January 20, 2020

Meeting the needs of the modern workforce with mobile learning

To keep up with the changing world of work, employees need to learn new skills quickly. But an outdated approach to learning is no longer effective for the modern workforce as their needs and preferences evolve. Here’s how mobile technology can help your organization build the skills of the future and meet the needs of the workforce.

Learning has never been more important than it is in today’s workplace. However, learning and development programs have often been seen as a checkbox item – whether it’s getting employees to complete compliance training or providing learning opportunities to keep on par with competition. According to McKinsey, most companies have a flawed approach to learning as they’re missing the mark on the timing, type of content, and overall purpose of training.

Learning and development programs are now table stakes to building a future-ready workforce and are an essential part of a larger human capital management strategy. The workplace of tomorrow requires new skills and they’re changing faster than ever as we’ve discussed in previous posts. Not only are traditional ways of learning and development ineffective in building skills required for the future, but they also overlook individual needs.

LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report found that employees of all ages are getting more mobile and social, and yet PwC found that only 60% of employees say they’re satisfied with the mobile options available to them at work. As technology advances, employers are able to use mobile learning to not only build the skills needed faster and more efficiently but also show employees that you’re meeting their needs. Here are six benefits of adopting mobile learning technology.

1. Make learning more effective

Industry leaders are tapping into the varying preferences, expectations, and learning styles of all their learners. What works for one group of people might not work for another. For example, traditional training manuals and long-form content might make it difficult for some employees to retain what they’ve learned, while for others, it may be an ideal format.

Organizations need to consider the methods of delivery and type of content they’re providing for their people to ensure material is effectively retained. In fact, if information isn’t applied within six days, we forget about 75% of it. Contextual learning or microlearning lets employees learn from short bits of information and immediately apply their learnings to the project or task they’re working on. For example, short snippets of information or videos pushed from mobile phones can help employees learn in the context of their work.

2. Increase knowledge sharing through collaboration

With the prevalence of social media in our everyday lives, there’s no reason why employees should expect anything different in the workplace. Social learning experiences via mobile will help employees build knowledge and skills through peer collaboration and coaching in an informal setting, making it more engaging.

Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing by allowing employees to publish, share, and discuss learning content they find useful – similar to the social experiences they’re familiar with on their mobile phones. This type of technology also helps employees learn more quickly and efficiently. For example, if an employee has a question, they can post it in a forum and quickly get answers on the subject matter.

Related: Engage and retain top talent by elevating your employee learning experience

3. Make learning more accessible

The modern workforce is in different places at different times, whether they’re on the floor interacting with customers, treating patients, or off-site on a project. Employers can remove friction points in the learning process by helping people learn their own way, on their own time. Mobile learning solutions will provide the workforce with greater access to their learning materials when they don’t have time to sit at a desktop. This also means ensuring learning can still be done when employees don’t have access to internet – such as commuting on the subway – using offline mode.

4. Train employees quickly and efficiently

It’s essential that organizations provide up-to-date employee certifications and training on new laws and regulations or workplace safety to remain compliant. Employees are often mandated to complete the training by specific dates in which laws and regulations are introduced, for example, which can get even more complex for organizations that operate across borders. It’s also critical for employers to bring their people up to speed on new products. For example, in retail, employees need to be trained on new merchandise or a recent product update.

In addition to compliance, product, and company-related learning, organizations are also up against the clock to build the skills needed to compete in the future. As new technologies evolve and organizations continue to adopt disruptive technologies, employees will need to learn new technical skills as well as behavioral skills such as critical thinking.

Organizations need to systematize learning and development to keep up to pace with the skills of the future. Taking time away from work to attend a formal course is often not an option given the speed in which skills need to be learned. The World Economic Forum claims that 54% of all employees will need reskilling and upskilling by 2022. Mobile learning solutions will help organizations efficiently train and reskill their workforce as they can distribute learning materials quickly across all departments and locations.

5. Improve employer branding to attract and retain top talent

Top talent isn’t looking to work for a company that’s behind with its technology, practices, and programs. They’re searching for an employer that will not only help them reach their career goals but will make it easy and seamless to do so. In fact, 59% of employees joined companies for better career paths and more opportunity. And when it comes to retention, Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent report found that employees working for companies that offer resources for learning are more likely to feel happier and stay longer than when these resources are not offered.

On top of this, talent is more inclined to work for a digitally-savvy company. In fact, 80% of employees identify the company’s use of the latest digital tools as a top factor in choosing to work for a company, while 40% have already left a job because they didn’t have access to digital tools. Organizations that provide digitally-driven experiences using mobile technology can improve their employer brand to attract and retain the best talent.

6. Keep content relevant and timely

If you consider content leaders like Netflix and Spotify, they deliver new, updated content like movies, shows, music, podcasts, etc. on a continuous basis. We’re used to these types of experiences in our personal lives and the workplace should be no different. Outdated content inhibits employees from developing skills needed for the future and can contribute to an archaic employee experience.

Organizations should look for a workforce learning solution that maintains partnerships with leading content providers such as Go1, OpenSesame, and LinkedIn Learning, for example, that offer mobile content courses. This will make it easier for learning and development professionals to review and deliver relevant, up-to-date experiences to strengthen existing skills, help build new skills, and provide an overall “consumerized” experience.

While organizations are taking steps to improve their learning strategies, they’re still not where they need to be. Building the workforce of tomorrow requires a progressive strategy that both meets the changing needs of the workforce and is aligned with business goals.

Read next: How to embed a learning culture within your organization

 

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