Friday, 21 August 2015 14:20

Mobile learning set for growth in Australia, NZ

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Mobile learning set for growth in Australia, NZ Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

ile learning enhances employee efficiency, improves business results and reduces staff turnover, according to new research which also finds that while mobile learning is still in its infancy in Australia and New Zealand it is set for rapid growth.

Only one third of Australian and New Zealand organisations have adopted mobile learning so far, according to the research, but another 38% plan to adopt it.

The research by learning and talent management firm, Skillsoft, also reveals that the key management reasons for adopting mobile learning are to enhance the accessibility of learning resources (80%) and to create a continuous learning environment (73%).

According to Rosie Cairnes, Skillsoft Regional Director Australia & New Zealand, despite the enthusiasm ANZ organisations have for mobile learning, the research shows a “clear mismatch” between what learners want and what organisations are providing.

Cairnes cites the example of users who 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% of employees within organisations that have mobile learning using it. 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. ANZ users want mobile learning modules to be reasonably short, with 87% of respondents stating content should be no longer than one hour. They also want their content to be interactive and highly visual.

“The trend towards short, interactive content mimics general trends in content consumption and highlights some of the implementation challenges facing organisations.”  

Cairnes says the research shows that 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. “Finding the right balance between users demands and business needs is hard but important for success,” Cairnes stresses.

Skillsoft says collaboration with IT is imperative for successful implementation of mobile learning programs.

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

And, according to the Skillsoft research, users overwhelmingly want to access content on smartphones and tablets, but organisations are more focused on supporting laptops.

Currently, only 59% of organisations with mobile learning support smartphones while 70% supports tablets, while the driving factors for device support selection are the degree of IT support for the device (57%) as well as ease of use (73%).

“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,” Cairnes concludes.

Top 5 concerns / roadblocks for adopting mobile learning 

For organisations that have adopted mobile learning 

For organisations that intend to adopt mobile learning 

For organisations that do not plan to adopt mobile learning 

1. Network issues 

48% 

1. Network issues 

46% 

1. Additional operating costs  

65% 

2. Infrastructure problems 

36% 

2. Concerns about network security 

46% 

2. Information security issues 

57% 

3. Ability to track and report on mobile learn

ing usage and effectiveness 

36% 

3. Accessibility to mobile devices  

43% 

3. Infrastructure problems 

48% 

4. Information security issues 

32% 

4. Lack of perceived value of mobile learning 

41% 

4. Accessibility to mobile devices 

43% 

 

 

 

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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