How BYOD Is Transforming Organizational Development

How BYOD Is Transforming Organizational Development

Smartphones are used everyday  in order to consume or create media; whether it be watching YouTube or Netflix video, keeping up to date on Facebook or LinkedIn, or taking selfies on Instagram. While smartphones are excellent for entertainment, their power as a multi-channel communication device shouldn’t be underestimated.

In this matter, the acronym BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is somewhat a misnomer as bringing your own device to work doesn’t necessarily imply that you’ll be using it primarily for work purposes.

In the workplace or job site, smartphones are often treated as a peripheral computing device rather than a primary one that is used in order to get “real work” done. While they have powerful software and hardware,  the experience of online training is what will encourage a higher percentage of mobile learners.

The chart below puts this into perspective and illustrates how exactly learners are using their mobile devices.

When are learners using their mobile devices?

Whenever I’m alerted to updated information


At the point when I need them the most


Evenings and weekends


At lunchtime


During breaks


At my desk


When travelling to see clients


On my way to/from work


Source: Towards Maturity “Learning In The Mobile Enterprise”

The interesting information to be gained from this chart is the wide variety of times that devices are used. The standout amongst the data is that 51% of respondents answered “At the point when I need them the most”.

In this case, the learner may be alerted to an urgent message that they need to respond to while away from their desk. However, will this urgency translate into higher mobile usage? Also, how do you change attitudes so that the devices that are being brought to work will be used for work training? The answer is in the online training experience itself.

Fixing Mobile Learning

With a large number of users willing to use their mobile devices “At the point when I need them the most”, how do we instill a sense of urgency that will encourage them to be used for different reasons?

  1. Getting Employees’ Attention

    If employees don’t know that there is an online training course  to be taken, they could possibly miss it. While ideally employees would log in periodically to the learning management system (LMS) to see if there are any updates, this can’t be expected and it’s difficult to mandate.

    In this case a learning manager could utilize a learning management system to send out email notifications. Any employee (provided they have their smartphone configured to use company email) could immediately receive important online training news or updates on their mobile device.

  2. Improving The Entire Experience

    However, what good is an online training course or even an LMS if the viewing experience is substandard? More likely than not, it will leave employees with a bad experience and could be reflected in poor completion or registration rates.

    The key is to make the entire learning experience seamless and natural and as easy as using any app. In order to do this, the learning experience needs to encompass more than just the course itself. It needs to start from the moment they log into the LMS, then proceed to take the online training course, until the point they log out.

    To be viewed effectively, both an LMS and online course need to reorganize its elements to fit different sized screens and not simply scale down. If you’ve ever tried to read a website that isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll quickly understand the frustration. All websites will work on mobile much in the same way that all cars will drive on a road. The experience of driving a 1978 AMC Pacer versus and a 2014 Cadillac CTS is much different.

    In that respect, when an elearning course developer quickly publishes a course to a mobile readable format like HTML5, this doesn’t always mean that it will work optimally on a smartphone screen.

A mobile device needs to be more than brought to work in order to be useful. Even with varying levels of technical expertise, any employee knows a bad online training experience as soon as they encounter it. If you’re wondering why — despite all the power they carry with them — employees are choosing not to utilize mobile learning, it’s the experience.

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