4 Ways to Overcome Resistance to Mobile Learning

Don't Take No for an Answer

Mobile Apps, Mobile Strategy, Newsletter Comments (0)

Ready to implement mobile learning to your employees?

It’s exciting and maybe a little nerve-wracking. But, you know it’s the right move, and all systems are “go.” You have the approval to move forward from the stakeholders, you have identified content that would be effective for mobile, and you have the technical requirements figured out, mostly. That’s an excellent spot to be in.

With all those good signs, there may be one hurdle ahead that you didn’t see coming: What if your mobile learning effort runs into resistance from a portion of the target audience?

This opposition can arise for different reasons, but you need to consider it a possibility and prepare for it. If you use a sound Strategy – or Definition – Phase in your process, the roots of the opposition may be identified early on.

However, identifying a problem and responding to it are two different things. If you meet pushback, here are excellent and positive ways you can answer the challenge.

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1. Diffuse Any Misconceptions

First, you need to diffuse any misconceptions about mLearning that may be prevalent with your audience.

Mobile learning might cause “fear of the unknown” amongst your users, and they might require education and hand-holding before they sign on.

Use your regular enterprise communication channels to bring out the positive impact mobile learning will have. Hold an open house and show a prototype. Travel to different regions and evangelize the good points about the new learning platform.

Listen to your audience and learn what is causing the resistance. Respond with clear and concise answers. They will want to know “What’s in it for me?” and your response to that question may be the best weapon against any opposition.

2. Use Familiar Content

In your first implementation of mLearning, use content that is familiar and even popular with your learners.

You should know what that is. You have usage statistics and other metrics in your LMS, and analytics that are measuring your Web traffic. Or, you know a by word of mouth or your own experience the information that is more highly sought after.

Look at that content, and re-imagine it and re-purpose it for mobile. Let the audience know the information will be more accessible than it ever has before and that the specific areas of interest they have will be easier to find in the mobile app. Your good mobile user experience design and user interface design will make sure that this is true.

3. Model The Right Behavior

Do you have an employee that is a natural leader? Someone that the other employees look up to? Or, someone who is immediately likable and trustworthy?

If some learners are hesitant to adopt mobile learning, you can enlist and coach that employee leader to model the right behavior. It’s possible that some learners need to be shown how it works or what “good” looks like.

You can try a webinar or a video with the model employee and take away some fear, doubt or distrust of the new learning practice. Make sure you choose someone who is convinced of the new mLearning approach, so they appear genuine and enthusiastic.

4. Incentivize!

Is the resistance coming from your sales team? They can be very set in their ways especially if they are successful. Maybe the best way to get them to try your new mobile learning application is to incentivize the usage.

Their competitive spirit highly motivates sales reps, and you can leverage that.

Use a set of analytics on your first app that tracks cumulative time usage, page views, repeat visits–whatever you want to use as metrics to designate some “winners” of the mobile app user participation.

Attach a prize to the metrics so you have an incentive that most sales reps will find hard to turn down. Sure, you are “buying” their acceptance in this initial phase, but the goal is that once they use it, they will become more familiar and willing to use it again in the weeks and months to come.

Whenever you change your organization’s culture and work practices, you will meet opposition.

Change management is a big part of mobile learning implementation, and if you prepare to meet the resistance with creative and imaginative ideas, you have a good chance of winning these battles early.

Then, you can move forward on your goal–using mLearning to help your employees become better, more productive and well informed in their everyday lives.

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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 October 21, 2013

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