What is mLearning? The Future is Pocket-Sized!

what-is-mlearningWhat is mLearning? Well, we’re living in an age when information is more accessible than it’s ever been. In the past, if you wanted to find something out, you needed to go to the library, browse the stalls and risk troublesome papercuts.

Things got a lot safer with the dawn of the internet, bringing everything you could ever want to know to your nearest desktop computer. Before we could even congratulate ourselves for such impressive advances, along came mobile devices and super-fast network data!

Now that we have all of this power, literally at our fingertips, we almost don’t know what to do with it. This fact is pretty evident when you look at the L&D world. Hard as it might be to believe, some learning initiatives still rely solely on face-to-face training! It’s as if they’ve never even heard of mLearning!

mLearning: Everything You Need to Know

mLearning – Learning on the go

The term ‘electronic learning’ was abbreviated to ‘eLearning’ to make it a bit sexier. In much the same way, ‘mLearning’ is the more attractive term for ‘mobile learning’. As you might have guessed, mLearning describes learning content that’s delivered on a mobile device.

Like many of these new-fangled terms, mLearning can be very much open to interpretation. If you want to define it very broadly, you could consider browsing Wikipedia on your phone as a form of mLearning. Technically, even calling your mum to find the recipe for Chicken Maryland could be considered mLearning.

mLearning in L&D

If you want to make use of mLearning in a training programme, you’ll need to rein in your definition a little bit. The easiest way to understand it is in terms of what you can do with it. Let’s briefly look at a couple of applications:

Computer-Based TrainingResponsive LMSs/eLearning

Have you ever opened a website on your mobile and found that you had to pinch, zoom and pan around just to be able to read it?

Thankfully this UX nightmare is becoming rarer as websites become more responsive. This means that the interface will scale to whichever device it’s viewed on.

If an LMS or an eLearning unit is responsive, it will behave in the same way, making it possible to view it on a mobile device.


This type of learning content is designed to be accessed and consumed in short bursts. Content that’s heavily quiz-based would fall into this category and in many ways, it’s the perfect approach to a mobile learning solution.

A lot of the time, people use their mobiles when they have a few minutes to spare. Micro Learning lets them dip in and out of the content without worrying about making a huge time commitment.

responsive mobile learning platformLearning Games

Games are among the most popular apps in use today. They’re a great way to kill a few minutes and often their addictive nature means they can be played for hours on end.

They’re not just pointless timewasters though – the mechanics that support gameplay can actually enhance the learning experience, improve retention and encourage repeat visits.

The field of game-based learning is serious business and many learning game developers are focussing on creating content specifically for mobile devices.

Capturing Informal Learning

Informal learning is the unscripted learning that happens outside of the official training programme and it’s thought to comprise 90% of everything we learn. Many training departments now look for ways to exploit the potential of informal learning and use it to capture organisational knowledge.

Since almost everyone has a camera on their phone, there are lots of ways for learners to share their own experiences and upload them to the company’s LMS. The role of the L&D department, in this case, is to create the right environment and start the conversations that can generate Informal Learning content.

As you can see, the realm of mLearning unlocks a bright new universe of training opportunities. Want to learn about mLearning? Download our Game of Phones whitepaper and learn everything you need to know about mobile training! Grab your copy here. 


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