There is much discussion and debate about mobile learning and the impact that it has had, and will further have, on training and development delivery.
Given the high levels of mobile device ownership across the workforce, the idea of innovating Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes to provide them through specific apps, or by email and web based programmes, now seems like the way achieve more flexible, efficient and easily digestible professional development learning.
But is the discussion that straightforward? What are your thoughts on completing all of your own, or your workforces CPD through mobile devices? What approach would work best for your situation?
The concept of ‘blended learning’, using the mixed delivery of both online learning delivery and training room based ‘face to face’ delivery has grown massively in recent years. Feedback from these types of course suggests that many people in the workforce prefer a blend of direct contact with human beings, to allow them to get immediate reaction and feedback on key learning points under discussion, networking opportunities through group working and during breaks, with online learning as an additional element to support learning delivered in the training room. Is mobile learning really just a simple extension of this blended approach?
If you have ‘Generation Y’ or ‘Millenial’ learners in your workforce it is highly likely however that they will see no difference at all between their everyday social and business uses of their mobile devices, and the ‘new’ idea of CPD using mobile learning, even when the learning programme is delivered fully through mobile devices. They wouldn’t expect learning provided any other way!
Bite sized learning, particularly for mobile workers, has been identified as a key driver for increased mobile learning approaches. The use of ‘just in time’ targeted video clips, or questionnaires, e-books and occupationally targeted blog pieces, delivered directly to the remote work site are seen as more straightforward mobile learning assets for the learning team to develop, and for learners to engage with effectively.
Many organisations are taking the view that it is best not to highlight the introduction of mobile learning CPD as some form of ‘strategic initiative,’ given initiatives are often seen as too structured and limiting. Instead they suggest focusing on the use of more informal ‘social learning’ approaches initially, to allow learners to interact freely with others on their mobile CPD learning, as they would with normal social media.
There are clearly many views on, and potential approaches to how mobile learning may work for CPD delivery. Here are five key questions for you to consider when thinking about implementing CPD delivery using mobile learning:
Five Question You Must Ask Before Choosing Mobile Learning for CPD Delivery
- Does your organisational culture have a high degree of fit with, and experience of the use of technology and/or mobile devices for supporting knowledge based processes?
- What range of learning styles does your learning and development team focus on, and your workforce prefer to engage with?
- What is the job role profile of your organisation?
- Do you want/need to deliver knowledge and skills suitable for ‘bite – size’ learning, or focus on learning which may need debate and direct interaction?
- Can you proactively manage a technology based opportunity, which is still developing and emerging, but which can potentially provide significant gains for learners and learning professionals?
Chris McLinden, Head of Continuing Professional and Executive Education, University of Liverpool
For information on CPD programmes from the University of Liverpool, visit http://www.liverpool.ac.uk/cpd/