Why Online and Mobile Learning is Essential for Small Businesses
article by Diane Shawe M.Ed
The world of online learning is changing the way training can be delivered very rapidly. There is no doubt that mobile learning is hot and for good reason. If it is done right, it can produce great results for small businesses by decreasing costs and improving performance. Understanding mLearning’s value helps businesses make the best decisions about when and why to use it. Here are some compelling reasons.
What most people, employers, entrepreneurs and even some educational institutions do not have in today’s current environment is time the necessary resources and the infrastructure they need to support and achieve their learning objectives
“Continued Professional Training is imperative for SME’s if they are to compete from the bottom line up, & become sustainable business. It is not a luxury expenditure but a vital investment as we see more and more Global Small Businesses evolving around the world” says Diane Shawe M.Ed
There are a variety of Mobile Devices to choose from that can be used for Mobile Learning. Some of the more popular ones include: Samsung Galaxy range, Blackberry, Notebook, Palm Pilot, Apple iPhone, Tablets, Apple iPad, Apple iPod Touch, and many other up and coming tablets and notebooks.
So let us take a look at 10 reasons why mLearning is a better approach for training staff within the SME sector…
1. Decreased training costs. With mLearning, each time the course is accessed your return on investment improves because you are dividing the fixed production costs by number of uses. You also have savings through decreased travel, reduced material, and hopefully improved (and more efficient) performance.
2. Less material costs. Let’s say you have to train how to arrange equipment in a sterile environment like an operating room. If you had to use the real environment, it would be costly. Even setting up a virtual environment has material costs and labour. By creating the environment online and letting the learner practice, you never have to worry about the costs associated with set up, use, and clean up. There is also the vast savings on BYOD
3. Increased productivity. Because mLearning is not bound by geography or time, you can control how it impacts on production by training people during down times. In addition, with the current economy, you’re asking people to do more with less. So mLearning is a great way to give them the tools and skills needed to enhance their performance.
4. Getting the message across. mLearning allows businesses create a standardised process and consistency in the delivery of content. It also compresses delivery time.
5. Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning: Live learning events require that those who participate align their schedules to the training calendar. mLearning eliminates this because the course can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Great for businesses and learners!
6. Giving the freedom to fail. Real learning requires some failure. But no one likes to fail in a classroom full of other people. mLearning lets you fail without fear. This encourages exploration and testing of ideas. With the right feedback you create a great learning environment. Worst case, you can always start over. Something you can’t always do in class.
7. Learning and Retaining. The combination of multimedia and instructional design can produce a very rich learning experience that is repeatable. Throw in some good practice activities with feedback and you have a learning environment that’s going to help your learners retain the course content which will produce results.
8. Student Centred learning. Look out the window at a car park. My guess is that you’ll see a dozen or more different cars. They all do the same thing, yet we have personal opinions about what we want to drive; the same for learning. Learners want control. mLearning allows you to offer control to the learners in a way that classroom learning doesn’t.
9. Learning Management: mLearning includes all sort of online technologies. It incorporates some of the tools that allow collaboration and conversation and can capture organisational knowledge that is available for future learners.
10. The Sharing Economy. The foundation of a learning community is built on sharing what you know with others. This is where incorporating a forum with the LMS (Learning Management System) adds value to business mLearning. Depending on how the course is structured, you can encourage sharing of resources and insight gained from the course.
In addition to all these advantages, mLearning is really good for the environment. An Open University’s study found that producing and providing distance learning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face to face courses.
One of the challenges with making mLearning effective is how you manage the courses and access to resources. If you’re using a learning management system you might consider how that impacts the learning. MLearning is cost effective and can produce great results. It’s all a matter of how you use it. Have at look at our online learning system, mLearning and the eLearning future. Go to: www.expresstraingcourse.com
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