporate training executives are still awaiting clarity before authorizing m-learning initiatives. With all the hype surrounding m-learning, comes also a plethora of obstacles that include:

  • What business needs and learner profiles are uniquely suited to m-learning solutions?
  • How and why should businesses integrate the use of mobile devices into training programs?
  • How to optimize proprietary content for mobile delivery?
  • How can learners easily access learning content on their devices?
  • What are the performance metrics involved for evaluation of the program and learner effectiveness?
  • How to build a strong business case for m-learning?

Despite these obstacles, many businesses who have adopted the platform reveal it hasn’t performed up to potential. There are very pertinent reasons to this -

  • Economic factors
    The economic dip has rendered many businesses helpless while they strive to execute priorities with fewer resources. So to launch even a pilot mobile program will seem a little far-fetched.
  • Technology diversity
    Today, with the diverse explosion of technology (be it devices or software), to write courseware once and run it anywhere is like asking for miracle. Even flash based e-learning modules are not supported on many mobile OSes. These diversities can hamper performance and be counterproductive.
  • Content context
    Many businesses still struggle with developing and delivering formal corporate training including e-learning. m-learning content design and development is a different ball game. Having an agile and social learning strategy to support development of contextual and relevant m-learning content is imperative.
  • User Willingness
    L&D departments need to realize that the mobile phone is after all a personal device. Users often see communications from unwanted sources as an invasion. Businesses have to gauge the willingness of users to use their devices in business contexts.

Any or all of these factors adversely affect m-learning adoption.

That is not to say that businesses and L&D organizations the world over aren’t overcoming these obstacles and designing some great m-learning courseware. We opine m-learning, given its problems, is still evolving to a better level. Maybe it will evolve into something much more promising. In those respects m-learning in 2012-13 continues to be a lukewarm trend.

Maybe something new will be available and compatible across all or most devices soon. Will trends change then?

Let us hear what’s your take?


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