+44 (0)1274 785100 [email protected]

How to turn micro and mobile learning into killer applications for 2017

by | Feb 10, 2017 | Articles | 0 comments

As organisations turn to mobile solutions to help their staff access learning resources on the go, they will be facing the issue of whether to develop bespoke applications or simply ensure that their content can be viewed effectively via a mobile browser. The mobile app can offer much more. It can offer features that underpin and improve the way in which we learn, such as retrieval practice, spaced learning, first time failing and threaded micro-learning.  

Day 1 of Learning Technologies and Genny Dixon reports on the key challenges and opportunities that surfaced during the exchange with Will Thalheimer, a learning-to-performance strategist and highly acclaimed speaker from the USA looking at how learning is a fundamental aspect of human life.

In today’s fast-moving organisations, few people have the luxury of time to learn via long e-learning courses unless they are highly motivated. Subscription learning – where ‘nuggets’ of short learning content such as scenario-based questions, reflection questions, discussions, diagnostics as well as micro content – are threaded and selected dynamically on the basis of anticipated learner needs, fits in far better with our busy, highly mobile, tech-enabled lifestyles.

One success story from the world of Higher Education was in the provision of tablets for nursing students. Not only could the University ensure quality and consistency, and provide ready access to learning resources at the point of need, but they were also benefiting from being able to push content and monitor usage – and success.

Will put the emphasis on ‘using’ rather than ‘authoring’ mobile apps, and the group could certainly share many examples of how they used – and relied on – their own favourite apps. Think Uber, Facebook, Fabulous. But whilst we appreciate the benefits of convenience, speed and sheer practicality in the ‘app’ version of some popular web tools, we turn to the browser-based version when were back at the laptop. Is the App dead? Not by a long chalk. The ease of communication does have its drawbacks however, and using Facebook was a case in point. We suffer from increased content marketing together with the way in which we naturally seek out and are presented with information that supports our own bias.

Discussing the way in which using apps can solve learning problems was most thought-provoking. Successful apps provide practical solutions, a reason to visit – and to keep on visiting – and to integrate humanity. When we forget – we need reminders such as job aids. When we are ‘unconsciously incompetent’, we need diagnostics. When our memory lapses, we need retrieval practice. When we are flagging, elements of gamification can keep us on track.

The following practical ideas came from the discussion on how to turn micro and mobile learning into killer applications for 2017

Practical idea 1

Think ‘use’ rather than ‘author’.  Do you know what the killer apps are that your learners are using already? Share the ones they find most helpful, for example as communication or productivity tools.

Practical idea 2

Understand the spacing effect. Repeating the learning point at intervals helps embed it into practice. Short or long spaces? The jury is still out, but long spaces got our vote.

Practical idea 3

Use micro-learning to support integration. Use short learning nuggets to follow on from courses to support integration of the learning points in the workflow.

Practical idea 4

Widen your horizons. Read articles and follow thought-leaders that do not simply echo your own point of view.

Practical idea 5

Failing leads to learning. Gaming enthusiasts certainly understand this point. First-time failing helps people to select new options, follow different paths or think of new solutions.

Practical idea 6

Integrate humanity with the learning. Think of how we love our fitness, health, social, music apps and why they appeal. Fabulous.

The App is certainly not dead, despite the ease of use of browser tools in a mobile environment. Apps can help solve learning problems like motivation, engagement, memory and information retrieval as well as offering fast, practical and attractive communications. Apps provide an ideal vehicle for threaded micro-learning and spaced learning, but it is the integration of humanity that keeps us coming back for more and turns something that just ‘works’ into something ‘world-class’.

Find out more about speaker:

Read Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form 
Find out more about micro – and subscription learning
Twitter: @WillWorkLearn
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/willthalheimer


About the exchange programme:

The LT Exchange is a free opportunity to have round table discussions with some of the world’s most influential learning sector thought-leaders – and is available to all L&D practitioners visiting the Learning Technologies exhibition.

A collaboration between Learning Technologies and Towards Maturity, the Exchanges programme was launched in 2011 with the aim to share effective practice, thought leadership and stimulate innovation in L&D.

This year, the Learning Technologies Exchanges was co-hosted with Training Journal and tackled the practical issues facing today’s L&D leaders: supporting change, leveraging networks, mobile learning, micro learning and how to get ahead with technology in 2017.

About Towards Maturity

Towards Maturity is a benchmarking research company that provides independent expert advice and support to help organisations use learning technologies to accelerate business performance. It leverages the data of its in-depth Benchmark Study, the largest learning technology benchmark in Europe. Since 2003, over 5,000 organisations and 35,000 learners have contributed to Towards Maturity’s leading benchmarks.

Learn more about Towards Maturity’s unique benchmarking tools and models

Featured content

Get started with micro learning

Get started with micro learning

Micro learning is one of the hot new trends this year, but as with any new learning technology, it comes with its challenges for implementation.


Our Ambassadors

Our Supporters also influence Towards Maturity's Benchmark and research, providing insights on future trends and practices that should be investigated.

How to turn micro and mobile learning into killer applications for 2017

by | Feb 10, 2017 | Articles | 0 comments

Lesley Price, senior consultant for Learn Appeal, tells us about the charity bringing relevant and interactive content to the most remote parts of developing countries.

Most of us, particularly those living in developed economies, now take the internet for granted. In the last 15 years, we have seen the number of internet-connected users increase from 5.8% to 42.4% of the world population[1] and as a result, we are also seeing rapid growth in cloud-based elearning content.

Those that can connect to the internet can access a wealth of learning opportunities at the touch of a button or screen. This has huge benefits for those who can access these resources, but what about communities in remote locations where there is no mains electricity, never mind internet access? Is the growth of the internet, which is enabling learning for those that are connected, actually widening the educational divide with those that are not?

Learn Appeal Children in SA

Learn Appeal is a charity working to advance education for public benefit. They are investigating how they can provide e-learning content to remote communities where they don’t have internet access or mains electricity. They are also looking to see how they can help charities to provide targeted learning resources in their centres, so clients can access elearning resources using their own devices.


The first projects using the Learn Appeal Capsule will be supporting Barnardo’s in the UK as well as four amazing projects in sub-Saharan Africa: Complitkenya in Kenya, the Children’s Entrepreneurial Training Village (CETV) in Malawi, M-Ubuntu in South Africa and the Tanzania Development Trust.

2016 has been a huge year for Learn Appeal. We have developed a fully functional technical solution called the Learn Appeal Capsule, identified and initiated a number of trial projects and increased their engagement with the elearning community, both in the UK and overseas.

In Malawi, Learn Appeal are working with the Children’s Entrepreneurial Training Village, helping young people learn vocational and entrepreneurial skills so that they can grow their own local economy. Again, this young community faces huge challenges. There is no mains electricity, internet access is a distant dream and to the right, you can see their computer lab.

Relevant, engaging content is needed

Learn Appeal can provide them with a Capsule and some equipment, but the kit is not the issue. What is most important, is having access to content that will help them develop skills to gain employment and build their local economy. Learn Appeal have the funding to provide them with two Learn Appeal Capsules and mobile devices. What they don’t have is contextually relevant, interactive content.

Learn Appeal cannot provide the internet, but they can help children, young people and their parents with an off-grid solution that can provide e-learning when and where they need it the most.

Towards Maturity’s research data, collected over more than twelve years from across the globe, clearly shows that there are two key elements to engaging learners and helping them achieve success:

  1. The content needs to be contextually relevant
  2. The user experience has to be a top priority

20161121_100453Since the charity begun they have been donated relevant content from a range of organisations such as Practical Action, Thare Machi, ALISON.com and the Open University. However, the content is either in PDF format or is only interactive online, they need help to rework it. What’s top of their wish list this Christmas is:

  • Time and talent volunteered by industry experts
  • Relevant content
  • Funds to grow the charity

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy had dreams…she dreamt that life would be perfect if only she could go into the clouds and over the rainbow.  In the end, she realised that there was ‘no place like home’ – she didn’t need the cloud to find happiness.

The Learn Appeal Capsule doesn’t need the cloud either. There is so much talent in our industry, so this Christmas, help us work under the rainbow and provide interactive and engaging e-learning to those that need it the most.

Join our LinkedIn group and share your comments.

Featured content

Get started with micro learning

Get started with micro learning

Micro learning is one of the hot new trends this year, but as with any new learning technology, it comes with its challenges for implementation.


Our Ambassadors

Our Supporters also influence Towards Maturity's Benchmark and research, providing insights on future trends and practices that should be investigated.

Pin It on Pinterest