Take a quick look at various apps that you have on your smartphone. What do you love the most about each of them? Quick and easy access? Personalized experience? Last minute help? Friendly interface? Well, I just like all of these things about my Fitbit app. I have my chosen list of shopping apps that lift my mood with instant shopping tours! My banking app gives me a clear picture of my investments and spends.
How about bringing the same ease and comfort to our learning experiences? Great idea, right? Let’s try to figure out answers to the most common questions related to Learning Apps.
- How Learning Apps differ from other mobile apps?
- What is it that Learning Apps do differently than eLearning?
- Do we need mLearning or a Learning Apps?
- Why should L&D invest in an app as a part of learning strategy?
- What content might lend well to Learning Apps?
The mobile apps that we use are intended to accomplish specific tasks. These tasks are usually transactional, and apps add a layer of virtual ease for users. Most mobile apps are standalone applications complete in themselves.
Learning apps, on the contrary, are meant for targeted education, focused behavioral change, and enhancement of skills. Learning apps are developed specifically for all such training purposes and tie-in closely with well-defined learning objectives. A Learning app, most likely, is one of the components within a structured learning program. You will typically subscribe to a learning app for yourself or be asked by your employer to be a part of learning programs by installing a learning app.
Catching up on the latest trends, the training methods of organizations have transformed. L&D teams have broadened their choices of learning mediums. Traditional ILTs, WBTs, and Videos are slowly taking a back seat. Learning apps are very much in demand as they appeal better to the new generation. Today, mobile learning and microlearning are the buzz words. Lengthy classroom sessions and hour-long WBTs no more suit the needs of modern learners. The training has to be pushed in digestible, shorter chunks to suit the needs of millennial audience who also want information to be on their finger-tips.
With their reduced attention span, today’s learners,
• Want to learn quickly
• Just don’t want to acquire a whole lot of Gyan but are more interested in acquiring skills for immediate
• Like to challenge themselves
• Don’t want to be restricted to their laptops and to their work stations for the learning to happen
• Are on their toes all the time and prefer training that they can take offline
Traditional eLearning lacks features that will address these needs of modern learners whereas Learning apps adapt to all most of these.
A Learning App allows you to learn on the go, anytime, anywhere! It provides,
• Just-in-time learning
• Personalized experience
• Higher engagement level
• Real-time connectivity
• Quick evaluation
and acts as Refreshers when required!
As per the 70:20:10 model, the eLearning facilitates only 10% of overall learning. Apart from the 10% formal learning, the remaining 20%, and 70% can be achieved only through self-motivated learning efforts. Learning apps do have that capability to address the need for that experiential and social learning. Embedding features such as collaborative learning activities, chatbots, dashboards, levels of challenges do provide such opportunities for learners.
The training requirement needs to be analyzed closely for the actual performance or knowledge gaps, critical success factors, business and learner needs. After such analysis, you may realize that sometimes, the training content just needs to be transformed into a mobile compatible eLearning format and that serves the purpose of providing a digestible learning nugget. At times, learners just need a just-in-time job-aid, when providing a mobile-compatible infographic or an i-PDF serves the purpose. In case your learners need a quick refresher, a well-formulated adaptive and responsive quiz will be of immense help.
In short, learning app is not always the best solution. However, it is one of the most influential solutions to address the experiential learning experience.
As a part of Training Needs Analysis L&D teams perform a detailed study of learners and their training aspirations. Depending on the learners’ level of prior knowledge, the performance gaps, and the point of learning within the learning framework, learning apps can be of help either to reinforce, or to refresh, or to assist them on the job. For example, new hire onboarding training or sales training demand face-to-face connect which is required for learners to be able to interact with the trainer. In such cases, Learning apps can be used to follow up on the assigned learning activities or to provide training boosters to help learners resolve on-the-job challenges. Training such as compliance training can be made fun through gamified activities or story-based videos delivered through a learning app.
In short, learning apps can act as stand-alone learning solution or a supplementary component within a learning framework. L&D teams can leverage them as per their requirement.
Do all types of training content fit into learning app structure? Can we develop apps for all learning needs? The answer is ‘No!’ A thorough training needs analysis is the only way to find an answer to this question. However, let’s consider a case here to understand the possibilities.
A client wants to launch a blended program that includes mobile app. The objective of this blended program is to groom managerial skills and to nurture the multicultural and growing team around the globe.
They require a learning platform that would provide customized development guidance to their Senior Managers enabling them to build the desired managerial skills.
As the target audience comprises senior managers, the learning solution has to be self- driven, completely self-governed, and something that could be implemented without disrupting the daily work of the busy managers.
Learning App Solution:
The above requirement and challenges demand a learning app that,
- Drives the development process for each manager based on development areas identified through mentoring discussions
- Asks diagnostic questions to recommend competencies that require more focus
- Classifies Resources and Tasks per Learning Styles to cater to all types of learners
- Shows intuitive user prompts and timely app notifications to engage users, to promote intrinsic motivation, and to provide enhanced user experience
- Schedules resources and sets milestones to track development plan
- Makes Journal entries to note experiences and takeaways
- Accesses Dashboard to track overall learning development at any point
So, with the popularity of learning apps, will eLearning and ILT be obsolete? Will learners stop using LMS training and will they vanish from the classrooms? The answer is ‘No’! All these forms of training will still be there within learning framework. Sometimes they might be given a modern makeover. At times, Learning apps will supplement these training forms.