Is mobile learning improving employee efficiency?

Two thirds of local organisations have adopted or plan to adopt mobile learning.

New research suggests that mobile learning enhances employee efficiency, improves business results and reduces staff turnover.

According to The State of Mobile Learning in Australia and New Zealand, released by Skillsoft, mobile learning is still in its infancy across Australia and New Zealand, but is set for rapid growth.

Only one third of A/NZ organisations have adopted mobile learning so far, but another 38 percent plan to adopt it.

In surveying 545 decision makers (senior management and human resource professionals) and learners (employees participating in learning programs) across the region, Skillsoft reports that the key management reasons for adopting mobile learning are to enhance the accessibility of learning resources (80 percent) and create a continuous learning environment (73 percent).

Despite the enthusiasm A/NZ organisations have for mobile learning however, the research shows a clear mismatch between what learners want and what organisations are providing.

For example, users said that they would prefer training for relevant software and tools, leadership development, and new hire orientation, while organisations have prioritised content on compliance and company products and solutions.

“This mismatch between providers and users leads to low participation rates, with only 60 percent of employees within organisations that have mobile learning using it,” says Rosie Cairnes, Regional Director, Australia and New Zealand, Skillsoft.

“However, the research shows that those users that participate in the development and planning of the mobile learning program are more likely to participate.

“It’s not just the type of content that is important. ANZ users want mobile learning modules to be reasonably short, with 87 percent of respondents stating content should be no longer than one hour.

“They also want their content to be interactive and highly visual. The trend towards short, interactive content mimics general trends in content consumption and highlights some of the implementation challenges facing organisations.”

According to Cairnes, organisations are finding it difficult to balance the demand for dynamic content formats against compliance restrictions, or the efficiency of implementing existing content against the need to create mobile-friendly content.

“Finding the right balance between users demands and business needs is hard but important for success,” Cairnes adds.

“The implementation of mobile learning must see HR and L&D staff working much closer with IT.

“For example, device support is extremely important in creating a successful mobile learning program, as the content must be available on the devices that learners regularly use.”

The Skillsoft research found that users overwhelmingly want to access content on smartphones and tablets, but organisations are more focused on supporting laptops.

Only 59 percent of organisations with mobile learning support smartphones while 70 percent supports tablets. The driving factors for device support selection are the degree of IT support for the device (57 percent) as well as ease of use (73 percent).

“Many of the key concerns or roadblocks for mobile learning are IT related - network issues, infrastructure problems and information security - highlighting the need for HR and L&D to work closely with the IT department to overcome these roadblocks for a successful mobile learning program,” Cairnes adds.

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