Elearning Workplace training

8 minute read

What is Mobile Learning?

Hugo Britt

Hugo Britt

Mobile learning is one of those rare technologies that provides fantastic benefits both to organizations and to end-users. 

For organizations, mobile learning increases learning engagement and uptake while slashing the costs of learning programs. For users, mobile learning saves time and opens up the possibility of learning from anywhere they want — even from the comfort of their sofas.  

What is mobile learning? 

Mobile learning (also known as mlearning and m-learning) is a way to access learning content from anywhere and at any time using an internet-connected digital device. For businesses, this means that employees no longer have to be in a specific place or time to undertake training. 

Mobile learning - while travellingValued at USD $27.32 billion in 2019, the mobile learning market is expected to undergo explosive growth to reach USD $280.08 billion by 2027

Types of mobile learning

Let’s explore two applications of mobile learning: in corporate education and in higher education. Both sectors have experienced a mobile learning boom due to the abrupt shift to remote environments caused by COVID-19. 

Mobile learning in corporate education

Organizations of every size have embraced the concept of mobile learning due to its affordability, scalability, and flexibility. 

The old-school approach to learning involved sending teams off-site to an in-person training course at a specific time and place. However, this was expensive, difficult to arrange around busy schedules, and often led to poor learning outcomes. 

Nowadays, employees are empowered to decide how, when, and where they undertake learning using mobile learning. 

Mobile learning - while travellingMobile learning examples and trends in corporate education include:

  • Access to content libraries: Whether it’s via a shared drive, company intranet, or through a Learning Management System (LMS) such as GoSkills, all learning content should be accessible remotely through mobile devices. 
  • Curated content: Curated content may refer to mobile-accessible curated courses (via an LMS) or simply sharing links to useful articles or videos that everyone can access. 
  • Text-based learning: Mobile learning can take the form of an e-reader wherein users simply read a PDF or ebook version of a textbook. However, it’s important to keep in mind that large chunks of text are not ideal in a mobile environment. 
  • Video-based learning: Video and sound is known to increase learning retention compared with using a text-only approach to delivering course material. 
  • Instructor-led or virtual instructor: This type of mobile learning is the closest to a classroom environment. Employees join a course at a pre-arranged time to watch a virtual instructor deliver the course material and may interact with the instructor by asking or answering questions.  
  • Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) learning: Virtual reality refers to total immersion in a digital learning environment, while augmented reality creates an “overlay” effect where digital content appears in a real-world environment. VR and AR require specialized equipment (headsets or digital glasses).  
  • Microlearning: With a recognition that the average learner has an extremely short attention span, microlearning is designed to maximize engagement and the retention of information by breaking course material up into very short modules. This could be a two-minute training video or only 200 words of text followed by a very short quiz. Microlearning is ideal for the “learn from anywhere” approach to mobile learning, such as completing a quick microlearning module during a morning commute to work.  
  • Gamification: Gamifying may involve a points-based reward system, a leader-board, or other game-like features to increase positive competition and drive engagement with mobile learning. 

How to apply mobile learning in your organization

To apply mobile learning successfully in your organization:

  • Ensure all learning content is optimized for mobile consumption. This involves creating content with a “mobile-first” approach, rather than making it accessible for mobile as an afterthought. Choose an LMS platform such as GoSkills that will enable this. 
  • Ensure all learning content works equally well on different types of mobile devices such as phones and tablets, and on different operating systems like iOS and Android. 
  • Ensure all your employees have access to mobile devices before moving your eLearning to a mobile environment. 
  • Track and report on mobile learning and gather feedback from users to drive continuous improvement. 

Mobile learning in higher education

Similar to mobile learning in a corporate environment, m-learning in higher education enables students to flexibly access course material from anywhere, at any time. It has led to a rise in self-directed learning and has facilitated the rise of the online university sector.

Mobile learning - higher educationHigher education mobile learning examples and trends are similar to the corporate use cases described above. They include:

  • Virtual classrooms: Students can watch live or pre-recorded videos of lectures and may be able to engage with the lecturer via audio or text-based input.
  • Collaborative learning: A mobile-accessible Zoom-type environment can be best suited for collaborative learning with lots of communication between tutors and students.  
  • Quizzes and tests: Higher education providers can test students’ understanding with mobile-optimized quizzes or tests, replacing the traditional pen-and-paper exam-hall environment. 
  • Mobile access to content libraries: Cutting the expense of paper-based textbooks. 
  • Curated content: Links to articles, eLearning, and other content shared by educators and shared amongst students. 
  • There is also text and video-based learning, microlearning, and gamification.

How to apply mobile learning in higher education

  • Implement a Learning Management System (such as GoSkills) that is optimized for mobile devices. 
  • Ensure all learning content works equally well on different types of mobile devices such as phones and tablets, and on different operating systems like iOS and Android. 
  • Don’t assume that every student owns a mobile device. Arrange access to a mobile device for students who do not have one. 
  • Track and report on mobile learning and gather feedback from users to drive continuous improvement. 

Benefits of mobile learning

Mobile learning offers organizations and users the following benefits:

  1. Increased flexibility in terms of learning from anywhere at any time. 
  2. Flexible, on-demand learning does not disrupt day-to-day workloads or routines.  
  3. People are highly familiar with using mobile technology to access information. 
  4. Mobile learning improves learning outcomes such as engagement, retention, and completion rates. 
  5. Mobile users finish courses on average 45 percent faster
  6. Can be used for synchronous or asynchronous learning.

In terms of disadvantages, mobile learning relies on the users’ devices, so it’s important to ensure cybersecurity protocols are being followed. 

Mobile learning

The five C’s of mobile learning

Learning experience expert, Clark Quinn, created the “five C’s of mobile learning” to help guide learning providers. They are:

  1. Content: Providing materials that can be accessed anywhere or for specific contexts. 
  2. Capture: Using device capabilities to enable learning to capture images, video, sound, and make notes as part of their learning experience. 
  3. Communicate: Ensure users can communicate with each other via a messaging or chat feature. 
  4. Compute: Leverage the device’s computing abilities to assist in manual tasks such as language translation. 
  5. Combine: Look at ways to combine points 1 to 4 to create interesting, engaging ways to supply content to the user. 

Use GoSkills LMS for a world-class mobile learning experience

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Hugo Britt

Hugo Britt

Hugo Britt is a freelance content writer who believes that every topic is fascinating if you dig deeply enough. Hugo is the co-founder of content marketing agency Discontent.