Back to the Future of Mobile Learning

On October 21,, 2015 we will finally be at the point in time to which Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) travels in Back to the Future II, the 1989 sequel to the time-traveling classic. The future he predicts has captured the imagination of millions and has proved remarkably prophetic. (The Cubs are in the World Series, and who would have believed that one!)

 

Except for a few key oversights, the world Marty describes somewhat resembles our own in a strange and uncanny way. For example, he didn’t predict the internet or mobile phone or did he? Remember the scene where a member of Hill Valley’s Preservation Society holds out a tablet for Marty to electronically sign to save the clock tower. While the tablet featured in the film is much clunkier than the tablets we have today, the idea is still the same. Something small and wireless people can use for work, play and to learn.

 

Now, imagine if you were using your mobile phone or tablet for learning, and you were able to go to the Apple App and Google Play stores and see your organizations own branded learning app? This isn’t something for the reboot of the Back to the Future franchise, it can be there today with Meridian! Meridian MobileTM application is the industry’s first mobile solution that allows organizations to deliver a compelling, consumerized mobile experience that matches the brand’s identity.

 

We know from numerous studies that learning via your mobile device is on the rise. We know that companies are looking to embrace their brand in a personalized manner to reinforce the quality and tailored nature of the learning to their workforce.

 

Real life example: a government agency that deploys their Meridian Branded Mobile app across all of their agencies. Each agency has their own brand and displaying this in the app reinforces the connection between the mission of the agency, the learners, and the learning objects. Meridian Branded Mobile App is a native mobile app, offering security and offline capability not available in hybrid or mobile web apps.

 

Here is the even better news… the Meridian Mobile app provides learners the opportunity to download learning while connected, take learning offline, and seamlessly sync activities when back online. Users can more easily collaborate, interact and share information within the system, and Meridian customers can make more informed decisions and more effectively and accurately measure the value of individual or company-wide learning activities.

 

Marty may have missed the mark on flying cars, self-tying shoelaces and dust repellent paper, but I think mobile learning is here to stay!  For more information about the Meridian MobileTM check out our one-minute video or stop by booth #2614 for a demo.

 

Technology Takeover: Setting Expectations and Managing the Transition to Mobile

Earlier this year we posted a blog focusing on the takeover of mobile technology and the five considerations that need to be made whether you are just starting to map out your plans for mobile learning, or are reexamining your current mobile strategy.

 

Why is it so important to get on board with mobile now? Because mobile technology has already taken over (metaphorically speaking of course). According to research from Cisco, in 2014 the number of mobile devices in use globally was set to officially surpass the total global population and by 2019 it is estimated that there will nearly 1.5 devices in use for every human on the planet.

 

At this point you know the facts about mobile, you answered all of the preliminary questions and defined your mobile strategy, you found a technology partner (Meridian, we hope!) to help make your mobile learning goals a reality. So, now what? Here are five tips to help you set expectations and successfully manage the transition to mobile:

 

Identify a quick win

We’ve all heard the phrase “don’t try to boil the ocean,” but when it comes to mobile learning this piece of advice is especially true. When launching mobile learning it is important to find an impactful first project. But how do you know which project is right to be your guinea pig? There are 3 specific criteria that come to mind:

 

  • Focus on a project that will improve job execution or help maintain compliance – in other words, make sure you offer leaning that has immediate, tangible value
  • Make sure that the content is compelling – leverage existing document-based content or find a project where a small amount of content can be developed quickly
  • Make sure that the project is something that you will be able to TEST, TEST, TEST before you deploy

 

Develop a content strategy

Great content, or lack thereof, can make or break a mobile learning program. Ensuring that you are delivering the right kind of content via mobile learning is key.

 

Start by defining a process for existing content. Evaluate the content you already have in your learning management system (LMS) and determine what can be repurposed for mobile delivery. Once you have an idea of the existing content that can be repurposed, you will know where the gaps are.

 

When it comes to developing new content, make sure that the courses you create are “bite-sized” for easier mobile access. Also, set standards that can be used for internal course creation as well as passed along to any external, third parties that will be creating content for your organization.

 

Set user expectations

User adoption plays a huge role in the success of mobile and when it comes to getting end users on board they want to know two things:

 

  • What can they expect?What is the basic knowledge that end users will need to know when using the mobile app – what device platforms will be supported, what will the typical download time be for content, what kind of portability will exist across devices?
  • What’s in it for them?Be sure to tell users why they should take the time to install the app on their device and download learning content. What content will be available to them and why should they care about that content? Also, share ROI projections such as “we expect to decrease the amount of time to complete the program by 20%, etc.”

 

Which leads me to the next two points…

 

Put on your marketing hat

“If you build it, they will come” only applies to baseball diamonds in Iowa (trust me, I live in Iowa so I know what I am talking about). Building a mobile learning program that no one knows about will get you nowhere. Awareness is crucial to the long term success of your mobile learning initiative. Lack of awareness of your mobile offerings can lead to decreased user adoption and long term engagement. That means that it is time to take a page out of the marketing playbook.

 

First, make sure that your mobile program fits in with the overall brand and identity of your greater learning program and LMS. Second, create a communication plan to announce the launch of your mobile offerings and continue to reach out to employees to notify them of new courses as they are made available. Need more tips? Check out the “Why Learning and Marketing Should Be BFFs” whitepaper for additional insight.

 

Continue measuring ROI

In the beginning stages of planning you more than likely mapped the key performance indicators (KPIs) that resonated with your business needs (and if not, DO IT!), now it is time to report on them.

 

Continually revisit your KPIs as your program goes live. Adjust your targets if needed based on early results, and identify new KPIs that align with new mobile initiatives as your program continues to change and grow. Also, don’t be shy when it comes to sharing your success! Don’t be afraid to brag a little; this is where the marketing aspect comes back into play.