Improve Your L&D with 2018’s Mobile Learning Trends

It’s hard to keep up with mobile learning trends. The field is new and gaining ground, so trends (and technologies) come and go quickly.

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your learning and development budget, you’ll want to keep up with what’s happening in the industry.

In 2018, we’re starting to see mobile learning trends that echo some of the trends in marketing. Which, at first, doesn’t make much sense.

But when you realize that marketing and training both focus on delivering information and getting people to take action, you start to see parallels.

Don’t miss out on these trends! Stay ahead of the game and you’ll get better engagement, retention, and bottom-line results with mobile learning.

Read on to see what’s working in mobile L&D this year.

Increased Adoption of Mobile-First Learning

Okay, this isn’t exactly a trend in mobile learning. It’s more like the trend of mobile learning in the larger learning and development world.

But mobile learning is picking up steam. As companies see the benefits from bite-sized learning, gamification, video, and the other things we’ll talk about shortly, mobile learning continues to see more adoption.

Many companies still create their trainings with a desktop or a laptop in mind. Mobile capabilities might be an add-on. But as we see more exciting developments in the world of mobile learning, that’s likely to change.

If your company doesn’t offer mobile learning, you’re missing out on the value of these other mobile learning trends.

Bite-Sized Learning

Not familiar with bite-sized learning? It’s time to get educated. Bite-sized learning is taking over the training world—not just in mobile learning, but in all types of digital education.

Instead of having employees attend monthly or quarterly trainings that may last several hours (or even all day), bite-sized learning happens in small chunks. They’re often only a few minutes long.

It sounds like it shouldn’t work. But the research says it does. Molloy et al. looked at different training session lengths in a 2012 experiment.

Their finding? That the group of learners with the shortest learning sessions (around eight minutes) learned fastest at the beginning of the experiment.

And at the end, the participants with the longest sessions (over one hour) learned slowest. They were over-trained.

Different companies will have different learning needs. Maybe the material you’re teaching doesn’t work in eight-minute chunks (though I’d challenge you to find a way to make it work). Or your employees can’t use this system work due to their work schedules.

But in general, bite-sized learning is a very effective way to learn. And lots of companies are adopting it as their preferred method of training.

The less-formal nature of this type of training, as well as the now-common Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, make this a sure bet for anyone running a training program.

No matter where your employees are, and what kind of job they have, they can almost certainly take 10 minutes for a training session now and again. Which makes bite-sized learning especially good for companies with employees that spend time out in the field.

And bite-sized learning is perfect for the next mobile learning trend on the list:

Gamification

Marketers and designers have been talking about gamification for years. But we’re starting to see some phenomenal results, including in the world of corporate training.

For example, Ford implemented a gamification system for its corporate learning portal and saw a 417% increase in use. If you’ve been struggling to get engagement with your learning and development, you know how big a deal that is.

Gameffective reports that one of their clients saw immediate returns on their gamification, with 85% of frontline employees completing learning tasks. Before the gamification, completion was “minimal.”

Results like these get other companies interested in gamification, which is why it’s become a mobile learning trend. More tools for creating gamified experiences are also being released, and learning management systems are incorporating gamification out of the box.

The fact that gamification can be used in many different parts of L&D helps, too. You can use it to help speed up onboarding. Encourage employees to engage in self-directed training. Use it to gather feedback on the effectiveness of your L&D program.

There’s no limit to what you can use gamification for.

And, of course, companies are using it outside of L&D, too. Increased employee engagement is good for every department. Games foster competition, improve performance, and help bring people’s attention to issues they may have missed out on before.

It’s safe to say that gamification is here to stay and that we’ll be seeing more of it. If you’re curious about getting started, check out our post on gamification for training employees.

Video

While video hasn’t completely supplanted text as the standard method of learning, it’s one of the strongest mobile learning trends out there.

There are many commonly cited facts about video. “90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.” “The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.” And so on.

But the real benefit of video is that it boosts retention.

Research shows that video-based instruction outperforms text-based in comprehension and retention. And the effect has been shown in online courses.

People learn better from video.

And they prefer watching to reading—that’s another thing we’ve seen over and over in surveys. If you want people to pay attention to your training content, deliver it in the medium they prefer.

HR managers know this, so they invest in video training. And they’ll continue to invest in video training.

(Of course, this doesn’t mean that every part of your training should be delivered via video. There’s still room for text-based and in-person trainings. But if you want to take advantage of bite-sized learning, video is probably your best bet.)

While it’s not a trend yet, interactive video is also making inroads. These videos allow users to pull up summaries, text overlays, and answers to questions with a tap:

Watch for interactive video to be a mobile learning trend in the coming years!

Social and Informal Learning

Employees use social and informal learning all the time and have since long before mobile learning came onto the scene. Popping into someone’s cubicle to ask them how to solve a problem is a great example.

And while mobile devices aren’t necessary for these types of learning, they’re a huge help.

Smartphones and tablets give employees instant access to their peers (and superiors) wherever they are. When they come upon a problem they’re not sure how to solve, they can immediately reach out for an answer.

We’re seeing this in companies that have built internal social-network-like systems that allow new hires to get the information they need and communicate with other employees.

(Although the corporate intranet is dying, systems like those mentioned above carry on some of its functionality.)

Encouraging social and informal learning is a trend across the L&D space. But making it easy on mobile is a priority for lots of companies, and will continue to be so.

The ability to learn and get feedback quickly also makes these technologies important in performance management. Managers get instant feedback, can help employees when they need it, and can stay in touch with employees wherever they are.

Fostering social and informal learning helps employees move at the speed of your business. Which is good for everyone.

Augmented Reality (AR)

It’s hard to say whether AR is a trend or a fad in mobile learning at the moment. It might be somewhere between the two. There’s certainly been a lot of talk about it. But there’s been less implementation.

Still, it needs to be mentioned in any discussion of 2018 mobile learning trends. Because it could change the face of mobile learning as we know it.

If you’re not familiar with augmented reality, check out this video:

As you can see, mobile devices can display information in real time—and seemingly in real space, as well. Any company that needs to train employees on physical products or processes will benefit from this technology.

And while it hasn’t caught on in the mainstream yet, companies are starting to take notice.

Much of the exploration done so far has been in industrial settings, as in the video above. But there’s a huge amount of potential. And as AR hardware, software, and development come down in price, there’s no doubt that it will become more common in mobile learning.

Because it’s still new, there’s no telling where it could go. But companies are investing heavily in AR, both in the L&D and product worlds.

It’s going to be a fun trend to watch!

Take Advantage of Mobile Learning Trends in 2018

No matter how you have (or haven’t) adopted mobile learning in 2018, it’s important to pay attention to these trends.

Bite-sized learning, gamification, video, social and informal learning, and AR are likely to continue being important factors in digital learning strategies in the years to come. (Especially bite-sized learning and video; it’s unlikely that they’ll fade in popularity.)

If you embrace them early, you’ll see great results. Your trainings will be more effective, your trainees will be more engaged, and you’ll drive more results for your business.

Dann is a content strategy and marketing consultant who helps B2Bs generate demand and leads. He also blogs about strategy and content marketing at www.dannalbright.com.