The Impact of Social and Mobile on Learning

Technology in the hands

Raytheon Professional Services’ (RPS) Vice President and General Manager, Dave Letts, shared some thoughts on the key learning trends to be expected in 2015 with HRO Magazine. In particular, he shares insight on how social and mobile are transforming corporate learning initiatives.

Technology Fuels Learning

Research from Morgan Stanley’s Internet Trends report cites that Americans spend more than 200 minutes a day on social networks, while mobile users are up by 500 percent in three years. That means it should be no surprise to see social features and mobile technologies infiltrating the learning space. The impact of both social and mobile behavior on learning has been significant. We have seen this with the proliferation of new learning approaches and technologies.

Along with this proliferation of technology, comes the challenge of integrating these solutions into one cohesive learning system that is aligned with business goals. That requires considerations such as: ensuring the right science behind the technology; implementing the appropriate blend of offerings; and ensuring an integrated solution that is well architected and created to meet the diverse needs of everyone from new hire to high performer. So while there are more choices available, in the end, the right learning strategy is never about merely adding new media or new technology, it has to work to achieve business goals.

Motivational Learning Through Mobile and Social

Mobile and social learners expect to have training delivered to them as and when they need it. As I mentioned to HRO Today, both social and mobile learning activities appeal to the informal learning needs of workers and are seeing significant payback in terms of engagement and retention rates:

With these activities, learner retention rates are experiencing double-digit increases through the follow-up deployment of small learning bytes and assessments focused on the key objectives from the original learning events. This also motivates the learner to continue to practice the critical skills delivered in the original training.”

Gamification is another technology making great strides in motivating learners. This technique taps into the learners’ need to excel in competitive environments, particularly if their scores contribute to their success as part of a group. Through interfaces such as a leaderboard, this real-time score reporting and team spirit mentality, create an intrinsic motivation environment that is self-sustaining. It also provides a delivery mechanism to promote and distribute awards.

Where To Next?

Thanks to Netflix, Starbucks, Amazon drones, virtual reality solutions, Bluetooth, e-beacons, and more, you can now buy a coffee, a movie, a vacation package, or even a house or a car with nearly immediate online credit approval. All of this consumer catering sets an expectation of immediacy and agility for learning as well. As with the other social and mobile interactions in our daily lives, we expect learning to be available 24/7, to be individualized, easy to access and engaging. This challenges the traditional curriculum-based models and creates the need for more customized learning, more mobile learning solutions and more engaging content.

In the near future we will see training programs shifting to training engagements:

“We are seeing more organizations shifting rapidly from the idea of training programs to training engagements—meaning, more and more workforces are signaling a desire to be engaged in their work, in their environment, and in their learning. It is clear that human beings show greater absorption and more rapid proficiency as their level of engagement increases. Thus, organizations are re-thinking their programs to architect them in such a way that it increases the level of learner engagement. Whether this be varied delivery methods, alternative designs or intriguing assessments, we are seeing a shift to training engagements.”

Has your organization been more focused on learning bytes, training engagements or gamification as a result of new technologies and new learner behaviors? What other implications has social and mobile had on your learning programs?