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4 challenges when developing a mobile learning strategy
The implementation of any new form of learning, or Learning Management System (LMS), needs to be accompanied with a solid strategy. Pre-planning and ongoing strategies are the pillars of success when it comes to deploying changes to your current Learning and Development. However, it’s important to understand that a mobile learning strategy isn’t as simple as ensuring your content is mobile-friendly.
Previously, we’ve looked at a wide range of topics around this subject including elements of a successful strategy, and why the strategy itself is so important to the success of L&D in your organisation. This time, we’re looking at the challenges you may face and how you can overcome them.
Firstly, let’s take a look at who needs to be involved. Instinct may tell you that it’s just your Learning and Development team. While L&D may be responsible for the implementation of this strategy, and will certainly be the subject experts in your organisation, it is increasingly important to get feedback from as many people as possible. Through the use of surveys, training days, team building, or just simple conversations, we would recommend getting the thoughts and opinions of as many of the following as possible:
While it is important to get feedback from as wide a range of people as possible, Learning & Development are ultimately responsible for taking all of this information into consideration and developing a strategy that works for as many people as possible.
What are the main challenges when developing a mobile learning strategy?
Alongside figuring out who should be involved, there are a number of challenges you are likely to face when developing and implementing a new learning strategy of any kind, especially one that takes a digital leap forward.
It is incredibly important to accept the fact that not everyone in your organisation is going to want to use mobile in their workplace learning. While we live in a world often dominated by mobile devices, not everyone is the same and different people require different approaches. It’s important to meet your learners in the middle. Mobile learning should create flexibility in L&D, so forcing those who wouldn’t consider themselves (or be considered) ‘digital natives’ to work a certain way won’t do any favours for learning engagement levels. Instead, allow mobile learning to be an option to allow more freedom to your employees.
Developing and deploying a mobile learning strategy can require a lot of input from IT and Operations teams. Each organisation manages their L&D implementations differently, with some putting the L&D team at the forefront of managing the technical side of things. Regardless of your organisation’s plan for roll-out, it is important to consider the technical limitations both in terms of hardware resources and the time needed from your IT support teams. This is where the feedback from your IT and implementation teams comes in handy, as it will allow you to pre-plan for potential setbacks or challenges from an implementation point of view.
This challenge may hit home a little more than the others for those working in Learning and Development. Likely to fall on your shoulders, the admin and upkeep of the logistics of this strategy are likely to take up a lot of time. Therefore, when developing your strategy, you need to take stock of how much time will be needed and what your current resource allows for. For the more technical and admin side of things, it can be worth getting other staff involved in upkeep. In organisations of tens of thousands of people, it’s not uncommon for L&D teams to comprise of five people or fewer. So make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
One of the most important parts of developing a mobile learning strategy is deciding whether Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) learning is right for your organisation. For anyone who isn’t sure, BYOD is the practice of getting your learners to embark on their eLearning on their own mobile devices. One of the primary considerations for this decision is cost. Supplying devices can require a larger upfront cost but both lower software update costs in future and universalise the learning experience; encouraging learners to bring their own greatly reduces upfront costs but can require more technical and development time down the line when updates are required.
A solid strategy is vital to the implementation of mobile learning in your organisation. Different things will work in different workplaces, given the different types of learners, location requirements, and digital literacy. When putting together your own mobile learning strategy, it’s important to consider the common challenges we’ve highlighted above. However, it’s also important to remember that none of these are unsolvable problems, and many can be handled through open discussions with those involved in various stages of the implementation process.