How to Build 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 next year, 50 percent of the workforce is expected to be millennials—the generation that grew up side-by-side with technology.

Before you jump head-first into mobile, consider asking the following eight questions for introducing, reviewing, or revamping your mobile learning strategy—and doing it right.

1. What are your business goals and strategies?

First, evaluate your long-term goals and strategies as an organization. It’s cool to have the newest, niftiest technology, especially when all your friends (or industry peers) are jumping on board, but is it right for your business?

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 are a few 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. Does mobile learning fit the culture of your company?

Does your organization readily adopt new technologies or uses for existing technology? Is your workforce actively accomplishing tasks that mobile can fit into? If your answer is yes to either question, chances are mobile learning is a cultural fit and you’ll have an easier time with adoption.

If you’re not sure about the answer, consider developing user personas. They’ll help flush out learner needs, expectations, and how likely they are to utilize mobile as an on-the-job support tool.

If mobile’s not the right cultural fit at the moment? Don’t sweat it! Everyone has to start somewhere when exploring mobile learning. Right now, that might just be a specific use-case rather than wide-spread use.  

3. Is your organization ready for mobile learning?

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

If you’re still leaning on laptops, desktops, and print materials for learning, take another look at your business goals and strategies. If mobile learning’s right for your company, check if there are ways to create a more mobile work environment. This could mean expanding your company policy on bringing your own device (BYOD) to work or issuing company tablets and phones to the teams that need to be most mobile.


How to Know if Mobile Learning Is Right for You

4. Who are your project stakeholders?

Will you be the primary point of contact for your business on this project? Or are there others who should be considered stakeholders on the project? Ironing out who will 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.

5. How do your learners use 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 learner. Go back and look over your user personas to understand how and where learners interact with mobile devices. Do they use smartphones over tablets? iPhones over Android phones? Or a combination of devices?

It’s also important to discover where your learners use their devices. Depending on your learning, you might be able to tailor the content for an on-the-go lifestyle. You can also increase retention by implementing microlearning—short learning bursts (friendly to mobile) that keep key information fresh in your learners’ minds.

6. What content do your learners need to know?

Mobile learning isn’t perfect for all types of learning. Depending on what content your learners need to know, you might want to choose a different avenue of learning, such as eLearning or even ILT. Mobile learning works best with content that has shorter seat times, less typing, and more interactions. Video learning, for example, works well with mobile, especially if the videos are 10 minutes or less.

The most important factor to remember is value. If your content isn’t engaging, beautifully designed, and providing value, learner engagement will plummet. So, how do you provide value to your learners through your content?

Make the learning applicable to them. Give them real-world applications 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.

7. Why should you measure learning effectiveness?

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 the costs of development and design 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. Evaluate these costs against your performance results to get a cost-to-performance ratio. Then you can see if your learning was effective or if you still need to improve some areas.

8. Do you have a partner?

Some organizations tackle building and implementing mobile tools internally, and while that can sound like an economical decision, it can be hard to find the right level of expertise to bring in-house. In most circumstances, it’s best to find a partner who lives and breathes learning and technology every day. The key is finding a learning partner who truly wants what’s best for 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 the 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

Take a good, long look before you leap

Seem like a lot to digest? Many companies are in the same boat, and it’s important to look deeper and find what’s right for your organization. Strategy is all about discovering your goals and organizational readiness upfront. This makes for far fewer headaches once you begin working with a partner and building out your mobile strategy.

Wondering what great mobile learning looks like?

Check out our work for Southwest Airlines!

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