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Andrew Jackson

Pacific Blue Solutions


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Who’s doing what with mobile learning right now? Part 4


In the final part of his series on mobile learning, Andrew Jackson look at how mobile can be harnessed for communication as well as learning.

In most organisations, there’s a daily flow of information that needs to be communicated. And as a rule of thumb, the larger the organisation, the greater that flow.

In some cases, information needs to be understood by all employees, in others it needs to be more personalised and targeted at smaller groups or teams.

The intranet solution

Over recent years, some organisations have successfully made their intranet the trusted source of information - the first port of call for employees needing to get the latest on any topic.

But access to an intranet usually requires a desktop PC or laptop and a web or network connection. Fine where employees are largely static for most of the day or always carry a laptop. Not so good otherwise.

"With the help of mobile, key elements of the change programme where learned and internalised by a majority of employees quite early on in the process."

And the reality is that more and more employees are mobile - spending a significant proportion of their working week out of the office or splitting their time between different office locations.

The mobile solution

For organisations with this kind of workforce, a more flexible communication solution is required than just the intranet. And many are finding that mobile provides that flexible solution.

Using mobile for organisational communication takes us beyond a narrow definition of mobile learning. It moves us towards a fusion of two different, but complementary imperatives: the need to educate and the need to communicate. Almost a case of learning and development meets corporate communications.

The learning and communication fusion

There are any number of situations in corporate life where this fusion is required. A corporate re-branding process is a good example. Although re-branding traditionally sits in the corporate communications arena, it frequently requires a strong element of education and training.

The cultural change required during a re-branding exercise can be massive. Following new guidelines and procedures, awareness of the risks involved with change and applying new brand values while communicating with customers are just a few of the topics which need addressing. 

Constant, up-to-the minute communications on these and many other aspects of a change programme can be critical to achieving success. Mobile devices provide a fantastic platform to rapidly communicate this kind of information.

The re-branding example

As an example, a financial institution going through a re-branding process, developed a portfolio of mobile learning modules to cover change-related information for its employees.

At the beginning of the programme, all employees received a survey on their mobile devices, asking them for their current views. As the change programme got underway, additional surveys were sent out at regular intervals, helping to establish and measure progress and highlight issues or problems.

An animated PowerPoint presentation with accompanying audio was used to introduce all employees to the key aspects of the programme. Managers received an assessment module which required them to demonstrate both conceptual understanding and practical application of the new information they had learned.

Where managers failed to achieve the required pass rate the first time, they received refresher modules on their mobile devices, providing them with more training. Happily, 85% achieved a pass rate first time.

With the help of mobile, key elements of the change programme where learned and internalised by a majority of employees quite early on in the process.

The customer experience

Mobile corporate communications don’t have to be restricted to an internal audience.

Already, many businesses and organisations are using mobile to enhance their customers’ experience. Need to find a nearby branch of your favourite coffee chain to get a sandwich and a cappuccino? Well, there’s an app for that. Need to check if your train is running late? Well, there’s an app for that, too. Has your car broken down? One of the rescue services now has an app to help pinpoint precisely where you are.

Creating an app for your customers is typically at the high end of the cost and effort spectrum – not a project for the faint-hearted. But if you already have a system in place to manage mobile content and communications for employees, extending it to reach customers is a relatively easy task.

And as the following examples show, just using text messaging can be a simple but effective way to help build your brand and improve the customer experience.

Have you stayed in a budget hotel recently? While booking online, one of the big chains will ask for your mobile phone number. If you choose to provide this, they send you a text message on the day of your stay. This acts as a gentle reminder of your booking and an advance welcome to your chosen hotel.

Both the main, national breakdown and rescue services keep you updated about the arrival time of your patrolman by text message.

Getting a phone line put in or repaired? The UK’s main telecoms provider communicates almost entirely by text message between placing your order and the engineer knocking on your door.

Clearly, using mobile for corporate communications is becoming more commonplace - for both employees and customers. It’s a great  way to get a single message out to a large number of people or more personalised messages out to individuals and smaller groups.

Going mobile with learning and performance

Looking back over the previous three articles, it’s also clear that mobile is having a major impact on delivering learning and improving performance. It’s not all about building apps or creating scaled down e-learning for phones.

Getting started is nowhere near as difficult as many would have you believe. And once you are up and running, it’s possible to devolve content creation out to subject matter experts with only a small amount of training.

If your organisation is looking to improve the return it sees on its training there are two great ways to do this through mobile. The first is to reinforce and augment the learning that is going on in other delivery channels. The second is to use mobile delivery as an additional (or alternative) channel for performance support.

The experience in the real world is clear:  performance does improve and learning is embedded more successfully when mobile learning is part of the solution.

Also in this series:

Andrew Jackson is co-founder of Pacific Blue, specialists in developing innovative learning solutions for clients. To find out more about how to get started with mobile learning in your organisation visit:


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Andrew Jackson


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