Mobile Learning – Mobilize! Three Steps for Developing Content for Mobile Delivery
Mobile Learning: Experts estimate that by 2013, about 35% of the workforce will access content via mobile devices. Talent management professionals know that making training programs accessible encourages employees to comply with program goals and delivers an edge over competitors.
These facts pose a challenge for learning development professionals. They need to stay ahead of the curve by delivering training content in the field where their employees can readily access it. However, few have the time or budget to approach mobile learning as a separate initiative from their current training programs, reinvent the wheel on content, and integrate mobile training delivery into existing programs. Plus, the wide range of options available for creating and implementing a truly mobile training experience can be confusing.
As you move toward a fully integrated mobile learning content strategy for your company, you can minimize the confusion by focusing on three components that are vital to the process – the assessment of device options, your user experience goals, and special considerations that are unique to your learner needs. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors and map out three steps toward a mobile-learning-management system.
Step One – Evaluate Device Options
A variety of devices, including smartphones and tablet computers, deliver mobile content. Within each of those devices, you have a variety of operating systems to consider, including iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. It’s important to remember that your learning content interacts with the delivery device in a number of ways, and this can impact the choices you make as you integrate existing content into the mobile-learning-management component of your program.
For example, if your learning-management content currently makes heavy use of Flash presentations, you’ll need to think about alternate delivery methods for those parts of your workforce using Apple devices – Apple’s iOS doesn’t support Flash delivery. Even if your mobile platform supports Flash, performance varies wildly across different devices. There are ways to address this and accommodate a number of different delivery systems. But the first step is to evaluate your device options.
In one real-world example, Hollister Wound Care LLC, a leader in the wound-care products and services sector, faced this dilemma when contemplating training options for its geographically dispersed sales team and healthcare provider customer base. As a major player in the healthcare sector, Hollister Wound Care LLC has unique delivery needs. The organization’s sales team serves its customer base in the field, and customers receiving wound-care training are a highly mobile group of healthcare professionals. They require delivery of their training information at various types of healthcare facilities as well as at patient bedsides.
To meet these challenges, Hollister rolled out ConnectEd, a unique training solution that enables the company to deliver more than 30 training modules to healthcare facilities that adopt the Hollister approach to delivering wound care. And to accommodate tech-savvy physicians, medical students, and allied health professionals who use mobile devices, Hollister added a mobile application that interfaces with multiple tablet computers and smartphones, including iPads and iPhones.
This strategy enables learners to download ConnectEd training modules from the iTunes store and receive access to information in real time wherever they are – including at patient bedsides. The portal approach optimizes ConnectEd content for a variety of mobile devices to deliver training on the go.
Step Two – Define the User Experience
Just as devices interact with learning content in a variety of ways, the way users experience content can vary greatly according to the type of device they use to view training material.
Screen size is one consideration – there’s a great deal of variation in the user experience if the same content is pushed out to employees with 20-inch monitors versus staff viewing content on small iPhone or BlackBerry screens. Your approach should minimize side-to-side scrolling by adapting content to different screen sizes. An approach that accommodates different screen sizes will produce a positive user experience and encourage training program compliance.
User interactivity capabilities are another factor. Savvy learning-management professionals often use incentives and seek ways to build excitement about their training programs to encourage participation, and it’s important to make sure you enhance this experience in the mobile environment.
There are a number of ways to generate excitement and deliver an excellent user experience in the mobile space. Rich media elements such as high-definition video and interactive games can build enthusiasm and encourage repeat visits to important training modules. Sometimes introducing an element of competition can heighten interest and drive users to training material.
Whichever approach you choose, it’s vital to ensure that you can adjust training content to meet emerging business needs. It’s also crucial to make sure you can track training activities in the mobile space just as you would in more traditional training venues. As you evaluate mobile training options, keep flexibility in mind.
Step Three – Identify Special Considerations
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