#ATD2015: How The 23 Mobile Learning Vendors Are Like LEGO Building Blocks

Each Block Represents An Affordance of Mobile Technology

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These days, it is relatively easy to say you do “mobile learning.”

All that is required is that your content will display without too much trouble on a tablet.

Expo floor view

Source: ATD

But, it is still surprising to me that only 55 companies among the hundreds at the Association for Talent Development (ATD) conference in Orlando, May 17-20, checked off “mobile learning” as one of the product categories for their exhibit.

Even more startling is that over half of those who checked mobile learning as a product category hardly mention it at all on their website or in their promotional material.

In the early days of mobile learning, people used to boast about the smallness of their mobile device.

Now with phones, phablets, tablets and ultrathin laptops available, we are seeing an incredible diversity of mobile devices in terms of size and shape.

Many of them, especially those in healthcare, are purpose-built for specific tasks and don’t look anything like a mobile phone.

As well, we realize that mobile devices can include wearables such as clothing, watches, and rings, smart pills that you swallow, or embodied devices that are placed on your skin or in the interior of your body.

The fact is that mobile learning is not one thing, but many variations on a theme.

To see it as a single entity or process is like walking into the LEGO store in Downtown Disney in Orlando and only seeing boxes of red blocks for sale.

Lego color bricks

Source Wikimedia

In reality, mobile learning is like the incredible variety of creations in and around the LEGO Imagination Center, ranging from the Disney Princess to the Loch Ness Monster.

The building blocks of mobile learning are the “affordances” of this new technology, which allow creating new configurations of solutions in learning and development, each one different.

There are dozens to choose from, and they can be combined in new and interesting ways.

In analyzing this year’s crop of mobile offerings at the ATD Conference, I looked for those companies that not only used mobile devices in training but show examples of ingenuity in using the many unique new affordances of mobile in their offerings.

I found 23 companies among the exhibitors who showed interesting variations on mobile learning, and who went well beyond making their content available on a mobile device.

The following is an alphabetical listing of these 23 companies. They all offer different combinations of features that could be of interest to conference delegates.


Booth: 1041

Mobile capabilities:

  • Games and gamification
  • Cloud-based software
  • Interactivity
  • Multiple delivery formats
  • Just-in-time inventory management

Activica Apps

Booth: 912

Mobile capabilities:

  • Custom app development
  • Games and gamification


Booth: 1658

Mobile capabilities:

  • Digital publishing system
  • Geolocation integration
  • Physics engine
  • Games and gamification
  • Read-aloud the text


Booth: 1538

Mobile capabilities:

  • Mobile learning management system
  • Analytics
  • Presence sensing


Booth: 448

Mobile capabilities:

  • Mobile learning strategy
  • Custom app development
  • Games and gamification
  • Mobile sales enablement
  • Mobile market analysis
  • xAPI apps


Booth: 1032

Mobile capabilities:

  • Games and gamification
  • Custom app development
  • Simulations


Booth: 424

Mobile capabilities:

  • Online course development
  • Custom app development
  • Mobile sales enablement
  • 3D animation


Booth: 1055

Mobile capabilities:

  • Custom app development
  • Collaborative learning
  • Write notes on slides
  • Event apps

Matrix Achievement Group

Booth: 1549

Mobile capabilities:

  • Leaderboards
  • Push notifications
  • Remote performance coaching
  • Customizable scenarios
  • Video simulations

Mobile Agility

Booth: 421

Mobile capabilities:

  • Mobile sales platform
  • Scenario-based learning
  • Sales calls management
  • Event management

Mobile Coach

Booth: 1650

Mobile capabilities:

  • Personalized interactions
  • Text messaging coaching
  • Detailed reporting


Booth: 110

Mobile capabilities:

  • Event management
  • Web integration
  • Turnkey design


Booth: 341

Mobile capabilities:

  • LMS on a USB stick
  • Custom app development
  • Analytics


Booth: 1257

Mobile capabilities:

  • Interactive classes from mobile device
  • Interactive and live video

Origin Learning

Booth: 102

Mobile capabilities:

  • Online courses for mobile devices
  • Custom app development
  • Geolocation
  • Testing of mobile apps
  • Near field communications


Booth: 1259

Mobile capabilities:

  • Big data and analytics
  • Real-time dashboards
  • Performance benchmarks
  • Tagging system
  • Scenario-based game for sales reps


Booth: 1121

Mobile capabilities:

  • Configurable learning platform
  • Rapid development elements
  • Uses xAPI
  • Interactive video


Booth: 209

Mobile capabilities:

  • Games and gamification
  • Content development
  • 3D and Flash graphics
  • Simulations

Train by Cell

Booth: 1531

Mobile capabilities:

  • Mobile websites
  • Training with text messages
  • Performance support and tracking
  • Push polling and testing
  • Custom app development

TREK Learning Experience Manager

Booth: 1158

Mobile capabilities:

  • Uses xAPI to manage, track and report learning
  • Cloud-based software
  • Personalized learning paths
  • Badges

TripBuilder Media

Booth: 206

Mobile capabilities:

  • Event apps
  • Curated information
  • Advocacy apps


Booth: 109

Mobile capabilities:

  • Custom app development
  • Performance support
  • Content conversion
  • mBooks
  • Mobile videos


Booth: 127

Mobile capabilities:

  • Video-based sales training
  • Collaboration tools
  • Leaderboards
  • Social learning community

So, out of the hundreds of companies exhibiting at the ATD Conference, these are the 23 exhibitors with the most substance in mobile learning.

As you can see, they are all different regarding capabilities and products.

Visit them all, or check off those which best meet your requirements.

Of course, we would love to see you at the Float booth (#448), where we will be happy to discuss any aspect of mobile learning or the use of other digital technologies that support training.

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Gary Woodill is a senior analyst with Float, as well as CEO of i5 Research. Gary conducts research and market analyses, as well as assessments and forecasting for emerging technologies. Gary is the co-editor of "Mastering Mobile Learning," author of “The Mobile Learning Edge,” and the co-author of “Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds.” He also presents at conferences and is the author of numerous articles and research reports on emerging learning technologies. Gary holds a doctor of education degree from the University of Toronto.

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On May 11, 2015
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One Response to #ATD2015: How The 23 Mobile Learning Vendors Are Like LEGO Building Blocks

  1. Bala says:

    Hi Gary,

    Even if a bit late – us here at Indusgeeks are always glad for the mention! We’ll be at Focus on Learning this year as well and we look forward to showing people the power of mobile based learning.


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