M-Learning: A New Face Of Learning

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 3798 , Published on 04 September 2012

The sphere of work and organization is changing! Now learning is no more just about knowing and not knowing. It is incomplete without ‘action’ – implementing the knowledge gained over a period of time.

It is vital to ensure that learning keeps pace, such that what is learnt does not become obsolete by the time it can be put into action. Learning can broadly be classified as follows:

Source: www.marciaconner.com

Formal learning is structured and organized, and includes school-like programs developed in business environment for technical, vocational and professional trainings. Intentional learning is when an individual intends to learn something on his own and identifies ways of achieving that objective. Accidental learning may occur anytime and in any activity, where an individual happens to learn something unexpected. Informal learning ensues from processes which are not organized or structured.

Post recession, several organizations have decided to cut down on the budget allocated for learning and development. In other organizations, the senior management expects more ROI from the trainings. Hence, it is all the more inevitable that the focus on informal learning has increased. There has also been a gradual increase in awareness about using technology for informal learning and the inter-relationship between employee performance and informal learning. In this article, we intend to focus upon M-learning (Mobile Learning), which is a form of informal learning.


M – Learning is learning on the move, from various hand devices. As defined by eLearning Guild, Mobile Learning is any activity that allows individuals to be more productive when consuming, interacting with, or creating information, mediated through a compact digital portable device that the individual carries on a regular basis, has reliable connectivity, and fits in a pocket or purse. It enables the organizations to facilitate ‘just-in-time’, ‘just expected’ and ‘just-for-me’ support and guidance to the learners without any constraints of remote locations.

It helps to fetch information, fun and learning activities and other contents to flexible, transportable and portable devices like mobile phones, net-books, digital cameras, e-readers, smart phones, iPads, tablets, etc. Though it is similar to internet learning or e-learning and distance learning in certain aspects, it is distinctive in its approach towards learning across contexts using mobile devices.

How it works?

Smart phones can be used to send quizzes to learners to evaluate and gauge their performance. Document digests, short audios and videos can be sent to the learners on their smart phones. The employees can also have mobile communities according to their learning needs where they can share their ideas and learn from others.

Blogs, wikis containing latest developments in the company, in the industry helps keep the employees aware of the latest developments and learn about them. A formal Mobile Learning Management System can be established by the organization which will handle all the technological requirements and the content of the Learning system. It will also supply the users with Help Manuals on their mobile device.

Who uses it?

The great thing about m-learning is, it can be used for learning by the employees at any level of an organization. It facilitates learning on the go and employees can utilize it in their time of convenience. This mode of learning is preferred by the new breed of tech-savvy employees. Learning through micro blogging, watching videos on the mobile, etc instantly attracts them and are easily adopted by them. Companies like Microsoft, Deloitte have already started using this technology for training.


  1. Organizations can use this to update the employees about latest happenings in the industry and within the organization.
  2. It can be used anywhere, anytime, according to the convenience of the learner.
  3. Employees can share their learning on collaborative platforms like mobile social networking.
  4. Mobile devices can not only be used for imparting training but can also be used for giving feedback and testing knowledge.
  5. Once the infrastructure of the m-learning is established, the training cost per person will decrease dramatically in the long run.


  1. Not all employees will have smart phones supporting and having storage space for all the softwares needed for m-learning.
  2. Technologies get obsolete very quickly so the organization has the responsibility to continuously upgrade the mobile phones, which might increase the cost of training.
  3. There might be connectivity problem in some places.
  4. The small screens of mobile phones make them inconvenient for reading big documents; processing time is also low for lower priced smart phones.
  5. There are also security issues. The mobile is more susceptible to virus attacks and copying of shared content by hackers.

Future ahead

In India the mobile subscriber base is 811 million and is projected to cross 1 billion in 2014. Mobile broadband is expected to cross 100 million 3G subscribers by 2015. Also, according to the ASTD/i4cp study, 57% organizations will design training programs accessible on mobile devices in the next 3 years and 47% will utilize Smartphone apps for learning. With such bright prospects and the increase in use of technology in our day to day life, there are several opportunities still unexplored in this field with regards to training.

The use of m-learning in the organizations is still in its nascent stage. Only few organizations have tried this and there also, it is not formally included in the training process. M-learning can be seen as an enhancement and a complementary tool to the current learning techniques.

This article has been authored by Jeet Kumar from FMS.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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