Corporate learning, like many aspects of an organization, must be continually evolving and improving. Adopting a more agile mindset in the development of learning content is one way to ensure that employees are benefiting from the most up-to-date information, but on the other side of that effort is the delivery of learning content — this too should be aligned with employee needs.
Most experts can agree that the use of mobile technology has created certain preferences for how, when and why employees access information. According to The Radicati Group, Inc.’s Mobile Statistics Report 2014-2018, about 84% of the world's population will use a mobile device by the end of 2018, with the total number of devices exceeding 12.1 billion. It makes sense, then, that employees want their training to-go (with or without a side of fries).
Why it works
One company that facilitates on-the-go is Limelight Networks, an Arizona-based digital content delivery organization. Mike Milligan, Limelight Networks' senior director of product and solution marketing, told HR Dive that consumer surveys have shown that video and online learning are much more important to consumers.
“Some of this has to do with managing remote employees, who need to be kept up to speed and need to have a good network," he said, “ [but] it also has to do with building a corporate culture for all employees. Being able to deliver video for employees live wherever they happen to be and on whatever device they are using gives then the best experience.”
In a joint announcement with WorkCast Inc., a global webcasting platform, Limelight Networks announced its intention to create a content delivery platform that would harness live streaming for on-the-go learning. Barney Brown, executive VP, Co Founder and Chief of WorkCast, told HR Dive that live streaming is useful in training because it can be viewed from any device.
“The most important aspect is that the technology must be 100% reliable,” Brown said. He also pointed out the technology's value to HR professionals seeking immediate changes to improve employee experience: "Perhaps the biggest benefits of live streaming are the ability to gather immediate feedback, and that human resources can produce a training session or meeting using this technology without having to be at the mercy of the IT team.”
One thing to note with on-the-go training is that employees embrace the technology on their own. “Employers are realizing that people under 35 use a lot of video to gather content," Milligan said. “Employers need to get on board, or they are losing out on an opportunity to teach using this powerful medium.”
Citing research conducted by WorkCast, Brown said there is a jump from a 30% engagement level to somewhere between 60-70% engagement observed with online video learning. If true, this alone would make the switch worth the effort.
Making on-the-go training better
Companies can do a lot better than just rolling out dry, poorly-produced videos and webinars. Julee Ho, a product marketing manager at SaaS learning platform provider SchoolKeep, sees on-the-go training as a trend that is not going to going away. In fact, she believes an even greater emphasis is being placed on developing training that caters to the requirements of each learner.
"Keeping employees engaged and even getting them engaged in the training creates some friction to find good learning content," Ho said. "The main point is getting them to come back to complete the training, followed by automating triggers to impact positive behaviors.”
A best practice for using to-go training, Ho said, is to test a small group of employees and gather feedback. Keep it fresh and adaptable with frequent review, and consider feature updates and technology changes.
On the horizon
It wont be long before something new comes along that will change the way people use mobile devices. Amit Gautam, director of UpsideLMS targets the three biggest changes in the learning market concerning to-go content:
- The clear acceptance of mobile devices as a primary method for accessing training. "Most trainings are now designed mobile-first," Gautam said.
- The form and format of training itself on mobile devices. "It is no longer about pushing the content which is already there; it is now about understanding how learners learn best on mobile devices," Gautam said. “Considering the factors of attention span, data connectivity, screen sizes, tools and features offered specifically micro-learning, video-based learning, augmented reality, virtual reality are making headway and replacing traditional forms of learning via mobile devices.”
- Learner behavior. "Most learners increasingly so now demand training to be available via mobile devices as well," Gautam said. "There is an increasing demand on this to be also available when internet and data connectivity is poor or zero."
On-the-go training not only helps employees, but it also proves to be beneficial to employers.
“When it comes to training, employers benefit when the training is uniform, consistent and reaches everyone who needs training," Gautum said. "At any time there would be employees who may not be available for training, and it's a problem for both the employee and the employer, as it impacts performance in short and long term. Mobile devices fill this gap perfectly."
One last benefit, per Gautam: “Portable training helps as a great performance support, as it makes it extremely easy and quick to access training when and where the employees need it. This flexibility and value it adds makes it more interesting and useful for the employees increasing its overall usage and traction.”