Three Takeaways from mLearnCon 2013

Fourth mLearnCon Event Suggests Gains in Mobile Learning Adoption

Conferences, Industry News Comments (2)

If you attended mLearnCon, you know that the eLearning Guild does a great job of staging the event, and that the Guild is well ahead of other learning professional associations in recognizing mobile learning as a substantive and transformative way of learning. We have attended every mLearnCon since the inaugural conference in 2010, and we’re happy to have seen the progress the Guild has made.

I interacted with a lot of people during the three-day event, both at the Float booth and during my presentation, and there were definitely some recurring themes that emerged during the conversations. These are three of those themes that I noticed, and I would like to hear your impressions, too.

More enterprises and organizations are trying mobile learning. Back in 2010, it was hard to find anyone who had made an attempt at reaching their learners on the mobile platform. There was enthusiasm and interest, but little action.

Now, we are talking to many who have tried, and they are ready and willing to share their lessons learned both good and bad. This is such an encouragement to witness the growth firsthand of mobile learning. It shoud be an encouragement to you, as well, that you are capable and that your audiences are ready! This was a very positive observation.

On the somewhat negative side, one very pervasive theme was that there is a strong desire to discover the path of least resistance in mobile learning implementation. We have become so accustomed to “rapid development” software that we want to see the same thing in mLearning development. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of vendor promises that are helping fuel this desire.

I am not going to argue about whether that solution is out there or not (it’s not). What I do hope is that anyone on the cusp of developing mLearning would not be satisfied with a quick-fix solution.

Think expansively. How can you use the aspects of the platform that are uniquely mobile? How can you make the most of the maxim, “just in time, just enough, just for me?” Development without design is counterproductive to your goals.

Because learning professionals have such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reach their audiences in a new and powerful way, why not make the most of it?

The third outstanding theme was that the Experience API (xAPI) is being adopted or considered by many in the mobile learning industry.

More and more LMS providers are saying their products are compliant with the spec also known as the Tin Can API, and the number of questions to the Float team about the xAPI were numerous, and often detailed and technical.

This means that a growing number of learning professionals are seeing the potential and promise of the Experience API and how it will benefit their organizations in new and powerful ways. There is unprecedented opportunity to record learner experiences and the xAPI can lead the way.

As you may know, Float is a charter adopter of the Experience API, having written extensively about it over the past year or so. In fact, Float built Tappestry using the xAPI, which was the first publicly available app in the App Store using the specification. Tappestry was voted Best of Show at this year’s DemoFest.

If you look at attendance of the four mLearnCon conferences, it has gone up every year. That upward trend is most likely not going to stop.

Hopefully, we can stop calling it a “nascent” industry and agree that mobile is changing the way we think about how our audiences learn in 2013.

If you are standing on the sidelines or still holding out for that path of least resistance, change your perspective now. You can impact your learners in ways you never had available before. The opportunities are endless.

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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.

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On July 3, 2013
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2 Responses to Three Takeaways from mLearnCon 2013

  1. Katie Fraser says:

    Great points made Scott! One thing that I have heard about mLearnCon as well was that xAPI is becoming more understood by professionals. There has been a shift in recent years from “What is xAPI?” to “Where can I get xAPI?” Can only imagine how big xAPI will be next year!

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