That’s right. The “m” in mLearning is stands for “me” as the participant, not “mobile” as in the technology. Of course, mobile devices are involved but that’s not the reason to create a learning opportunity. The learning is driven by the needs of the participant.
Many thanks to ASTD for inviting me to participate in their new Mobile Learning Certificate Program. I continue to be impressed with ASTD’s forward thinking where social and mobile learning is concerned. In fact, I was able to attend ASTD’s TechKnowledge Conference this year and I’ll be sharing some thoughts with you about that event in the weeks to come.
Back to mobile learning. This 2-day workshop was facilitated by Chad Udell, managing director at Float Learning and author of the book, “Learning Everywhere”. If you’re ever tasked with exploring mLearning at your organization, he’s the guy you want to talk to.
Now remember my original statement: mLearning is about me, the participant. It’s about me learning something specific, in a bite-size chunk, at the moment I need it. Chad referred to it as “just enough, just for me, just in time”. When you think of mLearning in this context, it might frame the reason an organization explores mobile differently.
For example, just because everyone has a mobile device, it’s not a reason to create mLearning. The device doesn’t drive the discussion. What drives the discussion is the content and how participants will use the content. The content must address a gap. Now when we start talking about participants and gaps, this places a huge emphasis on conducting a proper assessment.
And as a training professional, I know it can be tough to get the time and resources to conduct a thorough assessment. But let me share with you a couple of takeaways from the Mobile Learning Certificate Program when it comes to the assessment phase in design:
Everything is not an mLearning project. Yes, mobile is cool. And apps are cool. But, similar to the process we go thru to decide if a program should be in a classroom or eLearning, the same type of conversation needs to happen with mLearning. It could be very tempting to create an mLearning project because someone in senior leadership is very enamored with the idea of having an app. But ultimately, the project will not be successful if mLearning isn’t being used for the right reasons.
User adoption is key. So let’s say the company does go through with creating mLearning. Before starting the project, it’s essential to gather information about the targeted users for the learning. Find out how they currently use their mobile devices. Also ask them what their favorite apps are and the reason. The last thing any company wants to do is spend time and resources creating an mLearning initiative only to find that people aren’t’ using it.
mLearning is widely popular because of the widespread adoption of mobile devices. That’s okay. I think lots of companies will be exploring mLearning as a result. Which is also very okay. But then we need to put our business hat on and make sure we are allocating resources properly.
This is just a small piece of what I learned. The workshop also covers in great detail how to project-manage an mLearning initiative. If your organization is considering mLearning in their future plans, this workshop is a great start to wrapping your head around the work that needs to be done.
Anyone contemplating an mLearning project this year? Let us know what you’re considering.