Mobiles have changed our very existence. A statement that might sound absurd to the Gen Yers and Gen Zers, more so for the latter, but for the Gen Xers, who have witnessed the resplendent growth of mobile technology from the very beginning, it is a reality they have lived through. Mobiles that were once devices for convenience are now cornerstones for utility, communication, shopping, and, in general, thriving today! Acting as efficient personal assistants, capable of handling complex calculations, communication, analysis, and beyond, mobile devices now facilitate almost every activity, easily substituting desktops and anything else that may tether us to a place.
As of date, mobiles lead the global internet market share by 52% and Indians are amongst the world leaders in terms of internet usage on mobile phones. According to StatCounter, “Indians access the internet through their mobiles more than 80% of the time.” While affordable pricing of smartphones, better and cheaper access to internet and the ever-advancing features are the key drivers behind this growth, the larger credit goes to the popularity of the app ecosystem. In 2018, consumers in the Asia-Pacific alone are projected to download 35.2 billion mobile apps to their mobile devices. And learning-related apps are very much a part of this app-world as are the ones for utilities, social networking, photos, videos, games, etc.
So, what makes mobile apps popular?
First and foremost, apps provide a much faster alternative to mobile web browsing (1.5 times faster than mobile websites) and they perform actions much faster too. Another key advantage of mobile apps is their ability to leverage the various affordance of the native mobile device, thereby allowing a much-evolved user experience (UX) and better performance. One reason or another, native, web, hybrid or otherwise, mobile apps rule the mobile landscape.
In context of learning, Mobile Learning in specific, an app makes content delivery smoother and efficient, while to the learner, it gives a flexibility in content consumption for self-learning or just-in-time learning for performance support, a job earlier done (to some extent) by desktop/laptop-oriented Learning Management Systems (LMSs). However, changing user behaviors, the evolving multi-device-mobile world, Internet penetration, technological shifts, have now given birth to the mobile extensions of these LMSs. Often available as Online Mobile (LMS) Apps, these mobile companions offer organizations an efficient method to deliver learning to their on-the-go learners, making it a must-have for today's workplace learning with a robust mobile workforce, which quoting from an article published in The Times of India is burgeoning. It says, “India, which is a mobile-first country, will soon have millions working on their smartphones from anywhere, any time.” A thought echoed by Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director (India and SAARC), Avaya. He says, “a strong mobile workforce will emerge from Indian cities in the next few years”. However, it's not just their Internet-only-accessibility that are making Mobile LMS apps a hit in the corporate-learning space. Some LMS vendors also offer "Offline" mobile extensions of their learning platform. This very support for No-Internet-Connectivity-learning makes learning truly mobile and seamless - Internet or not!
Overall, Mobile LMS apps can assist in delivering formal as well as informal learning, and in delivering just-in-time learning, reinforced learning, etc. whenever and wherever needed. However, there is more to a mobile LMS app that makes it an important aspect of today’s learning ecosystem. Here are 8 reasons why your training strategy needs a mobile (LMS) app now.
- Centralized Everything
For an employee accessing learning/ training through a Mobile LMS (app), everything s/he needs to gain knowledge/ just-in-time support/ make informed decisions/ stay compliant/ be competent, etc. is available at a single location. And at her/his fingertips!
- Engagement is the Key
Apps and engagement go hand in hand. According to App Annie’s 2017 Retrospective, Indians spend about three hours on an average (170 minutes) each day on apps. It is often the interaction with these apps, the ease of use, the overall UX, amongst other things, that increases the engagement factor. Most Mobile Learning LMS apps club engagement with learning very well with their Gamification feature.
- Completion and Retention Matter
App use is known to positively improve retention rates and overall performance. This partially owes to the willingness that learners show towards using learning apps as a part of the learning experience and the competitive edge that drives course completion. Use of Gamification or rewarding systems allows the learners to engage with the learning content multiple times, ensuring course completion and increasing the retention level, too.
- Personalizing for the Learners Works Wonders
Mobile devices are personalized devices, and so are learning apps. User experience when coupled with in-built analytics and adaptive learning approaches for learning suggestions take apps to another level of personalization.
- Offline Learning is Still a Necessity
Indian app market is growing. However, as stated by Forbes, “In India, the world’s lowest data tariffs are not resulting in the world’s most connected society.” According to the Inclusive Internet Index, created by the Economist Intelligence Unit (commissioned by Facebook), “India is ranked 47th out of 86 countries when it comes to inclusive Internet and connectivity for all”. Mobile LMS apps in India hence, require both the online and offline modes to allow the learners to learn even in areas with low bandwidth, during travel, etc.
- Better Connect with the Learners
The millennials compose a major share of the workforce (globally and in India too!).hese digital natives being largely mobile-first prefer mobile devices over anything else as their primary device of choice for both work and play. A fact that renders mobiles as the best medium to deliver learning. So a Mobile LMS App that can deliver videos, podcasts, game-based learning, performance support, etc. connects better with the "learners of today".
- Easier Updates are Always Welcomed
While the content, the ease of use, etc. are primary reasons for the popularity of mobile (LMS) apps, another aspect that defines its popularity is the ease with which updates can be handled. A simple notification and the click of a button is all it takes!
- Social and Collaborative Learning Wins
Social media apps are undoubtedly the most popular ones. WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook are the most popular apps in India. In context of learning, social and collaborative learning tools like Discussion Forums, Communities, Chat, etc. in a Mobile LMS app set sail a collaborative environment where learning and knowledge sharing go hand in hand. Learning amongst peers has never been easier.
Multi-device support, variety in terms of learning content, adaptability to training requirements, and the overall improvement in learning, performance and hence the ROI are other aspects that make mobile (LMS) apps a necessity in the evolving training strategy. For Indian markets, the compatibility with local languages, the competitive pricing, etc. makes it a suitable choice for learning delivery. Mobile learning (LMS) app engagement is real and self-paced learning clubbed with real-time updates, notifications, feedbacks, etc. makes it more fitting as the learning delivery system for next-gen learning.
H(APP)Y learning to you!