By Caleb Johnson, Director of Strategic Accounts, Expertus
Are you familiar with the expression, “cowboy up”? Those of us who live in the southwest consider it a call for bravery in the face of a tough challenge. It’s about digging deep and pushing past obstacles to get a difficult job done.
These days, learning organizations are facing some tough new challenges. As the economic recovery kicks in, corporate leaders are eager to improve business performance by sharpening workforce skills and competency. At the same time, innovative social, mobile and collaboration technologies are disrupting classic training methods at every turn. One-dimensional elearning courses are starting to gather dust, as learners raise the bar on what they expect from any digital experience.
LMS vendors can no longer afford to delay. It’s time to “cowboy up” — especially on the mobility front. Why? Take a look at today’s LMS landscape.
Beyond Mobile “App Wrappers”
Many learning management systems now offer at least some functionality for mobile users. The most basic approach is an “app wrapper” — essentially a web-based interface for LMS content. However, wrappers are incredibly frustrating to use. Reading and navigation require constant panning and scrolling, functionality is limited, and sometimes these LMS extensions don’t work on all mobile devices. The result? People don’t use them.
Recognizing the problem with wrappers, several vendors have chosen to “cowboy up” and develop responsive native mobile LMS apps. These downloadable apps are designed to:
- Operate on any kind of mobile device (smartphones and tablets)
- Leverage the unique capabilities of Android and Apple mobile platforms, and
- Resize windows, menus and content elements, so elements automatically fit any screen.
These native apps have sparked a dramatic increase in mobile learning adoption. Yet, nearly all LMS developers stopped there. Why?
LMS Pioneers: Channel Your Inner Cowboy and “Mobile Up”
Mobile technology, itself, is evolving at an incredibly rapid rate. While this creates steep challenges, it also opens the door to vast new business opportunities. So why aren’t more LMS vendors leveraging mobile innovation to push past existing boundaries? Is the task to difficult? Too much work? Maybe they want to see a return on their early mobile products before moving to the next level. Or perhaps they think the next level is unnecessary. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?)
Wrong! Now’s the time for LMS vendors to “mobile up,” and deliver functionality that users already depend upon elsewhere in business life. Soon, it won’t be an option — users will demand a learning experience that fits-in seamlessly with their on-the-go workflow.
Learner-centered design philosophy has always been a mandate at Expertus. That’s why we’re champions of “mobile first” development. We continuously monitor mobile advancements, and consider how they can enhance the learning experience, as well as related business functions.
This isn’t just a process of making a classic LMS interface visible in a mobile device. Instead, it’s about looking at what’s possible through a mobile user’s eyes, and re-imagining the learning experience. That’s why ExpertusONE Mobile capabilities reach beyond the limitations of other LMS platforms. Here are some examples:
4 Ways “Mobile Up” Design Makes a Difference
1) Uninterrupted Access
Convenience should be the biggest benefit of any mobile app — including an LMS. Learning content and activities should be fully available, anytime and anywhere. That’s why we provide on-the-go access (even when an internet connection isn’t available) through a feature known as online/offline sync. Our customers say it measurably increases learning program adoption and compliance, while improving productivity for participants, managers, instructors and administrators.
2) Classroom “Presence Sensing”
GPS tracking is another exciting breakthrough in mobile technology. We leveraged this in a feature that automatically detects a learner’s presence in the classroom. As a result:
– Instructors don’t need to document attendance manually
– Learners can easily connect and share information before/during/after training events
– Managers receive accurate, real-time updates about training activity and completions
You can imagine how this translates into time and cost savings for instructors, administrators and managers. It also encourages more interaction among participants, and extends learning beyond the classroom — resulting in improved learning transfer, retention and satisfaction. Again, this is something a typical LMS cannot do.
3) Real-Time Remote Reporting
Compliance is at the heart of many training programs — and reporting is a key to compliance. So why don’t more LMS vendors offer mobile reporting? ExpertusONE ensures that managers not only receive learning reports on-the-go, but also receive up-to-the-minute compliance data. Whenever managers see that an employee doesn’t meet compliance requirements, they can call the employee or send an email notice — directly from within the mobile environment. It’s a fast, easy solution that respects business workflows. And again, typical LMS platforms simply don’t work this way.
4) Mobile User Dashboards
Everyone who uses a learning management system has unique interests and goals. Whenever they log into their mobile LMS app, they should see information in a context that addresses their particular needs. That’s why we provide intelligent dashboards. Here’s what that means for training participants:
Home base is the “My Learning” page — a mobile friendly dashboard that displays personalized, need-to-know information, such as:
– Completed learning activities
– Required courses and appropriate development paths
– Status of in-progress training
– Links to relevant subject matter experts and discussion boards
– Profiles of training peers
– Updates from gamification challenges
– Recommended additional courses, with rankings and reviews
Instant access to this kind of self-service environment means training participants can easily understand their learning experience within a broader developmental context. They also have tools and resources to move forward anytime — whether they’re in a cubicle at work, an airport terminal, or on the road. And with more time available to focus directly on learning activities, LMS users can build their knowledge, skills and competence more quickly.
Claiming Your Mobile LMS Space
Today’s workplace is a lot like the wild west. The path isn’t always easy or certain, but the promise of enterprise mobility is already being realized by leaders with the courage to innovate. LMS pioneers are pushing new limits to bring mobile learning in-step with the future of work. And learning organizations now realize they can no longer afford to delay. In the long run, business performance and sustainability are at stake. The defining question is this — who is ready, willing and able to “mobile up”?
Note from Caleb: To see how a mobile-first LMS platform like ExpertusONE Mobile can transform learning for your extended enterprise, learn more at our website, watch the on-demand ExpertusONE Mobile mini demo now, or contact us anytime to schedule a personalized demo.
Image Credit: LDWest