Mobile technology has already revolutionized the business world in many ways, so it is not surprising that it is now changing how we approach training and personnel development as well. A mobile device already gives us the ability to access documents and information, as well as communicate with colleagues, practically anywhere at any time. Now, we can also add learning to this list.
The advantage of using mobile apps to develop employee skills is the flexibility involved: it is possible to have very casually paced programs or very structured ones, and it is easy to tailor the skills taught to your business as well as each specific employee. There are many well-designed and easy-to-use mobile learning applications available and we will take a look at five of the most popular ones.
Udemy, named after a portmanteau of ‘you’ and ‘academy’, is a platform for online learning. The platform itself is free, both for students and teachers, but the courses themselves have to be purchased, though free ones are also available. This has several advantages. The low barrier of entry means that it is a very popular platform: there are currently tens of thousands of courses by thousands of different instructors available on a wide variety of subjects. However, there can be wide differences in course quality.
The solution to that is Udemy for Business. It is a platform specifically designed for business training, giving your employees access to hand-picked courses led by expert instructors. Udemy’s mobile app can be used with both Apple and Android phones and allows you to download the course materials and access them offline, which is perfect for traveling. One downside is that it lacks tracking functions, so you can’t find out how far along your employees are in their training.
Moodle is an open-source learning management system platform that is very powerful and flexible in allowing you to create your own courses and training programs. Originally designed with education applications in mind, it offers many tools that can be very useful for learning on the job. It is possible to create assessments and surveys, both to test an employee’s existing skills and to see how well he or she learned the material. It is also very easy to track the progress of everyone taking the course, which is invaluable in assessing its effectiveness.
Due to its open-source origins, it is very flexible, meaning that tools exist to build practically any sort of course imaginable. Moodle also integrates well with other software such as YouTube, Google Docs or various calendar applications to make learning easy and efficient. Moodle’s mobile application is available across all operating systems. With some effort put into setting it up, Moodle can be a powerful solution for workplace learning.
Lynda is essentially a library of skill training courses. For a subscription fee that starts at $25 per month, you can access any of Lynda’s thousands of courses. Because it is a subscription service, all the instructors are experts in their field and the courses are very high quality. The service is oriented towards business users, with many courses being focused on improving skills in productivity software, online marketing strategies, management, programming and so on.
The application itself can be used either on a computer or through an iOS or Android app. It keeps track of the courses and videos you have watched and recommends similar ones. However, it is impossible to only pay for a particular course or program – you have to subscribe to the whole service, and several features, such as offline viewing, require a premium subscription.
Skill Pill is a mobile platform that works on a just-in-time model to leverage the advantages of mobile technology. Each Skill Pill is a short presentation focused on a certain specific skill that is only a few minutes long, making it perfect for those short moments of dead time during the work day, such as between meetings or during a commute. Such a learning model is also ideal for adult learners who lack the time to engage in a full-time educational program, but could use a boost in their skills development, enabled by these flexible and adjustable solutions.
These Skill Pills can be combined to create a course uniquely tailored to your employees’ needs. Skill Pill comes with over 1000 premade learning objects and can produce custom ones specific to your business as well. The mobile version is optimized for Apple, Android, Windows and Blackberry phones.
Duo Lingo is an application designed for language learning. It is composed of short lessons and is optimized for mobile use, though you can also use a browser-based interface. It is perfect for quickly picking up some basics of a foreign language and has very well-rounded lessons involving reading, writing, listening and speaking the target language and all are practically applicable.
Currently 16 languages are available to learn and new ones are being constantly added. The app is free and is available for iOS, Android or Windows phones.
As you can see, mobile learning applications are perfect for on-the-go, flexible or dynamic learning that makes it easy for employees to find time and resources to improve their skills. By constantly keeping themselves sharp and learning new skills, employees increase their productivity and efficiency. And, not the least, access to learning opportunities is a great workplace perk that helps with retention and acquisition of talent. We invite you to explore some mobile learning options and see how they could benefit your small business.
Author Bio: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, Joe enjoys spending time with his family, reading about latest tech gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters