Why Should Mobile Learning Be on Your Mind?


I read the article Here's Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years"  and, coupled with some research on mobile video I'm doing, paused because I suddenly felt like I was missing something. It was one of those "wait – what?" moments that I sometimes get as an analyst because you know, I have to know this stuff.

Anyway, the author of the article, Eric Jackson, shares two schools of thought – first, the outsized influence management teams have on organizational outcomes and second, the idea that managers don't really matter all that much because organizational outcomes have more to do with industry effects. He admits to not thinking much of the latter (which comes from organizational ecology research) until recently. He believes that…

"More and more in tech, it seems that your long-term viability as a company is dependent on when you were born."

In the tech world, Jackson identifies 3 generations: Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Mobile and suggests that prior generations of organizations can't quite see the subtle changes between generations. He goes on to say that social companies born since 2010 (i.e. Instagram), view mobile as the primary (often exclusive) platform for their application.

[Those companies born since 2010] "don’t even think of launching via a web site.  They assume, over time, people will use their mobile applications almost entirely instead of websites."

There's an interesting tidbit in the article that comes from Tim Cook (CEO, Apple) about the speed of change…

"…through the last quarter [Q2 2012], I should say, which is just 2 years after we shipped the initial iPad, we’ve sold 67 million. And to put that in some context, it took us 24 years to sell that many Macs and 5 years for that many iPods and over 3 years for that many iPhones."

We don't know the reason(s) why Facebook bought Instagram (born after 2010) for $1 Billion. Plenty of folks have opinions about it. Perhaps it's because Instagram's mobile  app doesn't blow. Perhaps it's Facebook's mobile strategy in action. That's my take FWIW.

What does this mean for L&D? We  have e-Learning 1.0 and e-Learning 2.0 and now have mobile learning -but are we just taking the 1.0 and 2.0 elements and putting them in mobile form? It seems we have to make sure our mobile learning can stand alone…you know, not totally blow.

-Janet Clarey

Dani Johnson

Dani Johnson, Vice President, Learning & Development Research, writes about the evolving L&D function. Specifically, she focuses on the necessary changes in how L&D approaches its responsibilities and allocates its resources (people, time, and money) to have a lasting effect on both organizations and individuals.

7 thoughts on “Why Should Mobile Learning Be on Your Mind?

  1. Janet, I believe fundamental learning needs (i.e. five moments of need by Conrad Gottfredson) are timeless, but that new platforms (web, social, mobile, game design) help provide additional channels and design elements for meeting those needs.

  2. Well said. I think that’s exactly his point. I love Jane McGonigal’s work but haven’t read the book (assume you recommend?). I’m not terribly fond of the word gamification myself…I like that you have separated the term from game design. I’d be interested to hear what you think L&D needs in terms of skills to make this transition. Janet

  3. I believe Eric Jackson’s point is that 1.0 (e.g. Google) tried to put social (Web 2.0) into their products, but has not been successful largely because they (Google engineers) have yet to make the mental shift to the new paradigm. Thus, in mobile, which provides a wholly different platform that includes multiple sensors (e.g. location AND proximity to others AND motion), a new paradigm exists. He would agree with you that if 1.0 or 2.0 companies just transfer their services to mobile (lift and shift) that it will … blow.

    After reading the book Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal, I believe game design (not gamification) will be part of mobile or part of the successor generation of services.

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