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What is Mobile Learning?: Definition, Benefits & Top Tips for Success

Matthew Brew
Matthew Brew

Gone are the days of chunky textbooks and snail-paced Learning Management Systems (LMS). Smartphones are now at the center of our lives, and learning is no exception.

How many times have you reached for your phone when a question popped into your head? We already use our smartphones to learn at the point of need, and mobile learning seeks to harness these existing behaviors and create ongoing opportunities to learn and upskill.

In this guide, we’ll cover what mobile learning actually is, its key characteristics, the benefits of mobile learning and how to set your mobile learning strategy up for success.

Mobile learning: definition

Webopedia defines mobile learning as:

"Education (learning) via the Internet or network using personal mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones to obtain learning materials through mobile apps, social interactions and online educational hubs. It is flexible, allowing students/learners access to education anywhere, anytime."

A common misconception is that mobile learning refers simply to learning via your mobile phone. The most important element of mobile learning is actually its focus on the mobility of the learner, by giving them the ability to learn anywhere, and at any time. 

Considering the context in which the learner operates is equally as valuable as the device they are using. We would therefore define mobile learning as the concept of using technology to learn at the point of need.

The benefits of mobile learning

80% of the world’s population are now using smartphones. Among millennials, who now make up over half of the global workforce, mobile phone usage shoots up to 97%. Millennials don’t just use their mobile phones however, they are attached to them. 90% always have their smartphone nearby.

It makes sense that the easiest way to reach the modern learner is through the device that they use - and rely on - the most, but how does it actually impact learning?

Research shows that mobile learning improves productivity by up to 43%, with learners completing courses up to 45% faster than those learning via desktop. This is largely due to features leveraged by mobile learning such as microlearning modules and gamification. Condensing large quantities of information into bitesize chunks makes for a learning experience that is quick and painless, while adding interactive elements such as quizzes and leaderboards helps to engage learners and keep them motivated.

Better yet, having access to small bursts of information as and when they need it makes learning a habit, rather than a chore. Learners are able to pick up their phones, complete a 2-3 minute lesson, and then get straight back to what they were doing. This means that learning can become a part of their existing workflow, and users can immediately see the value of it, leading to an increase in employee motivation.

Mobile learning is also beneficial from a business perspective. More than half of business leaders see improved growth after implementing mobile learning into their employee training, as it not only improves productivity, but also boosts retention. Research by LinkedIn shows that 94% of workers would stay at their company longer if it invested in their professional development.


How to succeed with mobile learning: top tips

We know why mobile learning is beneficial when it comes to workforce training, but what can we do to ensure we get the most out of it?

Here are our top tips for creating an effective and impactful mobile training strategy.

1. Make it easy to get started

Learners will decide in 4-5 clicks whether the mobile learning platform is worth the effort. Reduce friction in all stages of the onboarding journey and make it easy to resume learning once logged in - we do this with seamless learning, which gives learners direct access to learning content without the need to log in.  

2. Design your mobile learning for mobile

Mobile learning is not simply shrinking existing desktop e-learning to fit a smartphone screen. Think about how you and your learners use a mobile phone and then build on that to create an interactive and engaging mobile learning experience. Replicating familiar actions from their most used apps will help you to create an easy to use, intuitive interface.

3. Utilize microlearning to boost retention

Combining microlearning with your mobile strategy is the perfect recipe for increased engagement and long term knowledge retention. Condense long paragraphs of text into short, snappy courses that contain only the information people really need to know to succeed in their jobs. The sweet spot is 2-4 minute bursts.

4. Use video content

There’s a reason why we rely on YouTube tutorials rather than textbooks these days: we’re 95% more likely to retain information presented in video format, as it’s simply easier for our brains to understand. Try incorporating video into your mobile learning content with a personal welcome from the company’s CEO, a safety demonstration or a ‘day in the life’ style ride along, replicating the bitesize video content we’re used to consuming via social media. 

5. Experiment with gamification

Applying game mechanisms such as points, leaderboards and opportunities to ‘level up’ makes for a more enjoyable experience for end users and encourages repeat usage - it’s why we get addicted to game apps on our phones, and it’s what’s going to boost completion rates for your training. In fact, companies who implement gamification elements in their training see a 60% increase in engagement and a 50% improvement in productivity.

6. Use a light-hearted, conversational tone

The words ‘corporate training’ set off alarm bells for most people. Make sure to challenge this perception by using a light-hearted, conversational tone in your mobile learning program - it’s more engaging, it makes training feel like less of a ‘task’ and it’s a better fit for a more informal platform.

7. Encourage continuous learning

The beauty of mobile learning is that it provides 24/7 access to training which end users can complete at a time and place that suits them, and it doesn’t have to stop at onboarding. Encourage continuous learning by suggesting new ways for them to upskill and boost performance - this can be done by setting up triggered and contextual notifications which send them straight to the relevant training course.

Looking to incorporate mobile learning into your workforce strategy, but not sure where to start? EduMe is a leading mobile-based training platform for the deskless workforce, giving end users seamless access to relevant and engaging learning content right at the point of need. We’ve already partnered with big names such as Uber, Gorillas and Deloitte to boost retention and productivity through mobile learning.

Want to see how we can help set you up for success with mobile learning? Book a demo now 👇