Last week I attended an Association for Talent Development (ATD) Mobile Learning certificate program. In the past, I’ve also gone to the eLearning Guild’s mLearnCon event, where I learned that what we typically call “mobile learning” can take many forms. By definition (at least the definition that ATD uses) mobile learning is “the use of mobile technology to aid in the learning, reference, or exploration of information useful to an individual at that moment or in a specific use context.” To me, that’s a bit of a mouthful – but I think the idea is that mobile learning can really be different things.
The instructor in my recent certificate program took this idea a step further and suggested that we actually do mobile learning a disservice when we don’t distinguish between two distinctly different types of mobile learning: training and performance support.
Here’s how ATD defines the difference:
- Training is formal instruction that enables you to learn something that you do not already know.
- Performance support is informal learning that supports you in using existing skills or knowledge.
Using these definitions as a framework, most mobile learning would fall into one of these two categories. For example, short instructional videos that actually teach new skills would be an example of mobile training. While a mobile app that allows you to look up a product code while on the job would be an example of mobile performance support.
According to a recent ATD whitepaper, only about one third of companies are currently delivering any kind of learning to mobile devices – and of those who are, about 80 percent are primarily focusing on performance support. That means that mobile training implementations are still few and far between at this point.
Where does your organization fit in this picture? And what opportunities do you see for adding mobile performance support – and mobile training – to your overall learning mix?