Overcoming Barriers to Mobile Learning Deployment


How can you overcome the challenges of deploying mobile learning in your organization?

The first generation iPhone, arguably the first smartphone, was released in June 2007. In the decade since then, the number of users continues to grow at an astounding rate.

Its ubiquity has allowed smartphones to become an effective learning tool especially in business environments, where learners are either located in remote areas with limited internet connectivity, work in manufacturing facilities with no access to desktop computers, or work in the field and are always mobile.

Mobile learning has been a hot topic for learning & development departments for years, however deployments of effective mobile learning strategies have been slow.

In this post, we will discuss some of the main barriers to mobile learning deployment. We will also provide some best practices on how to overcome these challenges to help you achieve your goal of delivery a successful mobile learning program.


Mobile learning has great potential…

  • 78% of global consumers have smartphones
  • 54% of global consumers have tablets
  • Consumers globally check their phones on average 40 times per day1


… but progress is slow

  • 25% of organizations in highly regulated industries say there is no mobile interaction with learning at this time
  • 50% have limited access to learning material via mobile web browser only
  • 75% don’t have a formal mobile learning strategy in place, but are working on one2

The Brandon Hall Group has identified three main barriers to mobile learning deployment in highly regulated industries:

  • 51% of organizations in highly regulated industries say security is a significant barrier to mobile learning deployment.
  • 37% of organizations say content creation is a significant barrier
  • 31% of organizations say bandwidth / connectivity is a significant barrier



Security is still the biggest barrier to mobile learning deployment in high-consequence industries (51% of organizations say it’s a significant barrier). It’s significantly higher compared to organizations that do not operate in a highly regulated environment.

We have identified three best practices that will help you make sure your content is secure on mobile devices:

1. Use SSL for all company web content

2. Implement a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution to:

  • Ensure devices are PIN/password protected
  • Remotely wipe lost/stolen devices
  • Control custom app distribution
  • Ensure devices are up-to-date with latest operating system

3. Custom App Recommendations

  • Be judicious in what sensitive information (if any) is stored on the local device, as opposed to only accessible while online.
  • Encrypt local content using AES-128 or better (per HIPAA guidelines)


Content Creation

Content creation is a significant barrier to mobile learning deployment for 37% of surveyed organizations in highly regulated industries. We have identified nine best practices that will help you create highly effective content appropriate for mobile devices.

How to create mobile learning content:

  • Many authoring tools, which previously did not support mobile deployments, now offer responsive design features. Assuming that the original source files are available, courses built with earlier versions can be updated using these tools and republished to accommodate mobile devices.
  • New content should be designed with a “mobile first” approach, using tools such as gomo learning suite, ensuring a great experience on mobile devices. Scaling down existing content so that it fits on a smaller screen is not always effective. Redesign for responsive layouts is often a better approach.
  • Create learning opportunities that are short or ‘bite-sized” with the optimal time for a mobile session being at maximum 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Videos (10 minutes or less) are considered to be effective for content delivery on mobile devices. According to the Brandon Hall Group, learning videos are available on mobile devices for 75% of organizations in high-consequence industries.


What you should do with your existing mobile content:

  • Create brief assessments, which can be quickly taken without a lot of “off device” work (e.g. worksheets, flipping through course materials, etc.).
  • Use larger fonts (at least 14 points) so the content is readable even on the smallest screens.
  • Make buttons and interactions large and easy to tap quickly with a thumb. Leave lots of space around buttons.
  • Limit forms and complex fields or interactions.
  • Ensure audio is not required to consume the content.


Bandwidth / Connectivity

More than 30% of organizations in high-consequence industries say bandwidth/connectivity is a significant barrier to mobile learning deployment. Organizations, which operate in a highly regulated environments, must pay attention to the following recommendations to make sure users get training even when they have limited internet connectivity:

  • The ability to download content to a mobile device for playback even when offline is important.
  • Make sure your Learning Management System (LMS) enables synchronization of SCORM results when internet connectivity becomes available.
  • Use images sparingly as they not only take up screen space but also increase download time.

Today’s workforce expects learning & development programs to be available on mobile devices. About 85% of organizations in high-consequence industries expect the use of mobile learning will increase over the next 12 months, with 20% of whom saying it will increase significantly. Learning should always be easy to access especially when compliance is at stake so organizations must overcome mobile learning deployment challenges sooner rather than later.

NetDimensions Talent Suite can support your mobile learning strategy by delivering a range of options to best suit your organization’s needs and business strategy. Learn more about the NetDimensions Talent Slate mobile app and discover how it will enable you to deliver learning and performance support at the point of need for your mobile workforce.

1. Global mobile consumer trends: First edition (Deloitte, 2016).
2. Mobile Learning 2016: Great Promise, Little Progress (The Brandon Hall Group, 2016).


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