Are you ready to go mobile?

I feel old when I long for the days when I had to carry a quarter in case I needed to make a phone call and was completely free and unreachable. While I’m not sure my parents felt the same joy that I did, the times have certainly changed. I witnessed it this week as I took a few days off with my husband. We couldn’t help but check work email on the phone. Throughout our travels, work phone calls went to voicemail (but voicemails checked) and emails discretely answered mainly because our phones are now our lifeline to a camera, a guidance system, and the Internet to find the next thing to do on holiday. These devices have become so integral to our daily life that it is not surprising companies want to use this power for good in training their organizations. 

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as your IT department deciding to go with a different brand of computer. At least then compatible browsers and constraints are in place for consistency. With mobile, there is an entirely new lexicon. HTML5? App? Native? No Flash? No problem. Right?

Wrong. Your learners will be clamoring to access the LMS from their phone and take that latest course from their device. Are you ready? 

I live in the world of content development. It used to be quite simple. I could be content to enjoy the world of design and engagement with my greatest worry being SCORM or AICC compliance. As I start to ask the important questions, I realize there is only one critical question to ask: Do you have a mobile learning strategy?

Do you have a mobile learning strategy?

A mobile learning strategy is the single most important part of mobile deployment. Without a strategy, get ready for content challenges, missed deadlines, help desk calls, disappointment, and the financial impacts that will follow. It doesn’t need to be complicated. We have a simple five-step action plan to help you REACH your learners.

Mobile Learning

Research

Your first step is to research the different ways to develop mobile content. Your research should be more than just the software specs on the company’s website. Get acquainted with the new terminology. Learn what software requires an app. Remember that every app is like having a new piece of software on your computer. Having a few key pieces of software on a computer leads to a productive individual. Too many apps, like too many pieces of software, can lead to “app confusion,” which is the moment where you blankly stare at your device not knowing which of the bright shiny icons will get you what you need. Talk to people (real people) and get their impressions. And, hey, give me a call. I’m always happy to share my opinions.

Evaluate

Once you’ve found a few programs that might do the trick, put them to the test. Do they work on your LMS (or for that matter, does your LMS work on mobile devices)? Do they work on a desktop computer? How easy is it to create and edit content? What is the user experience like? As much as users are hungry for learning, they do want it to be GOOD, too. No pressure.

Adopt

If you haven’t called the super tech savvy people in your organization, call them now. Talk to them about what you’ve learned and the direction you want to go, but leave the conversation open to discussion. These individuals need to have buy-in to what you are doing or they will go rogue, and all of the sudden, you will have a slew of apps within your organization (more app confusion) and most likely lack of direction or focus. If you get their buy-in and they feel like a part of the solution, they can help you with the next two phases (and you will need them).

Communicate

So you’ve made a decision. GREAT! You’re 15 percent there. Now you need to communicate across your organization how mobile learning is done. This is where your friends from the Adopt phase can help get your message out. Hold lunch and learns, send out communication pieces, tweet your message across the enterprise, and remember that choosing phone or face-to-face time is still an option.

Help

The most critical phase is to support the organization as it begins to deploy mobile content. You and the early adopters can guide, coach, and support as your organization embarks on this exciting adventure. If you find yourself in need of extra help, give us a call at GP Strategies. That’s what we’re here for!

Sheri Weppel

Sheri Weppel started her career as an art teacher covered in finger paint, clearly teaching people about out-of-the-box thinking (or at least off-the-construction-paper thinking). While working on her master’s degree in Instructional Design and Development at Lehigh University, she realized that we could learn a lot from the public-school classroom. Concepts like micro-learning, learning styles, gaming, and training on demand were common in grade school, but were considered new concepts in the corporate sector.

Because one degree is never enough, Sheri continued her studies at Lehigh with a focus on Gaming for Instruction. In her spare time, she spent her evenings losing to her husband in Scrabble and wanting to throw the letter Q across the room, making her realize the emotional attachments we can have to games. If we could harness that desire to succeed, compete, or win to a learning environment, what impact could we have on learner motivation?

Countless games of Scrabble later, Sheri started at GP Strategies as an Instructional Designer and was able to inject those concepts into solutions for her customers. This is often a challenge for customers that want to use gaming but often don’t believe they have the time or budget required to successfully launch into the gaming space. Sheri is driven to help these clients find a balance in embedding gaming elements into instruction in a practical manner.

In the past nine years, Sheri has held many roles within the organization, from instructional designer to sales lead for blended learning, and is now focusing on the off-the-shelf product GPiLEARN+, growing the product into a true blended learning solution. Regardless of her role, Sheri is always focused on working with customers to help build impactful training solutions that focus on the needs of all populations. She helps clients determine specifically when to incorporate gaming versus using hands-on, traditional approaches.

When she is not working, Sheri enjoys having adventures with her dog Olivia, attending barre classes, and learning new three-letter words that begin with the letter Q.

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