SAN JOSE, Calif. — If the arsenal of devices present at mLearnCon 2013 is any indication, mobile learning has definitely hit its stride. Each session was a sea of shiny gadgets – tablets, phones, Apple, Android; you name it, it was there. People were taking pictures, shooting video, tweeting, updating, and possibly even working.

This event has grown rapidly since it began in 2010, paralleling the growth in mobile learning over that same period. Nearly 1,000 people came to see presentations and panels dealing with mobile learning at all levels, from first steps to full content design.

The big takeaway from this year’s event for me is this: Mobile has clearly arrived as a real, integral part of the learning ecosystem, but most organizations have only begun to scratch the surface. Most of the people I spoke with felt that their companies were behind everyone else when it came to mobile, which means that most really aren’t that far behind at all.

I can put part of the blame for that feeling on events like this. It’s easy to see all the offerings in the Expo Hall and listen to the presenters and thought leaders and think that the mobile revolution is in full swing, leaving you in the dust. It is simply not the case. What’s really happening is that the early ambiguity and confusion are being settled, making this a perfect time to finally get started on the mobile learning journey.

mLearnCon 2013 offered a lot to think about:

  • Tamar Elkeles, CLO at Qualcomm, used her keynote address to talk about how even though there is definitely a generation of people who were born mobile, mobile is something that spans generations and geographies.
  • Paul Clothier, Chief Learning Guru for Taplearn, held a couple of sessions where he walked through actually transitioning content from eLearning to mobile. Some ideas that seemed to go over well were replacing text with narration.
  • CVS Caremark was also in attendance, showing off the custom mobile delivery platform used in its stores, built on NetDimension’s Talent Slate tablet platform. It has proven an invaluable tool for training store staff on a system that is not tied to the company’s point-of-sale system.

To show you some of the directions in which mobile learning is headed, there was Michael Sheyahshe of ICF’s session: “Nuff Said: Tips and Tricks from Digital Comics to Breathe Life Into Your HTML5.” The session had a good dose of less is more, as well as tricks on how to use the space you have to create engaging panels.

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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