5 mobile learning trends for 2019 and their impact on L&D

There’s no denying that mobile learning provides much-needed flexibility for 21st-century learning. From anytime, anywhere access to encouraging collaboration, mobile learning provides a wide range of benefits for employees and L&D departments alike. Mobile, when combined with an effective strategy, can go a great way into changing the learning culture of your organisation.Microlearning on mobile devices

It seems impossible to talk about mobile learning and upcoming trends without discussing microlearning. The natural answer to learning on a mobile-responsive LMS is that microlearning is leading the charge for a wide range of content providers within the industry. Breaking down learning content into bite-sized chunks of typically 2–10 minutes, microlearning is a great way to adapt content to the internet usage of mobile devices, their screens, and the attention spans of their users.

2019 mobile learning trends to look out for

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to look into 2019 to see what we can expect from mobile learning and what these developments will mean for L&D departments in organisations of all shapes and sizes.

1. Mobile-first or mobile-responsive LMS

With mobile-responsive websites and apps playing a huge part in our every day lives, one of the best ways to encourage engagement is to encourage the use of mobiles in learning. In essence, L&D teams need to ‘look for the bright spots’, and follow learners towards the platforms and devices they’re already using.

This means investing in an LMS that is fully mobile-responsive and designed with a mobile UX (User Experience) in mind. With increasing numbers of employees working from home, remotely, or based in the field, organisation-wide learning strategies need to focus on flexibility and tailoring the learning experience. Making the flexibility of mobile learning a priority is an important first step.

2. Video-based learning

Across most social-media platforms, the video is the most viewed type of content. We, naturally, find it engaging, and it’s more likely to grab our attention than static images or text alone, so it’s no wonder that platforms like Instagram are continuously investing more development in video-based content. The same principle extends to workplace learning.

What we have seen from user research, and from our customer feedback, is an increasing demand for video-based learning from all levels. Video is one of the best ways to learn on-the-go or in the field, where most mobile learning takes place. It also reduces the time needed for learning to take place. A video can convey information from a PDF in a way that is not only more visually engaging (and therefore memorable) but also takes less time to consume; perfect for the modern learners who benefit from the flexibility of mobile learning.

It is, however, worth considering which areas of your training video it is best suited for, as producing it can be costly. This can make it a challenging solution for learning that is likely to need regular updates, in which case animation may be a more cost-effective, but still engaging, alternative.

3. Knowledge-sharing and User Generated Content (UGC)

One of the biggest buzzwords in L&D this year is UGC (or User Generated Content). It’s a term typically used in marketing-speak, referring to social media campaigns where ‘users’ (for example customers of a shop, café, or guests at a hotel) are encouraged to create content (images, videos, posts) that companies can then use in their own marketing. Sounds like a win-win, right? Engaged customers and more marketing materials for these companies at little cost.

This win-win is one of the reasons UGC has made its way over to the L&D world. But here, instead of customers, we have learners. Instead of curating marketing materials, we curate learning materials. Your employees are your best asset when it comes to Learning and Development. It can be astonishing how much knowledge is held within the heads of employees at any organisation. User-generated content is an opportunity to tap into that wealth of knowledge and develop your employees in a new, engaging way.

The ability to upload and share knowledge from any mobile device anywhere with an internet connection is a fantastic step towards the collaborative learning that is becoming ever more important in L&D in 2019. Whether this takes the form of an audio clip or 60 seconds of video, the upload to LMS for approval is instant, encouraging further engagement and greater flexibility for your learners.

4. On-demand and point-of-need learning

Smartphones have been in our lives for over a decade now. One of the best things about them is the ability to access anything from Google Maps to takeaway food to online shopping whenever and wherever we need them. Why should learning be any different? We’ve spoken before about the importance of flexibility in mobile learning, and on-demand/point-of-need learning is the obvious next step.

This is where the configuration of the LMS and the content it hosts come into play. One of the biggest changes for L&D departments, especially those heavily involved in an LMS implementation, is enabling learners to search for exactly what they need, whenever they need it. This means an engineer can access technical specifications on the job, a supermarket worker can train themselves on new warehouse equipment, and sales reps can revise selling strategies and customer service skills on the road.

5. Guided and personalised learning paths

Personalised learning and suggested content are proven to keep learners engaged, regardless of the device they’re learning on. You can see this in action on websites such as Amazon (in the ‘People who bought this also liked’ section) and on YouTube (where the site generates an instant playlist for you, based on the video you are watching and what you have previously watched).

Many modern learners will be familiar with ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ of YouTube, and this is largely down to the way it is designed across all devices. Learning across all devices, particularly mobile, can make the most of these pre-existing habits by curating playlists of content specific to the learner viewing them. YouTube is becoming an education hub, in and out of the workplace, so there are many things L&D departments can learn from them when it comes to developing a mobile learning strategy.

Conclusion

There you have it, the 5 biggest trends in mobile learning to look out for this in 2019. Whether you’re looking at ‘NextGen’ technology or simply migrating your learning onto your first fully integrated LMS, mobile learning is an undeniable force of modern training. Increasing completion rates, self-directed learning, continuous learning, and engagement levels are what L&D should be all about in the modern workplace—keeping on top of mobile learning trends in your strategy is the answer.

This article was originally published on eLearning Industry.

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