Whether you’re at the movies, at a park, or in a grocery store, it is more than likely that you’ll spot someone on their mobile phone. They may be checking product reviews, an email or learning. Yes, you read that right – learning. Mobile learning is at the forefront of how we learn and is expected to grow from $7.98 billion in 2015 to $37.6 billion by 2020. Experts are calling this a ‘Mobile Revolution.’ If you haven’t jumped aboard this learning trend, this blog will further provide you with all the pros and cons of mobile learning.
M-learning or mobile learning is "learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.
With the increase of Millennials in the workforce, it’s no wonder mobile learning has gained in popularity. This group of learners have grown up with technology and it’s their preference to use their devices in the workplace.
Current estimates show that about 47% of organizations in the U.S. are now using mobile devices as powerful eLearning solutions in their employee training programs. That number is set to rise quickly because mobile learning is extremely effective.
Let’s take a look at some of the obvious advantages to mobile learning.
Cost Effective - A report by Gartner predicted, by 2017, almost 90% of corporations will support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in some form or the other. Employees will be allowed to carry and use their own devices to work. This will make online training cost-effective as organizations are not bound to provide the devices.
Learning Flexibility – Mobile learning creates a flexible learning environment that can happen anytime because they can access content whenever and wherever they want.
Improved Completion and Retention Rates - Learning only happens when instructional content is completed and key points are retained. Mobile learning is designed to create engagement, which leads to course completion. And being that mobile learning is also tailored to fit the device usage habits and learning patterns of today’s learners, the result is higher rates of retention.
Mobile learning also is a great platform for micro-learning. ‘Bite-size’ lessons have been shown to increase engagement and retention. Recent studies have also demonstrated that allowing training to be accessible via mobile phones can lead to increased productivity of up to 40%.
Better Performance – Collaboration is one of the biggest advantages of mobile learning. Today’s younger employees enjoy collaborating with others in the workplace and more engagement results in better performance. It also provides personalization, which adds to the sense of engagement and motivation of the users.
While mobile learning provides many advantages, there are also some disadvantages to be aware of.
Security and privacy issues – This is probably one of the biggest issues companies’ face that are compliance driven. Technologies, protocols and policies that provide security and privacy in networked applications have to be improved and adjusted to take into account the new uses and requirements of mLearning.
Connectivity Issues – While mobile learning is supposed to be enabled anytime, anywhere, this isn’t always the case. Learning can only happen if there is internet! There may be some connectivity problems while uploading and downloading the information because of poor or totally absent mobile network signals.
Physical Limitations – Spending a lot of time looking at a small mobile device isn’t conducive to a great learning experience. Eye strain is a common problem, however mobile learning isn’t generally used for long format trainings but rather micro-learning.
Device Compatibility – Not all courses will translate to mobile devices and look great. Your learners may possess a mobile device that may or may not support the type of content you develop.
All in all, mobile learning, tends to have more pros than cons and that is why many companies are flocking to add it to their training plans. Of course, it’s not for everybody and that is why it’s always a good idea to weight both good and bad beforehand.