Mobile devices seem to be completely ubiquitous in 2014. Smartphones have overtaken feature phones in sales and everyone seems to be quite happy browsing, tweeting, buying, or connecting on their devices. Do they want to be learning on them though?
The answer to that question isn’t a simple yes or no, as employees who are involved in training may or may not want to use their mobile devices to varying degrees. In data from Towards Maturity we learn that 78% of those polled own a smartphone or tablet device of some form. Of those, 26% use their own devices to access work-related resources. Interestingly, if we look at a breakdown of the 74% who are not using their own devices to access work-related resources, we can see that:
- 23% would be happy to if the right resources were available
- 8% don’t know what is available
- 33% prefer to keep work and personal separate
- 6% don’t want to use up their monthly data allowance
Breaking It Down
“23% would be happy to if the right resources were available”
With mobile devices being as prevalent as they are, there is becoming more and more reason to have a mobile learning strategy in place. Even if only a small portion of an organization’s workforce will access training on their mobile devices, the cost to develop online training that can be viewed on an iPad is a small additional expense added to the overall cost of development for desktop and laptop elearning alone.
Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, Flash on mobile devices has been in decline with the final nail in the coffin occurring when Adobe officially threw in the towel in 2012 and ceased development. It has only been within the last few years that the big names in eLearning authoring tools have begun to catch up and recognize the direction that training is going.
From an availability standpoint, this means that organizations will need to step it up and deliver the type of training that younger employees want. By neglecting to do so, this could result in employee frustration and higher staff turnover.
“8% don’t know what is available”
Unless it’s explicitly stated, staff may not know that an organization does offer courses available for mobile unless they happen to access their organization’s Learning Management System (LMS) from their phone or tablet. Some LMSs may be able to handle announcements about updated course offerings and their capabilities. However, unless employees have a reason to log into the LMS, they may miss important announcements altogether. From this perspective, the training manager needs to inform the employees of mobile-ready courses to those staff who are anxiously waiting for them.
“33% prefer to keep work and personal separate”
The issue is not as much a technical issue as it is a lifestyle issue. Some employees need a very clear work/life balance. Unlike email, a notification to take an online training course is not sent by the LMS. The employee has to deliberately log into the LMS website via their mobile browser and take it from there. While the hesitation could stem from not wanting anything to do with work outside of work hours, access should not be restricted either, as employees may wish to have some connection to training outside of work hours.
“6% don’t want to use up their monthly data allowance“
Mobile data is still quite expensive and if you factor roaming data into the equation, it becomes incredibly expensive. While competition amongst mobile providers has driven data prices down, large data packages can still fall outside the budget of many staff. On the plus side, open WiFi hotspots are becoming more and more commonplace. Furthermore, most businesses and homes are wifi enabled.
A connected-world is already here. Consequently, it’s up to organizations to live up to the expectations of employees to deliver quality training content how and when they want. Failure to do so could result in poor performance results and higher employee turnover due to the perceived inadequacy to give them the tools they need to excel.