What Does a Good Mobile Learning Strategy Look Like?

Last week we established a few baseline expectations of the benefits of a mobile learning strategy. We talked about how it affects your immediate team, your external stakeholders and how it improves the long-term success of your mobile learning efforts. With those points in mind, you’re probably ready to get your efforts underway in creating a strategy. Hold on there, partner. Before venturing in this direction it’s vital to get a good understanding of what components comprise a great mobile learning strategy, what you need to avoid, the basics on what it takes to get started and what resources are out there to help you on all of this. What’s in a Strategy? In essence, a strategy is a comprehensive high-level view of your mobile learning roadmap and technology landscape. The roadmap for a successful mobile learning should take in account your learners, their goals, the organization’s pedagogy and value on training/learning, the focus placed on just-in-time learning and performance support, and the companies views on augmentation. These topics should be considered in terms of where they are now, but also with an eye to the future, possibly thinking out 6 months, 1 year, or maybe 2 years. Planning much further out than that would be very difficult due to the constantly quickening pace of the mobile landscape. The practicality of estimating where technology will be that far out, when you yourself are not one of the technologists inventing it is a fruitless exercise. The technology landscape can be comprised of the Six P’s of a Mobile Technology Strategy, published by Float, here. These six P’s are: Platform, Procurement, Policies, Provisioning, Publishing, and Procedures. By carefully weighing your options in these areas, completing the necessary analysis, and then choosing a recommended path or paths in each of them, you will know you are making the correct steps to achieve success. A strategy is useless unless it can be implemented, so in that light, be sure to ground your planning in the practical and don’t get too theoretical. You’ll need to make sure that scope, schedule, and budget are always aligned with your business strategy, resources, and funding you have available to you. What’s Not In A Strategy? It should be clear that a strategy should be full of big ideas tempered with implementation practicality as a backdrop. A strategy is not an app, or really for that matter a series of apps (though it could potentially be, depending on your analysis outcome, natch). A strategy is not an edict of platform nor policy, though these are likely to be components of your larger effort. A strategy should not be a dead tree. This mobile world moves quickly. What was once unthinkable becomes reality with the next major keynote by a hardware or software vendor. What was once only the territory of an app becomes possible on the next OS revision’s improved webbrowser. Mergers happen, OSes evolve, consumers’ buying habits change. Speaking of consumers, your strategy needs to take into account the likelihood that your learners will be bringing their own devices into the workplace, and that this pattern is likely to increase as IT deals with pressure to support more and more smartphones, tablets, and other form factors. A strategy missing this point will be seen as having a gaping hole in understanding the learners’ profiles. Basics Make no mistakes, an effort of this scale takes time and hard work. You’re going to need to dig in. Research the market place. Investigate where your competitors are going. Talk to other like-minded departments in your organization. Survey your learners. You’ll likely find common threads in your discovery process. It’s important to be expansive in your thoughts at this point. Then once you’re ready, start the analysis. We’ll go deeper into detail on this topic in a subsequent post in this series. Finally, you’re going to have to consider how to present your findings, curating, and then collating the important content. Keeping the deeper findings in order to back up your analysis and provide a sold foundation for the team that will implement your strategy is crucial. Business cases, estimations of the work to be done, and considerations on the skills and whether or not you will need to enlist outside vendors to produce the work should also be included in this body of findings. Until Next Time Well, we’ve covered a lot of great ideas here. Be sure to come back next week, when we’ll discuss the effects you’ll start to see after you’ve created and begun the implementation of your strategy.

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Snake Oil – Revisited | Beyond the Blog

Two years ago today, a post to a quite little blog rocked the training and development world. The quiet little blog was Learning Circuits Blog and the post was by Sam Adkins. In his post entitled “We are the Problem: We’re Selling Snake Oil, Sam outlined how much of what eLearning had set out to accomplish and had claimed to have accomplished was all “snake oil.” His post angered and scared many. But it also intrigued and emboldened many others who saw a need for our profession to change. Emails were sent to colleagues saying ‘you’ve got to go read this article.’ Passions ignited to protect training/learning professionals or to tear them down. Blame was spread around to everyone – it was the vendors/designers/theorists/customers/our/the technology’s fault – depending on who was commenting. When it was all said and done, there were 60 comments in reaction to Sam’s “Snake Oil” post. To put this in perspective, the other 283 posts to Learning Circuits Blog between May 2002 and the end of October 2005 have averaged 3.19 comments per post. The list of commentors includes many of the thought leaders in our industry – Jay Cross, David Grebow, C. Michael Hecht, Tom Abele, Godfrey Parkin, Fred Nickols, Jerry Ash, Diana Royce Smith, etc. What did he say? What was the reaction? Has it had any impact in the past two years? How does Sam feel now? These are all questions we will be answering in Learning Circuits Blog’s first Beyond the Blog. In a comment on November 19, 2005; Andrew Williams wrote, “hopefully we will all look back on this provocation/post in a couple of years and view this as an inflection point in the industry.” All too often, we don’t come back to reflect on key moments. But that’s exactly what we will do in the next couple of weeks with your help. Here’s what you can expect from Beyond the Blog over the next week: Each of the discussion wikis will be moderated by a member of the LCB Blog Squad. From that point on, Beyond the Blog: Snake Oil Revisited will live as long as the discussions continue to develop. We’ll give you opportunities to vote in mini polls, create mini panel sessions, present content – text, graphic or podcasts to enhance the debates – whatever is doable and makes the debate more robust. We’ll be tracking all the activity in the summary box in the sidebar of LCB. And if you see the value in this debate and want your friends and colleagues to know about it, we will even have a Beyond the Blog: Snake Oil Revisited logo that you can cut and paste onto your own website. It is our hope that you will feel free to jump into what should be a collection of spirited discussions about what we have been, what were today and what we will or won’t be as a profession in the future. It’s our hunch that by the time that glittery ball drops in Times Square in six weeks or so, we all will have learned something about ourselves, our colleagues, and perhaps what the new year holds for us.

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Do Learning-Related Factors Boost Engagement?

In 2008, ASTD partnered with Dale Carnegie Training and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) to evaluate employee engagement. The study leaves little doubt that learning influences engagement to a significant extent. When survey respondents were asked about the extent to which certain factors positively influence engagement, nearly two-thirds said that the quality of training/learning opportunities positively influences engagement to a high or very high extent. [more]This was, in fact, the most highly reported response for this survey. But the sheer breadth and frequency of learning opportunities are also significant drivers of engagement, the survey suggests, with more than half of respondents saying this drives engagement to a high or very high degree in their organizations. Moreover, when responding organizations were broken into two groups – those reporting relatively high proportions of engaged employees and those reporting relatively low proportions of such employees – the data shows a correlation between the degree to which respondents say these learning-related factors influence engagement and the overall engagement levels in their organizations. In other words, on average, organizations with high engagement levels are more likely than those with low engagement levels to say learning-related factors boost engagement. Source: Learning’s Role in Employee Engagement (ASTD/Dale Carnegie Training/i4cp) Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

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