In the past two weeks it seems like I haven’t been able to turn on the TV or scroll through my Facebook newsfeed without seeing the trailer or reviews for the latest reboot of the Terminator franchise; Terminator Genisys (which according to Business Insider didn’t do too hot when it opened this weekend). Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, you know that at its core, the Terminator franchise is about technology usurping humans and taking over the world. Which got me thinking about the current state of technology takeover.
What you may or may not be surprised to know is that mobile technology, if it came down to a pure numbers game, has already taken over. That’s right. According toresearch from Cisco, in 2014 the number of mobile devices in use globally was set to officially surpass the total global population. In fact, by 2019 it is estimated that there will nearly 1.5 devices in use for every human on the planet.
What does this have to do with learning? Everything. Again, unless you’ve been cozy under that rock, you know for years mobile learning has been labeled the “future” of learning technology. That is no longer the case. In the past few years, mobile has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Getting on board with mobile is now a “come with me if you want to live” situation (okay, I even made myself cringe with that one, but I had to).
With that in mind, here are 5 considerations that you should make, whether you are just starting to map out your plans for mobile learning, or are reexamining your current mobile strategy:
The first step in identifying your needs is clearly defining your audience. Mobile learning initiatives are typically targeted at a specific area of the business. What area of the business are you targeting, and what is that area of the business trying to accomplish with mobile? What is the driver?
After you clearly define your target audience, do some research on the demographics of that group. What mobile devices are currently in use? Are these company provided devices or are they part of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend? Two other questions to consider:
How will the mobile initiative be funded? And how will success of the initiative be measured?
The most important aspect of deployment is ensuring that the solution is easy to use for the end user. With that in mind, go back to your answers from the previous section and consider what devices you will need to support. Will you be supporting a single mobile platform or multiple platforms? Will multiple users be sharing the same device?
Ensuring that you are delivering the right kind of content via mobile learning is key, so the first thing to consider is what type of content you are planning to deliver. Will it be SCORM compliant content? Document-based content (PDF, Word)?
Once you have a clear understanding of the types of content you are planning to offer, it is important to think about how you will acquire the mobile content. Will you repurpose existing content or will you develop different content for each supported device? Also, will you deliver the same content in both mobile and non-mobile formats? Important note: Be sure that you have the correct solution in place to offer a means to report on learner progress across formats.
Security is one of the biggest concerns that is voiced time and time again. How will you ensure that mobile content is secure? If your organization already leverages a mobile device management (MDM) platform that is a good start. Often times it is best to leverage existing corporate policies around mobile devices opposed to recreating the wheel.
Other important security considerations: How will users authenticate themselves in the mobile solution? And, if your current solution is on premise, how will users be provided access outside the corporate network?
Hands down, the most important question to answer is do you have the right solution in place for your mobile learning initiative? If the answer is yes, good for you! There is nothing holding you back from kicking off your mobile plan.
If no, then it is time to start the search for the right learning management system (LMS). When looking for an LMS it is important to think about what solution capabilities are the most important to you and will provide the greatest value. Also, will you need a solution that can be deployed in your environment or will it be hosted by the vendor? Administration is another key element. How easy will administration be? Will your administrators be able to manage and report against mobile content as easily (or more easily) that they can do for non-mobile content today?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that if you fall into the second category, Meridian would love to talk with you about how we can help bring your mobile vision to life. Sign up for a free demo, or call us at 1-888-MKS-SALE.
This list may seem to offer more questions than answers, but being able to answer these questions is the first step in developing a successful strategy for your mobile learning initiatives. Also, if any of you see the new Terminator movie, I would love to hear your thoughts! Tweet me @emilymarcovich with your reviews.
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