Statistics show that Millenials check their smartphones around 150 times a day. Mobile devices now dominate our personal lives and they have the power to transform the way we learn too. Mobile learning encourages professionals to embed learning into their daily routine and take charge of their learning experience. Adopting Mobile Learning as part of your L&D strategy can help your company to engage with your employees and create a continuous learning culture. 

The changing face of the modern day workplace 

Workforce demographics are shifting with five generations now making up today’s workplace. It is predicted that Millennials will account for 46% of all US workers by 2020. It’s also becoming increasingly common for younger employees to be in positions of leadership—often supervising and managing older employees.

These multi-generational workers can all be classified as Modern Learners

These learners are purposeful and demanding consumers of learning, they are tech-savvy and connected with an unhealthy addiction to their smartphone

Furthermore, when it comes to professional development, their need for short bursts of high impact just-in-time learning is paramount.

Demystifying the Modern Learner

How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

Time is of the essence 

According to Deloitte, only 1% of the working week is available to an average employee for training and development. That’s just 24 minutes in a 40-hour working week to develop talent.

This is where the Modern Learner lives; in the narrow gap where technological curiosity and a hunger for information are fighting a monochromatic culture intent on squeezing learning into a tiny box.

What does this mean for L&D?

It means that instructional designers and course providers must keep the Modern Learner’s needs in mind when designing blended and eLearning programs.

It means designing training programs that allow employees to increase their knowledge on an ongoing basis over time without feeling overwhelmed.

It means designing flexible, accessible training programs that enable learners to squeeze their learning into tiny gaps in their day.

It means multi-modal training programs which combine both instructor-led training as well as effective digital content to deliver optimal results.

It means ensuring that training programs can be accessed through on-the-go learning that can be accessed while waiting for a meeting to start, or sitting around in the departure lounge having a coffee.

Learning should be ubiquitous for it to stand a chance of engaging today’s learner. Learning happens everywhere, and training programs must offer this flexibility to today’s professionals. 

Soft Skills and Microlearning: Bite-sized Bursts of Learning

Mobile Learning is the way forward

Enter Mobile Learning (mLearning) – flexible learning that harnesses the portability of devices to encourage learners to learn anytime, anywhere and on any device. 

Mobile Learning is supported by several known principles of learning in andragogy, essentially motivating adults to learn more effectively by connecting learning to practical application.

We already know that training programs must be designed to be appealing and compelling to learners. This means combining a number of learning approaches to the training content; cognitive, behaviorist and constructivist.

Mobile Learning utilizes a blend of multiple learning styles to meet the needs of all sorts of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

Training programs should also accelerate the learning process by asking learners to play an active role in their learning to aid retention and improve motivation.

How does Mobile Learning solve low learner engagement?

We know that the Modern Learner is easily distracted, has little time on their hands and often push on-the-job training to the bottom of their to-do list. 

Here is how Mobile Learning can improve learner engagement in your organization and ultimately improve the ROI of your training offer: 

1.  It makes learning more dynamic 

Video learning is no longer an optional element of a successful training program. 

Mobile content lends itself to incorporating elements of all key learning styles.

Visual and auditory learners can access visually dynamic pictures, charts, and diagrams. Short 2-3 minute video content with an enthusiastic, expert presenter can maximize engagement and awake passion for the subject at hand.  

Kinaesthetically, touchscreen Mobile Learning incorporates movement, allowing learners to drag, drop and tap. It also provides frequent opportunities for interaction in the form of quizzes interspersed between the learning content.

Mobile Learning is all about gamification and gaming your learning content drives engagement levels and guarantees positive results.

Demystifying the Modern Learner

How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

2.  It makes learning more flexible

Mobile Learning means complete flexibility. By removing any time restraints, learners are more likely to connect to their learning programs.

If you restrict a learner to learning at work, you’re missing a trick.

Why shouldn’t they learn while commuting on the train? What’s to stop them completing a unit on the airplane? Learning should be ubiquitous.

3.  It allows learners to advance at their own pace 

Mobile Learning means that learners can learn at their own pace. It gives them plenty of opportunities to review and reflect on their learning. Self-pacing also aids with retention and gives learners multiple opportunities to recycle and review key concepts.

Digital interactive content gives them a safe space where they can experiment using new languages and skills.

Soft Skills and Microlearning: Bite-sized Bursts of Learning

4.  It encourages continuous learning 

Mobile Learning also allows learners to receive notifications and alerts, reminders to connect to their course. It allows them to pick up where they left off when they left their workstations, and to make learning part of their day-to-day. 

5.  It allows learners to apply their learning immediately 

Mobile Learning means just-in-time learning. By making learning problem orientated, learners can immediately apply their learning to their job, therefore saving time at work and increasing productivity.

6.  It encourages learners to take charge of their learning 

Mobile Learning encourages personalization and also accountability on the side of the learner.

Professionals are given the freedom to chose when they study and with this comes the responsibility of investing time in learning as long as objectives, tasks, and deadlines are clearly defined.

Mobile Learning creates autonomous learners who take initiative in their approach to training.

Mobile Learning also drives peer interaction through informal social learning. Learning is more enjoyable when you can share your knowledge with colleagues. Being able to share articles at the tap of a finger is key to building a collaborative learning culture.

7. It encourages microlearning

Mobile Learning encourages microlearning and microlearning helps us to learn the way that your brain wants you to – through small, manageable components. These high impact bite-sized activities are suited perfectly to the Modern Learner’s needs. 

Mobile first  

Compelling learning. Engaging learning. Touch-driven learning. Video learning. All of these are provided by Mobile Learning. New technologies are being seamlessly woven into the fabric of training programs, the smartphone has become a ubiquitous learning tool that is harnessed by learners all around the globe. It’s not a question of using Mobile Learning as an add-on, it’s about ensuring that your training program has been designed mobile first so your employees can take full advantage of the training offered.