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Mobile Learning Best Practices That Will Improve the ROI of Your Training

Isidora Markovic
Isidora Markovic

There are currently 3.8 billion smartphone users in the world. With an increase in the use of smartphones, the way we interact with everything around us has changed tremendously. 

Forward-thinking employers have taken advantage of this change to boost the effectiveness of their employee training. They have been able to leverage the smartphone's accessibility to achieve success with everything from first impressions during onboarding, to ongoing sales and product training, enabling them to ascend to operational excellence.

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But all is not as easy as seems. Like a piece of flatpack furniture, a remote training tool only provides you with the building blocks and instructions for success. But it’s the quality of your assembly that will determine how impressive (and impactful) the finished product is.

One frequent mistake Learning and Development (L&D) Managers make is attempting to transfer the same set of skills and practices involved in classroom-based and Learning Management Systems training to mobile.

These different types of training are not like for like - one is entirely dissimilar to the other. Its follows that the strategy for success is not copiable, one-size fits all formula.

With that in mind, we have compiled 4 powerful practices that you can implement with ease to improve your mobile training strategy exponentially.

1. Use short-form video

Video is the most engaging content format that exists - YouTube is responsible for 37% of all mobile internet traffic worldwide and it’s estimated that by 2022 online videos will account for 82% of all internet traffic. It’s no surprise then that employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read a document.

What drives our affinity for video? Watching a video activates our neural pathways more quickly - we are able to understand it in 250 milliseconds and it activates over 50% of our brains. Watching a video is a multisensory experience - it demands the faculties of both sight and sound, meaning more than one sense is utilized at once.

This creates more cognitive connections, making consumed content more memorable (and engaging) - learners are 95% more likely to retain information in video format. Think about your own experiences - can you more easily recall a page from a book you read or a moment in a film you watched? 

The old adage ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ also rings true - video is more illustrative, paving the way for easier learning for both parties. It’s quicker for those creating learning material to demonstrate difficult processes via video than to describe them using text.

Words can be interpreted differently from one person to the next, but video leaves no room for doubt - it is illustrates, step-by-step, what actions to follow. It’s the closest you can get to a live, in-person tutorial when delivering learning digitally.

But, not all video is created equal. Attention spans are short, and to be impactful, videos must be equally so. So what’s the ideal video length? Video marketing tool Wistia found the sweet spot to be between 6 and 12 minutes, based on a study involving 564,710 videos and 1.3 billion plays. This corroborates research done by edX, which found peak engagement with a video lesson to be between 6 to 9 minutes.


eduMe enables you to easily make use of various forms of visual media - videos, static images, emojis and GIFs.

2. Gamify material

“If you can make something fun and include notions of play, you can get people to do things they otherwise might not do” - Gabe Zichermann, Author, Gamification by Design

Gamification simply means applying game-originated mechanics - like leaderboards, high scores and points - to non-game situations, like learning.

Gamification engages and motivates, and elevates learning from a passive to active experience. Being spoken at for a long period of time, as learners experience in traditional instructor-led training (ILT), emblematizes passive learning and promotes “the lowest knowledge retention rate of any method of learning”. While gamification goads learners to be invested.

It gives learners a sense of autonomy and ownership over their performance and promotes healthy competition. Learners complete learning in pursuit of a digital reward. Achieving this reward triggers dopamine release, reinforcing behavior.

In this way gamification plays into basic psychology - an action taken gives rise to feelings of achievement and fulfilment. This makes a learner feel good in themselves, and want to repeat the action. With each reward received, a learners’ desire to autonomously repeat learning increases.

It also helps learners become aware of where they sit on the spectrum of organizational performance. When you make visible where people are, versus where they need to be, through progress bars or percentage completed, it motivates them to reach that next goal-post by inspiring healthy competition between peers and breaking progress into smaller milestones, making it seem manageable.

And it’s not just about competing with others, but ourselves. Gamification leverages personal bests to motivate learners to try again. This promotes knowledge retention - memory is strengthened through repetition at spaced intervals. This is known as the ‘spacing effect’.

3. Personalized learning

The modern adult is accustomed to high levels of personalization online. From tailored Netflix recommendations, to email alerts, to highly curated home feeds and personalized ads, personalization has taken over the digital space.

Degree of personalization holds the to power to make or break consumer relationships - 66% of consumers will not make a purchase if personalization is insufficient and 42% feel ‘very annoyed’ when content is not personalized.

Consumers carry these expectation with them to the professional realm, particularly when it comes to digital learning. No longer can you indiscriminately share ill-informed, one-size-fits-all training and expect high engagement. Modern learners expect content to be as meaningful to them as the curated experience they undergo browsing their favorite social media app.

“Personalized learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated.” - United Nations National Education Technology Plan

By including personalization in your mobile learning experience, you are able to evoke familiarity between your app and learners and build a better relationship. More than this, it enables learners to learn in a way most optimal to their needs. It contains the what they require, when they require it and to the necessary depth. No more, no less.

Delivering learning in this was contributes significantly to higher engagement with material. And organisations with highly engaged employees experience a 3-year revenue growth rate 2.3 times greater than average.

Personalization becomes more pertinent with baby boomers retiring at increasing rates, and millennials grow to make up more and more of the global workforce. Millennials and are especially fond of personalization - it can increase their loyalty by 28%. This is significant to note in a world where turnover costs 21% of a churned employee’s salary and rises year-on-year.

eduMe’s open API and integration with customer engagement tool Braze enables admins to set up learning around triggers, e.g. set minimum scores, at which point content is automatically fired off to those who need it, automating personalized learning.

4. Create a sense of community digitally

We know the power video holds. But in comparison to the power of community and social learning, it pales. When looking for knowledge to build new skills, employees turn not to a Learning Management System (LMS), the arbiter of all knowledge Google, or handy instructional YouTube for an answer.

For more than half of employees, their very first port of call is in fact their peers. When trainees can share knowledge and skills with each other seamlessly, they can help one another overcome roadblocks in a personalized way. Informal peer-to-peer learning already happens - formalize it and you stand to win.

Social learning elevates learners’ experience by turning it from one that may feel isolated, to one that’s collaborative and communal. This is especially important in our current climate, where remote work in a mainstay of modern life and 2.8 billion workers are deskless. Lonely workers are twice as likely to miss work and think about quitting their job twice as often.

An excellent way to integrate social learning is by encouraging colleagues to share videos on your remote training platform, like eduMe, exchanging best practice. This way you combine the best of both worlds - video and community - to make learning as effective as possible. Two birds, one stone.

The takeaway…

Whether or not you have already made or are considering making the transition to mobile learning, it is essential to take time to accustomize yourself with the associated best practices of delivering learning via this medium.

Building an effective training strategy on mobile differs from doing the same on a desktop computer, or delivering training in-person. To succeed, you need to embrace short-form video, leverage gamification, ensure personalization and tap into the power of peer-to-peer.

Don’t know where to start? eduMe is a mobile-first remote training tool used by companies like Deloitte, Deliveroo, Gopuff and Uber to train their people, anytime anywhere. Through the interactive learning experience eduMe provides, customers have been able to oversee successes like a 99% reduction in onboarding time.

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