What Is mLearning and How Do We Put It To Use in LMS?6 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
Which one is the electronic gadget you use most during the day? What about the one you’re reading this article on right now, listened to your last podcast, or watched an informative video on? Let me guess: your phone?
While staying on our phones – which is 80 times a day – most of the time we feel guilty for doing so, because we feel like we’re wasting our time. But if we think more closely, it is actually the means of a lot of information coming our way, even if it is something we read on our social media feed.
What I mean is, our smartphones have great potential to be used exclusively for learning, given their accessibility, interactivity, and flexibility. The benefits are plentiful, and it all comes down to one term to be familiar with. mLearning or mobile learning.
What is mLearning and why is it important?
Its meaning is as simple as the name suggests: learning done on a mobile device. We learn from our mobiles all the time, oftentimes without the intention of doing so, however, it could be something that will transform your existing training program.
Either by mLearning apps or mobile-optimized training content, mobile learning is simply too good a strategy not to use. The mLearning market is expected to be worth around $37.60 billion by 2020, so this should convey the message well enough.
How is it different from other ways of learning?
mLearning is quite different from traditional learning. Its dominant distinctive features are:
1. 3-10 minute sessions
mLearning believes strongly on microlearning. Content is given bite-sized, usually chunked up into sets of short 3 to 10-minute sessions. It might seem little, but if this is what it takes for the learner to be attentive to the full session, then it’s just enough. This way, the student absorbs the material step by step so that the parts are learned correctly.
2. The content is always interactive
mLearning content is comprised of interactive elements like eye-catching images, infographics, videos and more. Since the content is shortly timed, it is always easily memorable and clearly understood.
3. The learner is self-motivated
mLearning happens naturally and is always self-motivated and initiated. The learner seeks knowledge by themselves out of sheer curiosity or for a specific reason. Needless to say, mLearning happens in an informal environment, and knowing that 90% of our experiences are learned through informal training, mLearning is evidently favored.
4. Just-in-time Training
Living in a competitive digital technology era, we never know when and what information we’ll need to know. So the traditional way of going to a class to learn something just doesn’t work anymore. We need to have certain information handy at the moment we need it, by the touch of a button. mLearning makes perfect sense in such cases.
5. Track learning paths
Another significant feature of mLearning is the ability to track one’s learning process. If using an LMS, the learner and the training ‘coach’ can instantly check and measure what amount of training that is finished and how much time was spent on a specific training course.
mLearning in statistics
- 47% of organizations currently use mobile devices in their training programs.
- Mobile learning is gaining mainstream acceptance every day more. The growth rate for eLearning is -4.4%, while the demand for mobile learning is at 9.6%.
- Moreover, smartphone users complete course materials 45% faster than on desktop.
- 29% of m-learners say that they apply what they learn more quickly than when they are learning on a desktop.
- mLearning is a worldwide phenomenon, but – having in mind their love for technology – Asia turns out to be the most vibrant mLearning market on the planet. Almost 200 million people in China access mobile learning content through their phones, on a monthly basis.
- Millennials spend nearly 4 hours per day on their phones so this statistic is no surprise. Over the past couple of years, mobile website traffic has surpassed desktop traffic worldwide, with 52.2% of websites being opened on mobile browsers.
As such, mobile learning revenues in Asia are expected to reach $7.7 billion by the end of 2019.
Advantages of mobile learning
Time and place don’t matter when m-learning. One can listen to a podcast on their daily commute to work, or watch a lecture on their lunch break or even laying in bed at home.
mLearning is also great for companies that have remote workers. They can have employees in different countries but can provide them the same learning material and tests to view their progress.
Employees will feel more motivated when they are assigned to take a training course on their phones whenever it suits them, having in mind their busy work schedule, rather than having to spend a weekend in traditional training. As if regular work hours were not enough…
Therefore, use mLearning and don’t ruin people’s Sunday brunch plans!
Content that doesn’t bore you
Videos, audio files, images, and quizzes make learning more lively, interactive and interesting. It’s highly undoubtedly that you’ll fall asleep in the middle of a 10-minute video, now in the middle of a 90-minute lecture… we can’t say the same.
Disadvantages of mobile learning
Mobile devices know how to be a great distraction for anyone intending to learn from them. Sure you might enjoy learning on mobile phones or tablets, but you get this one notification or text message and now texting surpasses learning in “the fun challenge”. For this reason, it’d be wise to turn off notifications during mLearning. This takes us to…
Self-discipline is needed
As we mentioned, distraction can happen, but they’re not inevitable. One must be disciplined enough to focus completely on what they’re doing. Sure training by mLearning might be informal, but it does require taking it seriously and focusing.
Why businesses must adapt mLearning
Mobile programs are perfect for companies that operate in the on-demand space or for those that hire remote or freelance workers. Training them through mLearning makes is effective & cost-effective, and they’ll appreciate that they can learn at their own pace and time. And, even though your employees might be located elsewhere, you can still see their progress, since it happens on a digital platform.
This is possible through learning management systems such as Kiwi LMS which is HTML5-based and fully compatible with web browsers on all mobile devices.
Therefore, it can be said that mobile learning was made for modern workers that seek alternative ways of education and growth opportunities when the traditional ones don’t suit them. Hence, mLearning is necessary for learning and development (L&D) in business arrangements and the best way to inspire your employees to learn.