For the first time ever, global Smartphone sales exceeded that of desktop and tablet PCs in 2011. Even people who are not familiar with computers generally find Smartphones easier to use. Therefore, the use of Smartphones has risen sharply, and the trend is expected to grow exponentially in the future.
Mobile learning, or the use of mobile devices for employee training is an effective strategy for organizations of the 21 century. Most of today’s workforce is familiar with using mobile phones. With the current economy, it is wiser to use what one has, instead of investing in new devices. In other words, instead of acquiring new computers to provide training to employees, it is more cost-effective to use their own Smartphones to train them.
In most of the organizations, senior executives, sales personnel, customer-support staff and transportation personnel are on the move most of the time. Even the remaining personnel spend a huge chunk of their time commuting every day to work. If they need to access training material on the go, mobile devices would be the only solution. Therefore, mobile training has very practical uses in most organizations, although only a few of them have started to put the technology to effective use.
Ways to Use Mobile Training as Part of an Overall Learning Strategy
- Micro-courses can be developed and used as pre-class introductions or post-class summaries for a training session. This would help in better comprehensibility and retention of content.
- Short quizzes and updates can be sent periodically to employees to help refresh their memories.
- Games and simulations can be developed to help employees implement the strategies that they have learnt during their training in a simulated environment.
- Reference material like formulas, charts, conversion calculators and a variety of tools can be loaded on mobile devices for easy access.
- Trouble shooting guides can be made available for easy access at a client’s premises.
Studies have shown that most people learn new information only when it is needed in an emergency. Unfortunately, most training is done in a classroom setting, far from where employees would eventually put that information to practical use. But with mobile training, they would have that information when they need it the most. And carrying that information with them wherever they go would provide them with confidence that printed content never can.
How to Make Effective Mobile Training
Touch-sensitive screens can do a lot more than what the mouse and keyboard can. Pinching, spreading, tapping, pulling, and a variety of other gestures with the fingers can be translated into a number of on-screen functions. Mobile devices are also gravity sensitive and can sense when they are being tilted. All of these capabilities can be put to effective use in the training material in ways they can never be implemented in printed books.
A lot of time can be saved by enabling employees to take up their training from wherever they are. Comprehensibility of the content can also be greatly enhanced by the use of multimedia. Diagrams, photos, and audio/video content can be used to make the programs more interesting and engaging. Interaction between the instructor and students can also be achieved by video conferencing technology, which is available on today’s mobile devices.
The latest multimedia technology, coupled with mobile learning can therefore be used effectively to enhance employee training. Employees who are well-trained and better equipped for their jobs would improve productivity and the long term success of an organization.