Mobile Learning

A new trend that is currently being explored is Mobile Learning or M-Learning for short.  This trend in web based training is attempting to harness two aspects of peoples lives.  First of all the likelihood that your learning audience is connected through some type of mobile device that can access robust content on the go.  The second aspect is that people have downtime in their travels throughout their busy days.  You are far more likely to get someone's attention for a few minutes a day during their train ride than during actual office hours.

M-Learning is not limited to what we typically imagine as web-based training.  Consider the use of a podcast as a form of M-Learning.  Sure you can listen to the MP3 on your PC as well, but why not listen to a podcast while you drive to the office each day.  I have been attempting to learn Spanish this way through a podcast available from a U.K. company that offers language learning through iTunes.  I listen and repeat the Spanish words and phrases while I drive.  If you are interested you can find out more at

In a previous organization that I worked for, we included mini quizzes built into job aids that could be submitted through text message (SMS).  Prizes were awarded for a randomly selected correct answer.  Thousands of people within the organization participated and it certainly was a way of showing the return on investment.

Giving learners the flexibility of taking training when they want has always been an advantage of web based training, however with M-Learning you add the component of where they want as well.  Your learners are far more likely to take training if it's during time that is normally wasted for them.  An example might be their daily commute, or waiting in a long queue at the market..  During such times It's not always convenient to open up a laptop and log into an LMS.  Mobile learning can be as simple as pulling a smartphone out of their pocket and launching a course, or listening to a podcast on their iPod.

It isn't an ideal method of training large quantities of knowledge.  I believe there is a direct correlation between screen size and the length of time a visual presentation can capture your attention.  That said you are far more likely to capture someone's attention during 5 or 10 minutes of their down time each day, than to compress that content into a 30 minute session once per week.

Here are some additional ideas about M-Learning from the folks at Tribal, that may inspire you to come up with more ways that M-Learning can be implemented into your organization.

Some additional resources are available at