Mobile Learning Goes Mainstream

Mobile learning finally has gone mainstream, driven by consumers in both the developed and developing worlds, and by mobile technology-oriented industries including high-tech, business services, and health care.

Consumers are spearheading the adoption of mobile technologies in the workplace and around the developing world — spurred by the explosion of easy-to-use and relatively inexpensive smart phones, e-book readers, netbooks, tablets, and user-friendly applications, according to Bersin & Associates research. Its new report on the subject is titled “M-Learning: Mobile Learning is Finally Going Mainstream – And It Is Bigger Than You Might Think.”

Use of mobile devices for learning has risen from 9 percent of U.S.-based organizations in 2007 to an estimated 20 percent or more in 2010. More than a quarter of the world’s population now uses a mobile device, and frequent mobile Internet use has almost doubled in the past year, according to the study. The research report also notes that the informal uses for m-learning vastly outnumber the formal, and that these new applications increasingly empower today’s workers to access the information they need on demand.

Major companies, including Bersin & Associates Learning Leaders, have adopted and demonstrated the efficacy of mobile learning. For example:

>> Accenture created a uPodcast program that enables subject-matter experts and the organization’s leaders to share knowledge at a minimal cost. To date, 180 podcasts have been created, and more than 20,000 employees — 11 percent of the total workforce — have accessed them.

>> Coca-Cola turned to Kelley Executive Partners to create an alternate-reality game that combines social and mobile technologies — including GPS and smartphones — along with collaborative and competitive team problem-solving. The game was designed to drive understanding of how millennial consumers use Web 2.0 technologies (and avoiding television) to help Coke develop a more effective marketing strategy.

“Mobile learning is ushering a new era — one of unprecedented speed, scale and reach that can connect employees to the knowledge and expertise they need, when and where they need it,” says Josh Bersin, CEO and president of Bersin & Associates. “Today’s enterprise learning functions risk becoming irrelevant if they do not rapidly respond to the power of new mobile technologies to both deepen and hasten the sharing of information across organizations, and to the changing needs and expectations for learning by new generations and geographies of employees.”

Learning organizations will need to rethink their methods, practices and perspective to support meeting business learning needs at the speeds of business, and via the formats and modalities used by business, says David Mallon, a Bersin principal analyst and author of the study. The report, which also provides an overview of the m-learning solution provider market, draws from both existing Bersin & Associates research plus additional qualitative research conducted with both practitioner organizations and key solution providers.

“Timeliness, proximity, versatility: these are among the key measures of today’s high-impact learning organization,” Mallon added. “M-learning plays a critical role in helping organizations meet the demands of these measures.”

The report is available for $495 for a PDF and $695 for a print copy.

More report details: www.bersin.com/MobileLearn2011

Mobile learning finally has gone mainstream, driven by consumers in both the developed and developing worlds, and by mobile technology-oriented industries including high-tech, business services, and health care.

Consumers are spearheading the adoption of mobile technologies in the workplace and around the developing world — spurred by the explosion of easy-to-use and relatively inexpensive smart phones, e-book readers, netbooks, tablets, and user-friendly applications, according to Bersin & Associates research. Its new report on the subject is titled “M-Learning: Mobile Learning is Finally Going Mainstream – And It Is Bigger Than You Might Think.”

Use of mobile devices for learning has risen from 9 percent of U.S.-based organizations in 2007 to an estimated 20 percent or more in 2010. More than a quarter of the world’s population now uses a mobile device, and frequent mobile Internet use has almost doubled in the past year, according to the study. The research report also notes that the informal uses for m-learning vastly outnumber the formal, and that these new applications increasingly empower today’s workers to access the information they need on demand.

Major companies, including Bersin & Associates Learning Leaders, have adopted and demonstrated the efficacy of mobile learning. For example:

>> Accenture created a uPodcast program that enables subject-matter experts and the organization’s leaders to share knowledge at a minimal cost. To date, 180 podcasts have been created, and more than 20,000 employees — 11 percent of the total workforce — have accessed them.

>> Coca-Cola turned to Kelley Executive Partners to create an alternate-reality game that combines social and mobile technologies — including GPS and smartphones — along with collaborative and competitive team problem-solving. The game was designed to drive understanding of how millennial consumers use Web 2.0 technologies (and avoiding television) to help Coke develop a more effective marketing strategy.

“Mobile learning is ushering a new era — one of unprecedented speed, scale and reach that can connect employees to the knowledge and expertise they need, when and where they need it,” says Josh Bersin, CEO and president of Bersin & Associates. “Today’s enterprise learning functions risk becoming irrelevant if they do not rapidly respond to the power of new mobile technologies to both deepen and hasten the sharing of information across organizations, and to the changing needs and expectations for learning by new generations and geographies of employees.”

Learning organizations will need to rethink their methods, practices and perspective to support meeting business learning needs at the speeds of business, and via the formats and modalities used by business, says David Mallon, a Bersin principal analyst and author of the study. The report, which also provides an overview of the m-learning solution provider market, draws from both existing Bersin & Associates research plus additional qualitative research conducted with both practitioner organizations and key solution providers.

“Timeliness, proximity, versatility: these are among the key measures of today’s high-impact learning organization,” Mallon added. “M-learning plays a critical role in helping organizations meet the demands of these measures.”

The report is available for $495 for a PDF and $695 for a print copy.

More report details: www.bersin.com/MobileLearn2011

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