By Joy Church Millard, Sr. Editor, Expertus
Give learners, managers and instructors a premium mLearning experience with these future-now features
The eternal battle in learning is to make training more convenient…accessible. Enter the LMS mobile app.
In the rush to deliver learning on-the-go, many “apps” started out as simple web-browsing tools. Then, because they were a pain to use…pan, zoom, swipe down, repeat…they began to adopt a mobile-first design. And while this was a huge improvement, that’s where most LMS mobile apps have stayed, for years.
Of course, mobile technology, and LMS tech for that matter, have continued to evolve. So, isn’t it time to move beyond the basic LMS mobile app?
Following a few “future-now” features that marry the best of LMS functionality with the latest advancements in mobile technology to thoroughly delight your m-savvy learners, managers and instructors.
One-click Learning─The Contextualized Dashboard
A mobile app breakthrough that bridges all users (learners, managers and instructors), is a contextualized dashboard view. This is typically the first screen users see, and it presents all of the pertinent metrics and action items related to their roles. For learners, this could be how many certifications they have in queue, new learning announcements, their training plan progress, eCommerce activity, etc.
In ExpertusONE Mobile, all dashboard items are fully interactive, with one-click access to the related metrics. The dashboard page also dynamically refreshes after every interaction, so users always get the most up-to-date, real-time information.
For example, a learner opens the app and sees they have two announcements, then clicks the icon to read them. Automatically, the dashboard screen refreshes the announcements tally from two to zero. This is the same workflow that people are accustom to on their phones. They power on, see the number of texts or emails they have, and that tally is redefined as they view them.
This is a small, but important, detail that makes the mLearning experience mirror people’s daily habits—which makes training more palatable.
Note: If your LMS is profile-driven, your LMS mobile app should be too. It should contextualize the learning experience per each user’s profile specifications, like language, job role and access level…and it should allow users to change their profiles via the app.
Ideally, the app should be designed so that users never have a reason to use their desktop again. They can do everything from their preferred (beloved!) mobile device:
- Register for courses
- Launch videos
- Check certifications
- Interact with peers or teams
- Run analytics
- Mark attendance, and more
How’s that for convenience!
Four Advancements for Learners
Let’s now focus on specific advancements in mobile learning per user group. Starting with learners, here are four features that elevate their mLearning experience.
1. Video Tracking & Bookmarking─As in their personal lives, learners want to watch training, not read it. They also want to watch it in short bursts. So, your mobile app must support videos (MP4, YouTube, etc.). And it must have video tracking and bookmarking. No one wants to scroll through a video to find out where they left off. They’ll never finish the training! And you don’t want to miss out on the valuable training analytics video tracking provides: what learners watched, for how long, common areas they stopped watching, etc.
2. On/offline Content Sync─Surprisingly, many mobile LMS apps still don’t have on/off sync. Is it really mobile learning then? Take down this barrier to your training’s convenience by enabling learners to download training content, consume it offline and auto-sync progress back to the LMS once they regain connectivity.
3. One-click eCommerce─Did you know learners can now buy classes through Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay or whatever software that’s on their device that’s connected to their credit cards? Some LMS mobile apps support this fast, easy, one-click payment. And it’s another feature that mimics how people shop outside of work, which leads to a happier, more familiar mLearning experience.
4. Visible Notifications─On most mobile devices, when you have a missed call, text or calendar appointment, the notification shows up on your home screen, with a sound, alert or however you’ve configured your device to display it. LMS notifications can be displayed here too. So, they’re more likely to be seen and followed. And they provide seamless, instant access to training. A win-win.
Breakthroughs for Managers
With the growing desire to learn on-the-go, managers face a new problem of ensuring their reports don’t raise training expenses due to overtime or training in lieu of other job-related activities. Geofencing is an emerging technology that can solve this challenge. Using a mobile device’s GPS, managers can set a virtual geographic boundary (aka a “fence”) as to when, what days and hours, or where, onsite or in specified remote locations, that their reports can learn.
Manager-specific mobile dashboards can present key team metrics at-a-glance. They simply click on an employee to see their enrollments, click on a group to see their overall compliance or even select two employees (such as one who is doing great and another who is falling behind) to compare their training activity. The end result is a highly intuitive mLearning experience that streamlines manager workflows.
Going further, some LMS mobile apps leverage the inherent capabilities of a mobile device by letting managers use voice commands to compare employees and check training progress, instead of manually running reports. They can also verbally assign new training to reports, and even take immediate action for non-compliant learners by calling, texting or emailing them on the spot (aka “actionable analytics”).
Save your managers, and their reports, a lot of time and frustration by building training override into your mobile LMS app. If someone already has knowledge or experience comparable to a required training, their manager can just click the override box from their mobile device, and s/he can immediately move onto more productive training courses.
Breakthroughs like these help managers do their jobs in a faster, easier manner. They’ll be more productive, and so will their teams.
How About Instructor Functionality?
Sure, a basic LMS mobile app can support most of an instructor’s traditional desktop activities, such as teaching vILT classes, taking role, marking grades, etc. But a more advanced app will leverage mobile technology to modernize, speed and simplify these activities.
A good example is using a mobile device’s GPS location. If a learner is registered for a class and has the mobile app up on their phone, when they arrive at the class’ location, they are automatically marked present—saving both the learner and instructor time. Instructors can also use these apps to push dynamic surveys, quizzes or assessments on-the-fly. Which makes their classes more meaningful and engaging, and cuts down on time-consuming paperwork.
Give Users What They Want
Whether your workforce consists of millennials, baby boomers or other groups in between, there’s a good chance they spend a large chunk of their personal time on their mobile devices. So, if you want to capture and keep their attention, now’s the time to move beyond a basic LMS mobile app. Hopefully this blog gives you a good starting point of what to look for!
Do you have other mLearning tips to improve the user experience? Join our conversation below.