The sun is setting over San José at the evening of the last day of MLearncon. Time to review 2,5 days of mLearning. It is my believe that the technical possibilities are not the limitation for mLearning anymore. Of course better, faster and cheaper would be nice. The technique is there, the users have the devices and there is enough bandwidth. But I don’t see the growth I expected. Therefore the question is, what is really holding back the broader implementation of mLearning and what can we do about it? This is the reason I focused this year on case studies, to see where the corporations and institutes are in their process of going mobile.
First a general observation. I found the atmosphere this year different from last year. Last year it was filled with expectation, a ‘it is going to happen’ atmosphere. This year it was much more ‘I know I need to do something with mobile, but I don’t know where or how to begin’.
I attended a whole bunch of case study sessions (I posted mind maps about the most of them) and I went to the DemoFest where 33 mLearning implementations where shown. Here are my observations.
First thing I noticed was that all the case studies I attended where done by large corporations or institutes (Microsoft, BlackBerrie, GE capital, Deloitte, Qualqomm, Sony, Federal reserve bank). It is possible that the Guild thinks it is sexier to present case studies from fortune 500 companies instead of SME’s but the conversations I had with other attendees suggest it is more than that. Smaller companies are not yet ready to take the mobile step.
The DemoFest had 33 contributors, 23 of them are vendors. Among the 10 non-vendors 5 large corporations, three universities, two independent studies; again no SME’s.
So what is holding them back? There are a whole bunch of practical reasons: complexity, unfamiliarity, unable to gather the resources, resistance of IT and legal departments, security, lack of insight and skills, current (version) of LMS doesn’t support it, lack of budget. You name it and it is a reason.
Another clear trend is that people are wondering what the best way is to use mLearning. Courses on tablets are OK, but not on smart phones. What to put on them, how to do it and what to do with TinCan???? (Tincan was almost invisible at this conference, very strange).
In fact people are suddenly placed outside their comfort zone and skill set, which makes them insecure. The most inspiring example (and keynote) for me this week was from Qualcomm, They are years ahead from the pack. But the pack doesn’t have their resources (knowledge, skills, culture and budget). But Tamar had a great advise, just begin and see what happens.
For me as a vendor this conference was a success. I gained a lot of insight. It is not about functionality or TinCan. It is not about fancy features: we just need to make it simple and secure. On top of that we need to make clear what you can do on a smart phone (learning nuggets, exam training, videos) and support that. But most of all we need to make it possible to create that content and publish it to a mobile app with just one mouse click at low costs. We need to enable the first mobile step. As CEO of easygenerator I know what to do (and how to do this); I intend to show the result at DevLearn in October. Therefore I can end with a true Californian one-liner: I’ll be back!
My previous posts about mLearnCon:
- MLearncon preview: looking for trends
- #Mlearncon: Resources
- #Mlearncon: Opening Keynote: Chris Pirie, 4 key trends
- #Mlearncon: MLearning at Blackberry: A global case study
- #mLearncon session report: GE capital case
- #MLearncon: session report: Deloitte case
- #Mlearncon keynote: Tamar Elkeles: a culture clash!
- #Mlearncon: Keynote: Mobile is the strategy
- #Mlearncon: session report: Mobile mistakes
- #MLearncon Session report: Sony Electronic goes mobile
- #mLearncon, session report: From instructor led training to the smart phone
- #mLearncon session report: mLearning a sprint or a marathon