What do BYOD users want from mobile learning?

Organisations should consult their learners in the training and development planning process

While there is a growing acceptance of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work, there is a significant mismatch between what learners want and what organisations are providing, according to recent research.

For example, users said that they would prefer training for relevant software and tools, leadership development and new hire orientation, while organisations have prioritised content on compliance and company products and solutions.

“This mismatch between providers and users leads to low participation rates, with only 60 per cent of employees within organisations that have mobile learning using it,” said Rosie Cairnes, regional director, Australia & New Zealand of Skillsoft, which conducted the research.

“However, the research shows that those users that participate in the development and planning of the mobile learning program are more likely to participate.”

It’s not just the type of content that is important, according to Cairnes, who added that users in the Australia and New Zealand region want mobile learning modules to be reasonably short, with 87 per cent of respondents stating content should be no longer than one hour.

They also want their content to be interactive and highly visual, and the trend towards short, interactive content mimics general trends in content consumption and highlights some of the implementation challenges facing organisations.

“Organisations are finding it difficult to balance the demand for dynamic content formats against compliance restrictions, or the efficiency of implementing existing content against the need to create mobile-friendly content,” she said.

“Finding the right balance between users demands and business needs is hard but important for success.”

“The implementation of mobile learning must see HR and L&D staff working much closer with IT”

Based on 545 responses from decision makers (individuals who manage a budget within an organisation for HR or L&D) and learners (individuals who do not manage HR or L&D budgets and receive training in any form) across 16 APAC countries and territories, the research found that users overwhelmingly want to access content on smartphones and tablets, but organisations are more focused on supporting laptops.

Only 59 per cent of organisations with mobile learning support smartphones while 70 per cent supports tablets. The driving factors for device support selection are the degree of IT support for the device (57 per cent) as well as ease of use (73 per cent).

“The implementation of mobile learning must see HR and L&D staff working much closer with IT,” Cairnes said.

“For example, device support is extremely important in creating a successful mobile learning program, as the content must be available on the devices that learners regularly use.

“Many of the key concerns or roadblocks for mobile learning are IT related – network issues, infrastructure problems and information security – highlighting the need for HR and L&D to work closely with the IT department to overcome these roadblocks for a successful mobile learning program.”