Making the Shift to Mobile Performance Support at #mLearnCon

Conference to Include an Additional Focus on Performance Support with Multiple Speakers

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For several years, Float has advocated mobile learning primarily as performance support, as opposed to using mobile technologies simply for the presentation of eLearning materials.

Our mantra has been “just-in-time, just-enough, and just-for-me.” While the other uses of mobile devices for learning are certainly possible, we think that performance support in a multi-channel world has become a major use case for mobile learning.


Source: Elearning Industry

People who argue that mobile learning is not performance support seem to think that learning mostly happens as a result of instruction or study, and not something that usually happens on the job in a specific “moment of need.”

Mobile learning as a form of performance support can be traced back to publications from the early 2000s. Diane Gayeski’s “Learning Unplugged: Using Mobile Technologies for Organizational Training and Performance Improvement” is one of these publications.

However, we tend to look at the future “through a rear-view mirror,” as Marshall McLuhan suggested in the 1960s. The learning and development industry has clung to the presentation-and course-based approach to mobile learning and, for the most part, has not embraced it as performance support.

In  “The Mobile Academy,” Clark Quinn states that “the core of meaningful practice is application.” (Pfieffer, 2012) He goes on to say, “the only summative assessment to care about is whether learners can ultimately perform to the desired level” (p. 63-64). This means that in the world of enterprise learning, any approach or system that supports performance is generally a good thing.

If you agree with this view, then mLearnCon – co-located with the Performance Support Symposium – is an ideal place to investigate mobile learning as performance support.

Source: eLearningGuild

Source: eLearning Guild

There are a number of ways that performance support can be delivered using mobile devices, including:

  • Mobile job aids
  • Mobile formative assessments with immediate feedback for performance improvement
  • Mobile performance management tools
  • Multi-channel responsive interface design that allows many devices to deliver information
  • Intelligent and personalized information delivery methods
  • Easy-to-use social support networks with peers and mentors
  • Mobile-ready knowledge portals
  • Alerts and notifications based on context, including location
  • Ambient platforms for knowledge delivery, including wearables

After reviewing the sessions at the conference, I determined that the following sessions have the most promise for learning about mobile performance support at mLearnCon 2015.


The Obsolete Know-it-all

Ken Jennings, All-time Jeopardy! Champion and Author

Wednesday, June 10, 8:30 a.m.

The reason Ken Jennings (and you and me) are obsolete as “know-it-alls” is that there is simply way too much information in any given field for a person to memorize and recall. We need to shift to learning how to find and deliver information where and when we need it.


Learning in the Networked-community Age

Allison Cerra, Technology and Marketing Expert

Thursday, June 11, 8:30 a.m

Mobile connectivity has given us a new ability to form communities of practice for support and learning. This has to have a disruptive impact on the workplace, especially as classroom experts are replaced by both peers, global knowledge banks, and artificial intelligence platforms for personalized knowledge delivery.



P10: Creating User Interface and User Experience for Mobile Apps and Websites

Chad Udell, Float

Tuesday, June 9, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Aimed at both novice and advanced developers, this pre-conference session will feature Float managing director Chad Udell speaking about the fundamentals of UI and UX design. Chad will use case studies, design patterns, and examples from his own experience to show how you can obtain effective mLearning. This is a session that can’t be missed.


P13: Readying Your Organization for Performance Support

Bob Mosher & Conrad Gottfredson, APPLY Synergies

Tuesday, June 9, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This pre-conference session is a must for those who are serious about mobile performance support, especially if this is a new concept for you. Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson are the thought leaders on this topic, well known for their “Five Moments of Need” when using performance support is appropriate.


P14: B.Y.O.L.: Developing Micro-performance Support Solutions

Carol Stroud, Saxon Bay Consulting and Molly Petroff, Saint Vincent Hospital

Tuesday, June 9, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This is the other pre-conference workshop on performance support at mLearnCon. If you already know the gist of what Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson are doing in their workshop, then this session is a good second choice. Carol and Molly will be taking participants through a development process for micro-performance support solutions, so bring your laptop.


Concurrent Session 208: Getting the Most Out of User Experience in Mobile Learning

Scott McCormick, Director of Client Relations, Float Mobile Learning

Wednesday, June 10, 1-2:30 p.m.

Mobile learning use cases are becoming more common. However, how can one learn to avoid instances of a bad UX? Scott McCormick will talk about how to explore some practices that will solve and avoid this problem. This will include examples of learner context, usability, accessibility, and even mobile device affordances.


Concurrent Session 302: The Incredible Power of Mobile Performance Support

Paul Clothier, Independent mLearning Specialist, TapLearn

Wednesday, June 10, 2:30 p.m.

Performance support using mobile devices has incredible potential, but few companies are exploiting this opportunity. Understanding the possibilities of mobile performance support (mPS) is essential for any organization to stay ahead of the game. Paul Clothier reveals the reasons that performance support is so powerful.


Concurrent Session 403: The Role of Mobile Performance Support in the Learning and Performance Ecosystem

Marc Rosenberg, President, Marc Rosenberg and Associates

Wednesday, June 10, 4:00 p.m.

Today, the concept of mobile is not reserved for a specific technology or for a select group of people. Mobility is now the norm for our work and our lives. In our business, mobile is much more than training on the go. But what role does mobile performance support play in the overall picture? Find out from eLearning expert Marc Rosenberg.


Concurrent Session 506: A Reference Model for mLearning Design and Mobile Performance Support

Jason Haag, Research Analyst, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)

Thursday , June 11, 10:45 a.m.

In the Mobile Training Implementation Framework (MoTIF) research project, ADL collected data and feedback from many mLearning and performance support experts. One of the tools developed as part of this effort is a new reference model for mLearning design that take performance support into account.


Concurrent Session 608: Examples of Mobile Learning, Training, and Performance Support in Government

Marcus Birtwhistle, Mobile Learning Consultant, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)

Thursday, June 11, 1:00 p.m.

Case studies are important for advancing new ideas like mobile performance support. In this session, Marcus Birtwhistle from the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative will provide an overview of various mLearning projects and their open-source products that use performance support approaches.


Concurrent Session 610: Combining Curiosity, Creativity, and the World of Learning & Performance Support

Conrad Gottfredson, Chief Learning Strategist, APPLY Synergies

Oliver Kern, Head of SkillCamp, Bayer CropScience

Thursday, June 11, 1:00 p.m.

It isn’t enough to build performance support solutions that are instructionally and technologically sound. Motivation and engagement are essential to ensure actual organizational impact. Engagement and creativity can be engineered and trained. They can also be incorporated into the actual design of learning and performance solutions. Learn how in this session.


Concurrent Session 708: Turning Common Knowledge into Common Practice Using Performance Support

John Boring, President and CEO, Accelerate Mobile Apps

Thursday, June 11, 2:30 p.m.

Trainers have all seen the “light come on” when participants really get a point from the training. The trainers wonder if they’ll remember it in a few days or weeks when they encounter a need for that knowledge. Over the years, trainers have all built job aids, tools, and refreshers, and provided follow-up coaching in person, online, and on the phone with varying degrees of success. Apps and mobile phones offer a new way for the participant to keep the knowledge close at hand.


Concurrent Session 906: Driving On-the-job Performance with Mobile Learning

Michael Nemeth, Senior Training and Development Specialist, Raytheon

Friday, June 12, 8:30 a.m.

In this session you will explore a case study of how Raytheon worked with its client to design an electronic performance support system (EPSS) solution to address the client’s needs via a mobile learning strategy. You will learn how the adoption of both mobile and EPSS solutions has enabled its client to put the right level of information and learning in the hands of the learner/worker at the point of use. You will discover how this solution has enabled the use of hard data results to drive improvements to overall business performance and to transition to a more business-centric focused learning model.


New Directions Stage:

Finding Mobile Performance Support Opportunities in Your Organization

Paul Clothier

Wednesday, June 10, 1:00-1:45 p.m.


Using Location Services to Personalize Performance Support

Greg Gardner, Director of Business Development, Sify Technologies

Wednesday, June 10, 2:00-2:45 p.m.


New Possibilities Stage:

Using Mobile to Make On-the-job Learning and Coaching Practical

Marty Rosenheck, CEO and Chief Learning Strategist, Cognitive Advisors

Wednesday, June 10, 12:00-2:45 p.m.


Transform Your Workplace Learning into Performance through Learner Mobile

Lana Petru, Sr. Vice President of Learning and Performance, Center for Performance Learning

Mike Thompson, CEO, SVI

Wednesday, June 11, 2:00-2:45 p.m.


Float develops mobile performance support solutions for a variety of enterprise-level clients. Get inspired by one or more of the sessions listed above, then come see us at booth 407 to discuss your mobile performance support needs.

After the conference, look right here on Float’s blog for my review of the exhibitors and the degree to which they offer performance support solutions.

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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 June 2, 2015
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