The Complete Guide to M Learning (Mobile Learning)

The Complete Guide to M Learning (Mobile Learning) in the Workplace

Jul 24, 2020 9:49:41 AM

Training & learning

3.5 billion people around the world own a smartphone.

What if there were a way to make the most of workplace training by using what almost everyone already has - a mobile device?

Well, there is, and it's called mobile learning.

Mobile learning, or M learning, is perfectly adapted to both the habits of today's workforce and the way the human brain processes information.

Consider the following:


Our brains crave simulating learning that's easy to process - and that's where m learning comes in. 

But what is mobile learning, and what makes it the perfect choice for workplace learning?


What is Mobile Learning?

Mobile learning is accessed on, completed on, and formatted for mobile devices like smartphones or tablets.

Mobile learning is accessible whenever and wherever learners need or want it.

Mobile learning is about far more than just making your training content mobile-friendly.

Rather, it's a "personal, unobtrusive, spontaneous, 'anytime, anywhere' way to learn and to access educational tools and material that enlarges access to education for all."


10 Benefits of Mobile Learning


10 Benefits of Mobile Learning YOOBIC


The overarching benefit of mobile learning in the workplace is that it helps employees learn faster and perform better.


1) M Learning connects a geographically dispersed workforce.

It's not practical or possible to gather everyone together for an in-person training session, and it might not be for a long time.

When done right, mobile learning connects and builds community and promotes collaboration between learners who might never see each other in-person.

2) M Learning is the best fit for the modern learner.

Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 according to some estimates. And last year's projections showed that Gen Z would make up 36% of the workforce by this year.

Millennials spend an average of 3.2 hours on their phones every day, and 75% of Gen Z  prefer using a smartphone over a desktop computer.

These two generations are shaping the workforce. And since they spend most of their time on mobile, mobile learning is what resonates most with them.

3) M Learning makes employees' knowledge and skills consistent company-wide. 

Training has a monumental impact on company performance when it's not consistent across teams, offices, locations, regions and countries.

Since courses and learning paths are easy to create, publish and replicate using mobile learning, consistency is no longer a challenge.

4) M Learning is accessible and easy to use.

Training content delivered via mobile learning is typically formatted in ways that are easier to understand, like short videos, infographics, pictures and podcasts. Mobile learning formats information in ways that people prefer, regardless of context, like videos. In fact: 


80% of people would watch a video, but only 20% would read text on a page.


5) M Learning makes training content more engaging.

Mobile learning infrastructure supports many of the same functionalities that make social media users keep coming back for more, like push notifications, polls, surveys and personalization. 

6) M Learning is cost-effective.

Classroom sessions and offsites are still the default method of training, which might make you think they're more cost-effective. But when you factor in instructor fees, printing costs and even gas and hotel bills, traditional ways of training can get expensive very quickly.

With mobile learning, you can quickly and inexpensively push out new training content to hundreds and even thousands of learners at once.

7) M Learning is easy to measure.

Measuring the quantitative impact of learning is a top priority for Learning & Development professionals in 2020, according to LinkedIn Learning's yearly learning report.

But 24% of those professionals aren't actively measuring the analytics of their online learning.

Because mobile learning is interactive, it facilitates measuring key learning metrics like completion rate, quiz scores and more.

8) M Learning boosts information retention.

The amount of information we retain drops off exponentially with every day that goes by, according to the Forgetting Curve theory originated by Hermann Ebbinghaus over 100 years ago.

But there are tips and tricks you can use to slow that exponential dip in retention, like real-life application of knowledge, spaced repetition and bite-sized learning sessions - all of which mobile learning supports.

9) M Learning fosters collaboration and community.

79% of executives surveyed in Deloitte's 2020 Human Capital Trends report consider fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace as critical to their organization's success in the next 12-18 months.

Mobile learning supports this, because a mobile learning solution is also a space to ask questions and find support from peers, while giving learners a preference over how they want to learn.

10) M Learning is a stepping stone into even better training.

Mobile learning is the delivery mechanism for a plethora of other technologies and formats that make workplace learning even better. Social learning, personalized learning, microlearning, gamification and even the creation of a knowledge sharing culture are just a few.

Related: A Guide to Microlearning: What it is and Why Your Employees Need It


Mobile Learning vs E Learning - are they the same thing? 

E learning is done online - whether it's on a company laptop or a mobile device. E learning content may be mobile friendly, but it's typically not created only for mobile devices, even if it can be accessed on them. 

Mobile learning is technically online learning too, but it's created with only the needs and realities of the mobile learner in mind. Content is mobile-first and designed to give learners an engaging yet standardized experience wherever they are. 


Mobile Learning vs Microlearning - are they the same thing?

They sound similar, but they're not exactly the same.

Mobile learning is training that’s completed on a tablet or smartphone, wherever and whenever convenient for the learner. Mobile learning is optimized for whatever device the learner is using.

Microlearning is about the learning content itself - both its objective and structure. Microlearning content is presented in short chunks, each about one standalone and concretely applicable piece of knowledge. 

We can think of mobile learning as the delivery mechanism, and we can think of microlearning as what’s inside.

Mobile learning is the how and microlearning is the why.


Examples of M Learning

Mobile learning is far more than just mobile-friendly training content.

Mobile learning must have these 3 qualities:

  • Content is accessed at the learner's point of need, whenever or wherever that is

  • Content is presented in the simplest possible format, created specifically for mobile devices, and is optimized to provide the same experience regardless of device type

  • Content is interactive and gives the user feedback wherever possible (e.g. quizzes, scrolling)


Mobile Learning ✅ Not Mobile Learning ❌
Completing a quiz on your company's mobile learning app.  Your score is displayed afterwards, along with a custom badge you've earned. Logging into the company LMS via a URL on your smartphone to complete a quiz.
Opening your company's mobile learning app to complete a 15 minute lesson on post COVID-19 sanitation protocols, broken up into 5 minute videos with a quiz at the end. Watching a 15 minute video on your tablet about post COVID-19 sanitation protocols.


How to Implement a Mobile Learning Strategy

Step 1: Consider your audience and your overall objective.

First, consider your business goal for moving to mobile learning.

For example, if your goal is to make your training more engaging for your largely Gen Z workforce, this will impact the type of mobile learning content you design and your deployment strategy.

Next, think about your learners.

What's the typical age range? Are they desk-based, deskless or a mix of both? Are there any employee groups who may be less tech-savvy than others?

Mobile learning won't be effective unless employees actually want to use it, and that's why designing content with the end user in mind is so crucial to success.

Pro tip: Ask your employees for their feedback on your current training - its format, frequency and more. 

Step 2: Decide how you'll format your mobile training content

Mobile learning is the delivery mechanism for engaging, interactive and rewarding training content that helps your employees perform their best.

But it's just that - the delivery mechanism.

Even though implementing mobile learning will require employers to tailor training content to employee needs and preferences, there's still a lot that can be done to improve the format.

A few options are:

  • Microlearning, or formatting training content in short, standalone chunks around one applicable topic

  • Gamification, or incorporating game-playing elements like scoring, points, battles, challenges and leaderboards into your training to make it more engaging

Step 3: Choose the right mobile learning solution and/or app

Delivering mobile learning using an app is much more user-friendly than a mobile-optimized LMS, because employees are already so used to using apps for everything they do.

Related Download: How to Choose a Mobile Learning Platform

A few things to keep in mind when choosing a mobile learning platform are:

  • Ease-of-use: how much training will your employees need on how to use the new platform?

  • Authoring training content: how easy is it to create courses and quizzes? 

  • Analytics: how broad or detailed is reporting on training impact key performance indicators?

  • Integration: how does the platform sync up with tools employees already in use, like an internal communications platform?

  • Collaboration: how easily can employees ask questions, share best practices and get support?

Related: How specialty pet food retailer Tomlinson's Feed choose the perfect mobile mearning platform for their Gen Z workforce


YOOBIC How to Implement a Mobile Learning Strategy YOOBIC


Best Practices for Designing Mobile Learning Content

  • Present content in the simplest form possible, like short videos, images, infographics and audio clips

  • Ensure content is interactive - push notifications and integrating user-generated content like videos, questions and answers are good places to start

  • Model the collaborative aspects of your mobile learning after a social media platform or online forum

How to Deploy a Mobile Learning Strategy: Questions to Ask

60% of Gen Z won't use an app that loads too slowly

  • How will you personalize mobile learning content by employee role type? Learning paths are a great option for this, because they give employees a choice in how they want to develop their skills and a feeling of mastery as they move through lessons.

  • How can specific groups be targeted with specific trainings? 

  • What devices are being used across your employee base? Will employees be using their own devices, or company devices? Bear in mind that things like speed and load times can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful deployment - 60% of Gen Z won't use an app that loads too slowly.

  • Does your mobile learning platform support gamification, microlearning and offline access to training content to improve engagement and usability?

Key Takeaways

Mobile learning in the workplace gives employees control over their learning experience, and that's why it has such a massive impact.

When employees have a choice over when, where, how and for how long they complete training, the result is that they actually want to do it.

To be effective, mobile learning must be:

  • Accessed at the learner's point of need

  • Presented in the simplest content formats

  • Interactive and measurable

Mobile learning equips the modern employee with everything they need to go above and beyond in their roles and consistently perform at their best.


Help your employees learn faster and perform better with YOOBIC's mobile learning app. Gamified, social and bite-sized microlearning courses will fire up your teams to learn even more.

"I don’t think we have ever rolled out a platform or new tech/system that’s been met with such high praise."

- Kate Knecht, Brand Director @ Tomlinson's Feed