John Hollon, Vice President of Editorial for TLNT.com, reports on a new research study by Bersin & Associates, which says that “mobile learning finally has gone mainstream, driven by consumers in both the developed and developing worlds, and by mobile-technology oriented industries including high-tech, business services, and health care.”
Rising Global Use of Mobile Devices
According to the Bersin study titled “m-Learning: Mobile Learning is Finally Going Mainstream – And It Is Bigger Than You Might Think,” the use of mobile devices for learning has risen from 9 percent of U.S.-based organizations in 2007 to an estimated 20 percent or more in 2010. In addition, more than a quarter of the world’s population now uses a mobile device, and frequent mobile Internet use has almost doubled in the past year.
Informal Use is King
The research also notes that the informal uses for mobile learning (referred to as m-learning) vastly outnumber the formal, and that these new applications increasingly empower today’s workers to access the information they need on demand. Says Josh Bersin, chief executive officer and president, Bersin & Associates:
“Today’s enterprise learning functions risk becoming irrelevant if they do not rapidly respond to the power of new mobile technologies to both deepen and hasten the sharing of information across organizations, and to the changing needs and expectations for learning by new generations and geographies of employees.”
Examples of Mobile Learning in Practice
- Accenture created a uPodcast program that enables subject-matter experts and the organization’s leaders to share knowledge at a minimal cost. To date, 180 podcasts have been created and more than 20,000 employees – 11 percent of the total workforce – have accessed them.
- Coca-Cola turned to Kelley Executive Partners to create an alternate reality game that combines social and mobile technologies – including GPS and smartphones – along with collaborative and competitive team problem-solving. The game was designed to drive understanding of how millennial consumers use Web 2.0 technologies.
John reminds us that if our organizations aren’t making use of mobile learning, we’d better take another look and see how it can fit into our training and development programs, because this study makes it clear that employees are using their mobile devices for everything…including workplace learning.