India will be the 3rd largest smartphone market in the world - reaching 314 million mobile internet users by 20171 and approximately a third of a million social network users by 20202.
With the growing use of technology in every sphere of life, people are relying heavily on their mobiles and internet to carry out their daily operations - from paying their bills to debating about current affairs to staying fit, people have almost everything on their fingertips – opening a vast expanse of opportunities for organizations.
As per the latest study by Brandon Hall Group (2016)3, social and mobile functions are being touted as the top two priorities for the organizations and it will be a great opportunity for the organizations to leverage the new technologies and platforms to create more of ‘Just-in-time’ and ‘Just-for-me’ experience for its employees. To keep up with the current trend, it is becoming imperative for the organizations to harness the prowess of mobile and social through particularly ‘unbound learning’ and ‘learn on-the-go’ to stay ahead of the curve.
There are several benefits of implementing social and mobile learning in organizations, some being:
- Increased mobility and portability
- Easy Access to vast amount of just-in-time and on-the-go information
- More fun and engagement
- Information sharing and open communication
- Good aid for remote workforce
However, the big question arises, ‘How organizations can implement mobile and social learning’? Few steps which can be taken in this regard are:
- Start with the top: No initiative can be successful if senior leaders of the organizations do not believe in it. To drive and facilitate mobile learning in the organizations, top leaders need to show their full commitment and support towards it. They should ‘walk the talk’ and be fully convinced about its implication in the long run. Leaders need to become enablers for the employees to embrace such change.
- Aligning mlearning implementation with organizational strategy: The adage ‘One size doesn’t fit all’ holds true in this case. Blindly copying other organizations which are practicing mlearning might backfire in the long run. Mobile and social learning should ‘only’ be implemented if it supports the overarching organizational strategy and helps the organization achieve its vision and goals.
- Integrating existing systems with mobile and social technologies: Organizations need to integrate their existing systems like ‘Learning Management System’ (LMS) with that of mobile and social learning technology. An integrated learning management system can help embed learning and development into all aspects of HR business processes such as induction, talent management and performance management.
- Sync mobile learning with formal learning: It is observed that when formal classroom-based learning is supported by content that has been especially created for mobiles, learners can refresh newly learned skills and knowledge in a better way. In this regard, organizations can develop an in-house capability to design bespoke apps and programs or they can also consult companies which are involved in designing such apps.
- Making social and mlearning fun and engaging: People should be really excited to use the new apps and programs. It is observed that top learning companies are using highly innovative and interactive methods like storytelling, games, quiz, scenario, summary and simulations to come up with an engaging content. At the same time, companies are also involving users in the design to make the programs as effective as possible.
- Educate users about using social and mlearning: Organizations are comprised of mixed generation workforce and not every generation is tech savvy to understand and operate mobile and social platforms. Organizations should educate its workforce about ‘how to use social media and mobile functions more effectively. Users should be sensitized to use appropriate content on a wider platform. Also, necessary measures should be taken to ensure the security of content and data.
- Decide on Devices and Platforms: A new trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is also emerging which allows staff to bring their own mobiles/tablets for business. However, whatever organizations choose, it should be well articulated and published.
Build a culture of sharing and collaboration: In order to successfully implement the concept of social and mlearning in the organization, leaders first need to create an open culture of commenting and sharing where its users are more than willing to share information and learn to collaborate.
Overall, the above mentioned trends are slowly but surely getting embedded into various organizations in various forms. There are a few organizations which have put in a concentrated effort into these, and are benefitting from increased employee productivity, faster learning scale-ups, reduced attrition and increased employee engagement.