Another mobile learning blog? Yes, yes indeed. Only this time, I’m taking a more practical look at it, rather than the usual “isn’t that cool?” or “imagine if…” perspective we usually see around mobile. Brandon Hall Group just published our  High-Performance Mobile Learning Maturity Model , and it has inspired me to take another look at mobile learning.

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Right off the bat, it’s clear we need to start thinking differently about mobile learning, and not the way you may have been told. For years now, the hype around mobile learning has been about just how different it is from other learning experiences. And while a smartphone is obviously a different device than a laptop, the idea that mobile learning is some new alien concept has kept many organizations from understanding, adopting and executing mobile learning in a meaningful way.

The truth is, outside of some unique features and functions that we can take advantage of, there is really no reason we can’t approach mobile learning in the same way we approach other modalities and technologies. It helps if we break it down into a few basic areas as our maturity model does:

  • Strategy
  • Content
  • User environment
  • Channels
  • Connectivity
  • Devices

By looking at these different areas, organizations can develop an overall mobile strategy that best suits their particular needs. Not every organization needs to be at the pinnacle of mobile maturity in each of these areas to have an effective solution. In fact, by trying to achieve just that, many organizations become frustrated when mobile fails to deliver on its promise.

Granted, it’s not a simple as treating mobile devices as simply another screen on which to deploy the LMS. But at the same time, we can’t completely separate mobile from the rest of the learning strategy because it is so unique and different. These unique features allow a learning organization to meet needs that other delivery methods cannot, meaning mobile is most effective as an integral, symbiotic part of the overall learning strategy.

Brainstorming, imagining and speculating around the possibilities of mobile devices for learning is a great thing. We wouldn’t be where we are today without it. But we have reached a point where organizations need to stop dreaming and start getting practical. Our study shows that more than one quarter of organizations say they have no mobile learning occurring whatsoever. Without a concrete plan, those 27% may never get there and the 39% that are only mobile in very limited ways may never mature.

David Wentworth, Senior Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.

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