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8 Things to Consider When Developing a Successful Mobile Learning Strategy

Mobile is here to stay. Once considered a new and emerging technology, it’s settled into the daily lives of every learner, and that’s good news for you. That's because, by 2020, 50 percent of the workforce is expected to be millennials—the generation that grew up glued to technology.

Before you jump head-first into mobile, consider the eight points below for introducing, reviewing or revamping your mobile strategy:

1. Company Goals, Strategy, and Dependency

First, evaluate your long-term goals and strategies as an organization. It’s cool to have a nifty new gadget, especially when all your friends (or industry peers) are jumping on board, but is it for you?

Asking this question at the outset of developing a mobile strategy sets you up for success in the long run. Look at the big picture and actively discuss how mobile fits into it. Here’s a sample of some helpful questions to consider when evaluating your goals for mobile:

  • Are you expanding as an organization?
  • Are you facing communication challenges when delivering learning content?
  • Are you trying to deliver content faster or act as performance support to field employees?

2. Cultural Fit*

You’ve explored your company’s goals, and now it’s time to asses if adopting mobile fits your workforce culture. Does your organization readily adopt new technologies or uses for existing technology?

If your workforce is used to working and integrating mobile devices into their daily routines, chances are it’s a cultural fit and you’ll have an easier time with adoption.

Not sure if mobile is a fit for your workforce? Consider developing user personas. They’ll help flush out users needs, expectations and how they’re likely to utilize mobile as an on-the-job support tool.

*Mobile maybe not a cultural fit at the moment? Don’t sweat it! Everyone has to start somewhere when exploring mobile learning, and by putting the right practices in place, you’re setting up for it to become a fit!

3. Organizational Readiness

This is a key, and often overlooked, aspect in developing mobile learning. Take a good, hard look and ask yourself: are we ready for mobile? This means assessing what technology usage looks like at your organization. If the majority of your team is already using a mobile device–think tablet or smartphone–adopting mobile learning will be much easier.

If you’re still leaning on laptops, desktops and print materials for training, we recommend going back to step one. See if there are ways to incorporate a more mobile work environment. It could mean expanding your company policy on bring your own device (BYOD) to work or issuing company tablets and phones to the teams that need to be most mobile.

4. Performance Partner

Goals? Check. Fit? Check. Readiness? Check. Partner? Crickets. Some organizations tackle building and implementing mobile tools internally, and while that can sound like an economical decision, we recommend partnering with someone who lives and breathes mobile everyday. I know what you’re thinking: "Of course you want us to work with you. You’re a performance partner yourself!" And while we would love to work with you if you’re interested, this point really comes from a place of wanting what is best for you.

We’ve seen several of our clients set out to develop mobile learning either themselves or with a cost-efficient team overseas. Unfortunately, they've failed for one reason or another, and now they’re looking to redo or fix the original work, spending more money in addition to their original outlay.

Trust us–in the end it will end up being cheaper to work with someone from the outset and get exactly what you’re looking for. Your future self (and peace of mind) will thank you.

Below are a few things to keep in mind when looking at potential agencies. There are several pieces to consider when evaluating a new partner, but we find these to be key to a happy relationship:

  • They make your needs and goals their own
  • They’re full service from start to finish
  • Transparency is evident in their communication
  • You can picture yourself working with them long-term

5. Project Stakeholders

You’ve found your partner to walk with you down the yellow brick road of mobile strategy; now it’s time to decide who gets to wear the red slippers. Will you be the primary point of contact for your company on this project? Or are there others who should be considered stakeholders on the project?

Ironing out who will be the go-to person to own the vision on your side from the get-go will ensure smooth communication and cut out repetitive meetings spent bringing others up to speed.

6. Technology

There are several options out there when it comes to how you will deliver your mobile learning. The key to selecting the right technology? Understanding your user. Go back and look over your user personas to understand how and where learners interact with mobile devices. Do they utilize smartphones over tablets? iPhones over Android phones? Or a combination of devices?

NativeScript can be a great solution to any and all of the above scenarios. It’s an open-source framework that developers use to create apps that deliver a native user experience across Apple and Android devices.

Talk to your performance partner to decide what technology solution is best for deploying your mobile learning. They should be able to suggest which method will be best to meet your goals and budget.

7. Content

The content medium is just as important as–if not more than–the technology used to deploy mobile learning. If your content isn’t engaging, beautifully designed, and providing value, user engagement will plummet. So, how do you provide value to your learners through your content?

You make it applicable to them. Give them real-world application for the content they’re learning and how it applies to their specific job function. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how frequently some miss this mark and just dump information on their learners. No way can they retain all of that information in one sitting.

No one loves that kind of situation. Instead, consider breaking your content up into chunks. This will help your learners retain information over a longer period of time. But most importantly? Tell a story. Storytelling makes your learning more compelling and engaging.

8. Measuring Effectiveness

We know you didn’t invest in a mobile learning strategy just for the fun of it. You want results! But how do you know you’re getting those results and properly measuring your learning effectiveness? There are a few ways to achieve this. The easiest way is to calculate and measure ROI.

Estimate what the costs of development and design are and put those costs up against the benefits of your mobile learning. These benefits might be increased knowledge retention, higher sales, fewer compliance issues, or whatever your core focus is. “By evaluating costs against performance results you will be able to get a cost-to-performance ratio that can truly help you determine whether your online training was effective or there are still areas that need to be improved.”

Seem like a lot to digest? Have no fear. Lots of companies are in the same boat, and it’s all about figuring out what is right for your organization. Determining your goals and organizational readiness upfront will make for far fewer headaches once you begin working with a partner and actually building out your mobile strategy.

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