At last month’s Fridays for Workforce Innovation, our roundtable discussion focused on team building and leadership strategies. During the discussion, we identified the need for an easier training model that would also promote unity among employees. My team at Towson University Center for Professional Studies is now developing a mobile reinforcement app that will do just that.
A Shift to Mobile Learning
The shift from a learning management system (LMS) based learning to mobile learning is occurring in small pockets throughout the training community. This stems from the idea that most employees have greater access to smart phones and technology, and less retention on the content being taught in the classroom. In this movement, a need for on-demand answers has arisen. In addition, the need for testing and reinforcement outside the parameters of face-to-face classrooms is also in need. The answer to these problems is Mobile reinforcement.
Mobile reinforcement is the idea that content and learning can exist outside the classroom through an app on a mobile device. The idea is simple: take a face-to-face class and final exam as normal. Then once you’ve left the class, download and activate a mobile reinforcement app on your phone that ties to that classroom. In this app, an administrator overseeing mobile reinforcement will push questions to the app a given number of times per day in order to help reinforce the learning that occurred in the classroom. After a few weeks of answer questions, the final exam will be given again and hopefully—a better score will be achieved.
The questions being sent to the mobile reinforcement app should be able to be customized. Meaning they can come in the form of multiple choice, true false, fill in the blank, and so on. Even questions pertaining to a video or web page should be easy to develop and setup. But it doesn’t stop there. A company called SwissVBS has developed a mobile reinforcement App that implements “Adaptive Learning Technology” into their questions being pushed to the learners. Meaning that the questions can be assigned parameters such as “Easy”, “Normal”, or “Difficult”. If a learner is getting too many easy questions correct, then they throw more normal or difficult questions at the learner. Likewise, if a learner is failing to correctly answer a lot of normal and difficult questions, the app decides to send more easy questions their way in order to provide a nurturing learning experience for the learner. Of course, if the learner gets the question wrong the app will tell them why it was wrong, and even has the potential to steer them towards video clips or web pages with more information.
Mobile reinforcement apps are much more than just periodic questions being thrown at a learner and seen as a requirement. It can be used (as long as phones are permitted) on the job to help you remember processes, information, or ideas taught in the classroom that you may have forgotten. Resource libraries can be made available with short video clips on specific content pieces. These video clips should be less than 90 seconds, as it should get right to the point and help the learner perform a specific task. Flash cards, and other reinforcement areas can be available as well depending on the content.
Some apps are even developing awards and profiles which gets into the gamification of learning. This gives each learner a profile with their name, progress, and awards. Awards can be given out for simple tasks such as obtaining the high score on a certain test, getting above 90% on a test, or by viewing 5 video clips. This is a fun way to engage the learner into their own education and training.
Designing an effective training tool to test for competencies is difficult, but mobile reinforcement is the way trainers will be looking towards in the future. It helps classroom scores, on the job training, and promotes unity among employees. What’s not to like?