Long gone are the days when the only use for phones was to make and receive calls. Mobile devices are now also used for shopping, banking, advertising, gaming, entertaining and learning — mobile learning, that is.

Mobile learning, or m-learning goes hand in hand with the learner-centered approach and in particular with learning at the point of need. Mobile devices are convenient for employees to use, giving them control over when, where and how much time they learn. This almost always equals a boost in their motivation, which leads to higher productivity levels.

Although some organizations consider the use of mobile devices at work a distraction, there are a few reasons why you should consider using mobile technology to enhance your training program:

1. Anytime, anywhere

Mobile learning is focused on the mobility of the learner. Employees interact with portable technology all the time and not only while at work. Half an hour on public transportation, 10 minutes of standing in line at lunch or 3 hours during a flight could be used for a short lesson (or more) of the latest training program.

2. Short lesson size

The human brain is like a muscle. The healthy way to grow muscles is through daily exercises over a longer period of time. So why should the brain be different? People learn better through smaller chunks of content over a longer period of time than through a big training program once a year. Mobile content is by definition bite-sized, which only supports the way people learn.

3. Just in time learning

The majority of learning at work happens through job-related experiences. When facing unexpected problems, employees turn to their smartphones and tablets to find immediate answers. Searching online or accessing an internal resource center through their mobile devices is not only convenient, but also efficient. Mobile learning enables employees to learn when they need to and immediately apply what they learn.

4. Online collaboration

The widespread of mobile devices and wireless technology in today’s work environment means employees can collaborate better and faster with each other. They are able to engage with their peers in an online community and chat on the same learning topics, all while keeping their social networking tools at their fingertips.

5. Instant feedback

Assuming the internet connection at work is not an issue, sharing learning materials is instantaneous. This leads to instant feedback from instructor to learner and the other way around. Communication in a training program seems easier through mobile devices thanks to the fact that everyone is always connected.

6. Better performance

Being able to use mobile devices for learning translates to a lower drop rate for courses and also to better exam scores, which further translates to better performance. In time, businesses notice improvements both in terms of productivity and in terms of revenue.

7. Keeping up with the trends

With rising figures for smartphones ownership in the US and with more and more websites seeing mobile traffic as a serious alternative to desktop traffic, it is only natural to assume mobile learning for professional organizations will grow as well. So, align your training with the trends and include m-learning in your business’ growth strategy.

Is mobile learning a heaven?

The greater control over when and where to learn, the bite-sized learning format, the ease of communicating with others contribute all to a higher engagement rate for learners. These are just a few things that make mobile learning a heaven for instructional designers.

But it can also turn to hell if you’re not careful. Mobile malware, Wi-Fi snooping or bluebugging are real threats to data confidentiality and privacy, both for companies and for employees. The good news is that all security issues for mobile usage can be overcome through the right measures against all threats. Password protection, double encryption or custom restriction of access are just a few means companies can use in order to protect their corporate data.

Although it is not perfect, m-learning has more advantages than shortcomings.

What’s your opinion? Will mobile learning become the go-to method for online training? Leave your thought in the comments section below.

Author: Livia M

Livia is the lead online voice of MATRIX by CYPHER LEARNING. She writes about workplace learning and L&D strategies for businesses, as well as other training and e-learning related subjects.