How to differentiate clearly between mobile learning, micro learning and rapid learning?
Which learning needs does mobile learninganswer?

Nowadays, living without a mobile ‘phone is almost impossible. Everyone has one and uses it assiduously. Some would even say that it is difficult to part with it.
From private use, its variety of increasingly sophisticated functions have prompted companies to integrate it into the very framework of their development
Training departments must now take account of its use, rising from 21% of organisations planning to make it part of their Learning strategy to as many as 40% in 2018
Nevertheless, it is essential to choose how to incorporate mobile ‘phones into a corporate strategy.
Here is help in sorting through perceived ideas of Mobile, Micro and Rapid Learning.

Mobile/Micro/Rapid Learning - is it the same thing?

Although these notions can seem similar at first glance, they however group miscellaneous applications and have significant differences.
Micro or Rapid Learning involves making information available as short vignettes of about 3 to 10 minutes comprising clear, concise contents.
The aim? Act as training on a set topic, encourage anchoring, most frequently in support of performance at the workstation.
It is also preceded by Mobile Learning, strongly influenced by its advantages and characteristics.
As for Mobile Learning, this is based on the very principle of people mobility by relying on the “smart” capabilities of mobile ‘phones and tablets.
Consultable at any time and in any place (on public transport, between two appointments), you can benefit from optimised learning moments as per your needs and your schedule.

When combined, Mobile and Micro Learning offer immense potential for the organisation and efficiency of corporate training and their learning time remains totally flexible.

Mobile Learning - a couple of minutes on the move?

In the collective imagination, Mobile Learning needs only a very short attention span, no more than 2 to 3 minutes.
In reality, it all depends on who you are and how you want to use it.
Like this ATD study conducted in 2017(1): while globally 58% of employees interviewed felt that 2 to 5 minutes were enough, the Talents of the same panel answered... 13 minutes.
Not forgetting the influence of the media: we will naturally spend more time on a text than a video.
Some people thus categorise Micro-Learning formats as "nuggets", namely, lasting a mere 3 to 4 minutes, focused on a concept or idea, and "quick modules", which can take 10-15 minutes, but delve further.
As for the right moment to train: where you want, when you want is the basic concept and not just on the move! Half of us even think that getting up and going to bed are learnable moments, regardless of the format chosen. (2)

Does Mobile First mean Video First ?

The video format springs very naturally to mind when we think of Mobile Learning.
More engaging, more captivating or more easily memorised, the video format supplants without hesitation the traditional PDF.
Just look at the extent to which YouTube has become a real training platform in its own right!
However, other contents are also successful on mobiles, starting with images and blog texts.
These also have the advantage in terms of training of being easier to modify than videos, which can quickly become obsolete
Adopting a good practice based on multiple formats is highly recommended so as to reach all sorts of profiles and even surprise through enhanced texts, quizzes or other interactive images.

Is Mobile Learning child’s play?

The answer to this question could be unambiguously: yes.
Although gamification is not the exclusive domain of mobile learning, it nevertheless is still a natural extension of our gaming habits.
In France, there are no less than 35 million gamers, including:

  • 75% over 18
  • 27% over 50
  • 56% men and 44% women(3)

Whether or not you are a gamer, learning through fun will be more stimulating than learning from an office computer.
Fun interactions, including badges to unblock, points or a common theme, will lead to more motivation in learning.
All this is also scientifically proven; learning through play, just like for children, generates an interest, concentration and more engagement than any other form of learning.
Fun stimuli will prove especially useful in arduous subjects (procedures, regulations, etc.), regardless of the generation involved.

The millennials, main Mobile Learning target?

Millennials can be thought of as a prime target for Mobile Learning, but they do not account for all users.
They are certainly the most involved, with 71% claiming to be more involved in Mobile Learning that any other activity.(4)
They have been brought up in a culture of direct information and new technologies on any device, starting with the smartphone (20% use this tool alone). (5)
More globally, when less than one third of employees consider themselves committed to their work (6% in France!), Mobile Learning is definitely a solution of choice.(6)
With a totally different approach to information, brought about in part by social networks, performance training on the job, always available without taking up too much time, is now proving essential.
Indeed, 64% of people questioned find it essential to be able to access their training via their mobile.
Highly mobile populations like sales reps, technicians or frequent travellers are the most affected by this necessity.
Can Mobile Learning, more fashionable than ever, be used solely to become trained?

Mobile Learning, tool reserved for training?

It is not unheard of to think, wrongly, that Mobile Learning is reserved exclusively for training.
It actually has more far-reaching qualities cutting across several areas.
The purpose of Mobile Learning is to train, of course, but also to produce, by encouraging the autonomous creation of resources through your smartphone, also called UGC standing for User Generated Content.
There is no longer a need for a videomaton or studio to film or record yourself and generate good practices.
But Mobile Learning is also a chance to share, as the user is no longer a spectator but an actor in sharing contents and diffusing them via social networks.
Train, Produce, Share, some innovations need to be monitored more especially as they genuinely explore the “experiential field”:

  • VR or AR create particularly effective immersive environments, for example in safety or public speaking
  • Digital face-to-face facilitation in a classroom provides a venue for interacting better, brainstorming and working together with colleagues
  • Work-based skills coaching can implement an entire range of mobile first activities (role plays, assignments, observations, feedback, etc.)
Mobile First - the need for an application?

Mobile First does not mean uniquely responsive. Before anything else, we shall focus on purely mobile use before thinking about use on a computer.
For all that, nothing says that Mobile First necessarily induces an application, that is usually more expensive.
In practice, it is appropriate to refer to a choice of use rather than a purely technical use, prompting several questions:

  • Does the target focus in priority on an office computer or a mobile?
  • Do the learners need an application? Applications are admittedly more engaging, especially with millennials, but half of them are uninstalled.
  • Is there a risk of a network coverage problem? In this case, a synchronised application is recommended.
  • Does the educational goal need to be able to exploit fully the capabilities of miscellaneous equipment (camera, audio, etc.). In this case, an application is advisable.

No need, however, for an app to view mini-videos, take a quiz, read an interactive text, do a battle or a knowledge challenge, etc.
All the more that the responsive mode has specific advantages:

  • It does not clog up the mobile's memory which is frequently a personal tool
  • It is more convenient through its horizontal and vertical viewing options, with far more zoom capability and greater typing flexibility. Convenience that is found less frequently in an app, given the required investment in R&D.
Mobile Learning - Outside the LMS?

Still often managed outside the LMS, Mobile Learning should however be an integral part,, like one of the processes of a blended training strategy.
Nowadays, good publishers offer X-API integrations, more rarely SCORM, that can orchestrate delivery and trace usage in a unified way.
Good integration is however not so simple and can be very expensive, bearing in mind that several levels can be envisaged:

  • Creation and roll-out via the LMS of mobile, optimised, internal resources
  • Thin integration with recovery of statistics as a minimum
  • Full integration at the level of diffusion and statistical feedback

These three processes are offered with the xLMS® solution, including advanced native integrations with Quiz Manager (for evaluation), Mobiteach (for face-to-face facilitation) and the Bedeez or Elucidat solutions (for content diffusion). More than responsive, the latter is appreciated just as much for for having renewed the production of content for mobiles as for the finesse of its analytical feedback.

Sources :

(2) https://knowledgeplus.nejm.orh/blog/microlearning
(3) Learning Sphere Experience 2017