Mobile learning is about more
than putting an e-learning
course in your pocket, says
rganisational learning is at an completion. And learners enjoyed timely even if the demand had been there, the
inflexion point. Things are access to calendar-based, structured systems and technology to support a
going to change very learning activities. If this sounds like the different model of learning weren’t.
dramatically from the way 19th century, it isn’t. It all applies as Essentially the only way to get people
they have been for years, and the reason is equally to training in the past few years as trained was as we had done it in the past –
simple. New ways of working, supported by it did to the Victorian era. Delivery albeit perhaps with a slight technical twist
new technologies, demand new ways of mechanisms certainly have changed in the added.
learning. past few decades or so (with the addition Today things are different.
of e-learning and webinars, for example),
TOP-DOWN STRUCTURED LEARNING IS The exploding speed of communications in
but the centralised, prescriptive model of
NO LONGER ENOUGH. today’s world forces organisations in the
organisational learning has remained
Historically, organisations’ approach to unaltered. public and private sector to keep up with
imparting their workforce with knowledge those that consume their services or use
was to train them. Typically, learning and Perhaps, until recently, this approach was their products. The old standby of ‘just-in-
development departments decided what sufficient and this may have been for two time training’ is no longer adequate. Simply
should be taught, who should teach it, and reasons. First, there was no external driver, making more knowledge available faster
how workers should be graded after pushing a more effective model. Second, won’t do. Learners need the right
November 2009 Inside Learning Technologies 67
ALL CHANGE FOR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
By 2011, over one billion workers world-wide will be equipped • From curriculum-driven to search-driven
with mobile devices connected to the Internet via WIFI and 4G • From lesson-driven to knowledge-driven
networks. Enhanced processing power combined with • From employee-centred to audience-
centred (including customers)
broadband connectivity and GPS is already revolutionising
• From teacher-driven to SME-driven
many people’s expectations of their mobile phones.
• From subject-teaching to knowledge-
For FML to be effective, two key
These L&D departments recognise that innovations are required. One is the
knowledge mobility requires much more development of an intelligent search
than simply putting e-learning on a mobile function designed to fetch and deliver
device. A mobile learning solution must content to smart phones. The other is a
take into consideration the worker’s Categorisation Engine that will aggregate,
environment and state of mind. analyse and present the content in a
relevant and useful manner on mobile
The worker ‘on the go’ has less time to devices and smart phones.
learn and more urgent knowledge needs to
fulfil. Consequently, the source of Without this, the smart phone user will be
knowledge is often not the lesson. Instead, presented with an unmanageable mess of
relevant knowledge can be generated from information that he or she can make no
a variety of sources in a multitude of sense of, and get no value from.
forms. The ability to access knowledge
from structured and unstructured sources
in multiple formats is an approach that
we call the ‘Fluid Model of Learning’ or
FLUID MODEL OF LEARNING - FML
FML provides the knowledge worker with
a knowledge acquisition experience
information, delivered in a timely way that where the learner is in control. He or
is responsive to them. she is perpetually both a learner
and a teacher, as are the other
THE RACE FOR SMART MOBILITY members of his or her
Globally, knowledge workers are rapidly community. And any person
arming themselves with powerful mobile can be a member of
devices that deliver capabilities far in multiple communities.
excess of mere mobile telephony. And this This learning experience is
goes well beyond playing a few games on characterised by the learner’s ability
your iPhone. to find precise knowledge in multiple
formats, from various sources.
By 2011, over one billion workers world-
Whatever sources are appropriate,
wide will be equipped with mobile devices
the learner finds the information
connected to the Internet via WIFI and 4G
they need to overcome the specific
networks. Enhanced processing power
knowledge challenge they face.
combined with broadband connectivity
and GPS is already revolutionising many FML augments traditional learning
people’s expectations of their mobile approaches in which learning takes
phones. This trend will rapidly reach a place ‘just in case’. The following
tipping point, as smart mobile provide examples of areas in which
devices/phones permeate every aspect of FML broadens the learning
The combination of Intelligent Search and
our life – personal and professional. experience to more readily, more rapidly
the Categorisation Engine will present
access more useful and up-to-date
Increasingly, organisations which need to content of multiple types within a
keep employees always informed and in configurable interface. Not only do users
collaborative communication are looking • From formal learning content to now expect to be able to configure the
for some method of managing knowledge informal learning content interfaces of devices they use, this user-
across the enterprise. Where knowledge driven adaptability is essential.
• From structured learning content to
management is synonymous with unstructured learning content This enables the user to find the
document control, things are not going to information they want in the way they
• From individual-based learning to
change. In some forward-looking expect, and put it to use immediately.
organisations, however, the Learning and Different users will want to vary how they
Development function is stepping forward • From training-driven to performance- receive information – whether they give
to assume this important role. support-driven more emphasis at a particular time to a
68 Inside Learning Technologies November 2009
ALL CHANGE FOR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
The combination of Intelligent Search and the Categorisation
Engine will present content of multiple types within a
configurable interface. Not only do users now expect to be able
to configure the interfaces of devices they use, this user-driven
adaptability is essential.
social networking device, for example, to him/her to a relevant SME’s mobile
a wiki, a blog or a course. telephone for a live discussion.
There is so much information available This approach works to the strengths of
that the best filter for it is the user’s own the smart phone, rather than presenting
decision, based on the right channel for a users with a cut-down version of elearning.
particular occasion. We are now seeing mobile devices evolve based learning presented by most
into knowledge-based performance organisational learning systems today.
These combined engines will not only
support tools, where their very portability
serve content based on what is being The reason this form of learning will evolve
and connectivity give them an edge over
searched but will also find relevant and hi- is simple: people expect it, organisations
desktop computers. They can deliver need it and now, finally, the technology
value knowledge links and present them to
context-sensitive information and exists to supply it.
the user. Such links can connect the user
connections exactly at the point of need.
with content in multiple formats coming Get ready for a mobile, fluid, learning
from blogs, wikis, videos, audio, documents This is not some far-off vision of future.
libraries, podcasts, or even structured mobile learning in the future. It is a
lessons. picture of learning that we can expect to
see emerging in 2010. Ara Ohanian is CEO of CERTPOINT
Furthermore, since the system will Systems. For more information please
recognise which community is most It is fluid, it is ultra-relevant, and it is visit www.certpointsystems.com.
relevant to the user, it can connect dramatically different from the course-
Is your organisation achieving its
Identify strengths and weaknesses across your organisation
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See it in action at Learning Technologies 2010
November 2009 Inside Learning Technologies 71