Serving Up Mobile

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Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) recently ran an article on their website about how restaurants are increasingly using iPads in their point-of-sale (POS) systems. Although the article mostly focuses on POS integration, there are some interesting lessons to be learned in their experiences that can be applied to mobile learning.

The first important lesson has to do with the hardware. Many of the restaurants are reporting that they are high on the iPads because of their “sleek and glossy appearance,” and that, “the tablets don’t have fans, eliminating the most likely entry point for grease or dirt, their data storage components are solid state, with no moving parts, and their battery life between charges can run five to 10 hours.” As you think about the work environment in which your learners will use mobile devices, consider these qualities about the hardware ahead of implementation.  It is most likely that the environment might be much more harsh than the controlled environment they were in for eLearning at the desktop. But, the mobile learning devices can be tough enough to “handle the heat” of the kitchen or the shop floor or the delivery truck.

Another vital lesson from the restaurant experiences comes from the immediate availability of information that the staff needs to do their jobs. Now when one of the wait staff is discussing an order with a customer, everything they need to know is at their fingertips saving them trips back to the kitchen or the bar. The result? “Easy access to such information cuts down on confusion and has boosted the confidence of the staff,” says one owner. Boosted confidence can result from effective mobile learning you haven’t predicted. Consider the confidence you might build in your audience if they have job support information exactly when and where they need it. That’s a big score!

The NRN article has a full course meal of other lessons to digest. Look and see how restaurants are using iPads to get better, faster and even more confident. Check, please!

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Scott McCormick is a founding partner of Float. Building on more than 30 years of experience in training, eLearning, and mLearning efforts for Fortune 500 companies, Scott helps companies embrace new learning strategies and deliver results. Scott is in charge of client relationships with global leaders in healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, and insurance, and is instrumental in building new business and contributing to Float’s thought leadership efforts. Scott is featured in Float’s latest book, “Mastering Mobile Learning,” available from Wiley and ASTD Press.

» Mobile Strategy » Serving Up Mobile
On December 27, 2010
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