Mobile Learning: Key facts that determine product features

I will touch upon some of the key facts that drove our conceptual vision for the Anywhere Learner Mobile app at Sify. Here are some data points on the consumption patterns for content delivered through Smartphones as well as some behavior patterns that we wanted to capitalize on when we rolled out Anywhere Learner Mobile app:

Pricewaterhouse Coopers came out with a survey identifying smartphone usage patters. Here is a snapshot of the survey. The chart below shows that the biggest use of Smartphone is centered around basic activities like communication, accessing social networks, and checking on news and sports.  While the survey was targeted at consumers, the same behavior is transplanted even in a corporate set-up. The bottom-line is simple – when designing a mobile learning app for your employees, don’t expect them to treat the Smartphone like a PC.

Popular Use Cases for Smartphones

Information Snacking is another key trend to watch out for. Information snacking refers to the preference of Smartphone users to receive bite sized content in real-time that is of relevance to what they are doing. This is especially true if among millennials or Gen Y employees. Here is an interesting video that talks about this phenomenon.

Going back to the PwC survey, people prefer to use native apps over the browser. Browser usage seems to be restricted to search functionality and occasional access to the Internet. The reason is clumsy user experience in browsers and the response lag. When enterprises deploy mobile learning apps, it often becomes a case of browser Vs app keeping in mind data security diktats from the CIO organization. The chart below shows app usage as well as consumer preference of apps in the next two years. I will discount the response for the latter as HTML5 could potentially address this issue.

Preference of Native Apps

Another important point is the compelling need to “do something” with the smartphone when we are doing nothing. Especially, employees on the field tend to use the time they spend in airplanes, trains, or commute to catch up on emails or work related activities using their smartphones. We wanted to capitalize this “downtime” when we were debating the features that go into Anywhere Learner.

A rather vexing question that often gets asked by the CFO is “what is the real impact of mobile learning app on the business?” We wanted to tackle this in a way that addresses this question unanimously. It was clear to us from the beginning that passive content consumption was not the way forward for the Anywhere Learner Mobile app.

And finally, the biggest debate was about the platform. Should we launch our enterprise mobile learning app on iOS first and then Android or Blackberry? Should we launch all three versions simultaneously? If we take the browser-based application route, how do we address the user experience issues?

Together with our partners at SVI, we had to roll-out a convincing mobile learning app that addresses all these major drivers and we did pull this off in a short time-frame.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

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I love to read and share thoughts on technology, enterprise learning, mobile and any thing cool that impacts enterprises.

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Posted in Mobile Learning
One comment on “Mobile Learning: Key facts that determine product features
  1. […] Smartphones are everywhere and everyone either has one are shamed into buying one! We wanted to build an app that will run on any Smartphone. We had to evaluate the pros and cons of building native apps Vs rolling out a web-based apps, and ended-up with a hybrid model. Anywhere Learner Mobile looks and behaves like a native app, but is actually a browser-based application. There were several reasons for adopting this model and you read them here. […]

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