How To Upskill Employees Through Mobile Learning

Blue background of man in suit holding a mobile device with arrows pointing upwards.
January 26, 2023
3 minutes
Blue background of man in suit holding a mobile device with arrows pointing upwards.

We live in a time of constant digital transformation, and as learning and development (L&D) professionals, it can be a challenge to keep pace. Mobile training can be key, but you'll need the right authoring tool. Let's talk about a few important considerations: format flexibility, content reuse and access via a mobile app.

Upskill Employees Just-in-time on Mobile  

Just-in-time training is one of the keys to rapid upskilling. It closes the gap between learning and application, which is good for retention.

Effective just-in-time training resources are direct, focused in scope, easy to find and accessible where your employees need them.

For desk jobs, this may just mean short, to the point and well organized in a searchable/browsable format. But for many jobs, it also means literally being available when and where people need the information, and that means being accessible on their mobile devices.

True Responsive Authoring Ensures Usability at Every Screen Size

The great news is that it's easy to cover all your bases these days, producing content that looks great at every screen size by authoring in a true responsive format. Responsive HTML5 content will render consistently across all device types and screen configurations so it looks native to everyone.

Finding an authoring tool that supports robust responsive authoring can be a little trickier. Many responsive authoring platforms place limitations on both the form and function of your responsive content. For example, widget-only authoring interfaces can limit the kind of content you can produce, the degree of interactivity and the look and feel.

A robust responsive authoring tool will open avenues for instructional design. You'll be able to build a variety of mobile-optimized training resources suitable for just-in-time learning and performance support, from helpful infographics and job aids to searchable knowledge base articles or gamified simulations.

The flexibility and breadth of options will enable you to choose the best instructional design method — or methods — for each learning objective.

Maximize the Value of Training Assets With Content Reuse

To get the most out of your time and energy, you’ll want a responsive authoring tool with smart content reuse capabilities. That should go beyond simple copy-paste recycling and include the ability to reuse content across multiple projects while retaining the ability to update in a single location.

This opens the possibility to create an array of mobile training resources efficiently from the same building blocks, covering multiple instructional design approaches that appeal to different learning preferences or use cases.  

This type of multimodal learning is also great for increasing retention through spaced repetition.

Content reuse also gives you the chance to create a body of training content where the scenarios and examples are targeted to specific audiences. You can serve a broad audience with reused elements while drilling down to the specific applications needed by individual roles.

Minimize Security and Connectivity Problems With Mobile App Delivery

Responsive authoring with a mobile-first mindset can remove many of the obstacles to just-in-time course access, but mobile distribution can introduce a few problems of its own. You need to proactively consider the role of security and connectivity in your workplace and plan to compensate if you think either or both may cause trouble.

Connectivity is less of a common problem than it used to be, but there are still situations where it is and will continue to be an issue — remote locations, concrete walls, and purposeful dead zones (air-gapped environments) being a few examples. If connectivity is likely to be an issue in your user's work environment, you need to distribute your mobile learning on a platform that supports offline delivery.  

Mobile distribution of training materials can introduce security risks for some organizations. Mobile devices can be lost or stolen, and wireless signals can be intercepted or cloned. If information security is a big concern for you, you'll need to take steps to minimize the risks.

Look for mobile apps with features to ameliorate both issues. Automatic timeout and remote content wiping capabilities can remove security concerns related to lost devices, for example. Mobile delivery apps can also store content for offline access and then send course results back to your learning management system (LMS) once an internet connection is reestablished.  

Get the Right Tools for Mobile Upskilling

Once you've built the upskilling library of your dreams, you'll have many options for publishing and distribution. It’s important to consider which platform can best support your business’ unique needs and priorities. Then, you’ll be positioned to leverage mobile learning for improved training at scale.  

Paul Schneider, the senior vice president of business development for dominKnow Learning Systems, has worked in the area of distance communication technologies in academia and corporate for over 18 years, primarily focusing on distance learning. Paul has provided services in most areas of learning, including instructional design, distance education, mobile training, and performance support. He currently oversees operations and business development at dominKnow Learning Systems. Paul holds a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

This article was originally published on Training Industry.

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