By Mike Brock

In our featured project, we take a look at how Audi of America is starting to use mLearning in the classroom to not only replace but enhance its more traditional paper-based/PowerPoint instructor-led courses. The iPads used by the technicians at the Audi Learning Centers are part of an evolving mobile learning environment and not just an iPad-only solution. The Audi Self-Study Programs (SSP) app, also mentioned in the featured project, is available as both an iOS and Android app for tablets. As more courses are developed and taught in a mobile environment and other mobile learning strategies are deployed, significant cost savings will be realized. In addition, the amount of time instructors take to prep for individual courses will decrease and the number of training days dealership technicians spend away from their dealerships will decline.

Videos provide a great instructional medium for many types of mLearning projects, as well as new product and technology launches with the added benefit of being easily uploaded to branded YouTube channels. Instructional videos are great across multiple devices, especially smartphones. More than 85 percent of users watch videos on a smartphone compared with a tablet. (Source: Flurry Analytics, Apr 2013)

When is mLearning not mLearning? How about when Flash eLearning web-based training (WBT) courses are converted to HTML5/CSS3/Javascript with no re-design and called mLearning?

Traditional web-based training courses have a seat at the mLearning table and should be an integral part of an overall mobile strategy. There are many business cases to be made for converting existing Flash-based courseware to HTML5/CSS3/Javascript. But why stop there? As mLearning analyst RJ Jacquez says:

“We need to re-imagine, not just retrofit by shrinking and converting.”

If pursuing the retrofit path, at a minimum consider using a new graphical user interface (GUI) design optimized for mobile devices and make sure you fully understand browser compatibility issues and how that affects your organization’s transition plan to HTML5.

For in-depth research reports, best practices, and case studies on how mLearning is currently being used within organizations, I highly encourage you to become a member of the eLearning Guild and study the material and resources available to members.

For a great example of mobile first instructional design practices, download and install the free American Red Cross first aid app.

If you haven’t started with mobile, now is a good time and I encourage you to start using mobile in more of your everyday tasks.