Everyone wants the best on the market when it comes to employees, that’s why headhunting companies are still in business and HR professionals spend so much time organizing multi-stage interviews and pre-employment tests. But even if the best selection method is applied, probably they won’t find professionals that are tailor-made for the company’s needs. No matter how good prospects are, they will need to learn about the company, about its culture, and they will need to develop their current knowledge in order to adapt it to the needs of their new organization.
New employees aren’t the only ones who need learning. In the dynamic environment in which we are living, all of us will need to learn something new eventually, and learn it fast if we want to remain sharp and be the most valuable asset of our team. That’s the beauty of lifelong learning: it never stops and we’ll always have something to look forward to.
Many organizations recognize the importance of knowledge development and they are doing their best to incorporate lifelong learning in their organizational culture. Some are more successful at it than others, and this could have a number of reasons. For starters, it’s good to have a specialized person who designs the structure of the training activity, establishes training objectives and measures the training outcomes.
And let's not forget about the tools. When it comes to training employees, I dare say that the time of white boards and notebooks has passed. It would be rather nostalgic and time consuming sitting in a “classroom”, tacking notes and watching someone scribbling on the whiteboard. Now there are various more effective tools at the company’s disposal and they come in all sizes.
The sizes are different but the shape is basically the same: phones, phablets and tablets. Companies have been using these devices to train their employees and it works, especially if it’s used with a modern business LMS. If you didn’t try to use smartphones as part of your training process, there are a few reasons why you should give it a try.
Time is the essence
Learning is lifelong and one may think time isn’t essential because it’s a never-ending process. But time and timing are especially important. There are two simple questions that should be answered:
How much time employees need to spend learning? Preferably not much because they have to work as well.
When should employees learn? Ideally, in their own time, when they don’t work.
That sounds quite impossible, but it isn’t. There are solutions that can deliver knowledge at a faster pace and can convert otherwise unused time for learning purposes. One such solution is mobile learning, or mLearning.
Instead of holding hours-long training sessions for employees, you could create customized small information packages that could be accessed online via learners’ own devices. Offering such courses can reduce the time needed to learn and understand the materials. Using their own mobile devices could help employees to learn on-the-go, without a constriction of a tight schedule. They could learn while they are commuting, or when they are waiting for a meeting to start.
Let them learn
Accent should always be on learning itself, not on the training process. To sit in a training room taking in lots of information from an instructor just because somebody said so, is pointless. Employees want to learn things that can help them do their own jobs better.
So let them learn what they need, at their own pace. Give them access to the online training materials from where, with a quick search on their mobile devices, they can select what they need when they need it. These can also give place to contextual learning which significantly increases information retention.
Help them apply what they learn
Regardless how much contextual learning is involved, eventually people will forget, and information will fade in their memory. That’s how our brain works. This faded knowledge may come in handy in numerous times in their daily activity and they will need to retrieve it, if not from their memory, then from the training materials. If information is “hidden” in a large textbook or it’s scattered in someone’s notes, it will be hard to find, and employees can’t be asked to carry their books and notes everywhere they go.
With mobile learning, it's easy to overcome this issue, with a targeted search on their devices they can have instantly all the information they need, literally at their fingertips.
Save on costs
Traditional courses can take a lot of time to go through and in many cases there are significant travel hours involved as well. Time spent learning never can be called lost, but it is a major cost for companies. Training materials and textbooks have a significant cost as well and printed documents can’t be updated with the latest information as HTML pages; sooner or later they will need to be changed. If we take all this into consideration, the costs mount up.
With online courses, the cost of training materials can be curbed significantly and what’s better, employees will have up to date information at their disposal. If the company implements BYOD in their training strategy, they can save money on the devices as well. A significant benefit of mobile learning at work is that all the small periods of time — which would be dead time otherwise — can be used in a constructive manner to learn.
And an added benefit: The young generation of workers would love mobile learning; they’re doing it daily without even realizing it. When they don’t know something they google it in a second. And that’s a good base on which your mobile learning strategy can be built.
What do you think? Is mobile learning right for your company?