Knowledge repository for blue-collar workforce management

If you’re training your workforce on mobile, here’s a handy guide

Moving from classroom-based training to mobile-based ones? You’re not alone. Facing issues with it? Again, you’re not alone.

Let’s acknowledge the problem right away: L&D teams across companies don’t have it easy. Content consumption behaviors are changing, and these teams just don’t have the content that works well for mobile. (L&D teams=Learning and Development teams).

In this era of “mobile-first” content (ex: Selfies, Snapchats, memes, video stories on Instagram), training content figures somewhere far down the ladder. Most companies have it in horizontal formats à la Powerpoints, PDFs or Word documents.

When teams copy-paste the same content on mobile, the experience for both learners and trainers is just..well..sub-optimal.

Here’s why companies are moving to mobile-based training in the first place: it’s cost-effective and light on operations. Furthermore, regular audits become easy and learner progress, measurable.

Myntra, India’s largest fashion etailer, has actively used this to its advantage. By adopting mobile-based training for its delivery staff, it cut down training time by 87%, is able to actively measure learning outcomes and conduct regular audits. You can read more about it here.

Since I spend most of my time helping companies revamp their training content for the mobile medium, I thought it best to put it all on paper (umm, on Medium) for the collective benefit of everyone.

There are two parts to creating content that is mobile-optimized, especially for adults in the workplace

1. Designing a mobile-based curriculum
2. Creating mobile-friendly lessons

Before you proceed, please remember: adults learn very differently compared to children. Most adults are well-informed and want to know why they’re learning something new. Unlike children, they actually like quizzes and want to quickly apply what they learned.

Designing a mobile-based curriculum

Doing this process helps you structure your content. If you were to rework your existing PDF/PPT/Word docs into mobile readable formats and create a new list of chapters, do the following:

  1. Articulate WHY the training is important.
  2. Design units to be STANDALONE. Because adults learn small bits over extended periods of time, keeping one lesson independent of another is necessary.
  3. Adults are much more aware of the world around them than children. So, while introducing a new concept, DRAW PARALLELS to contexts that they’re already familiar with.

Creating mobile-friendly lessons

After you have addressed the “why”, and have a good idea of the list of chapters/units to include, you are ready to tackle the first unit.

These elements can vary based on the type of lessons . For example, a video may take a minute to convey a message, something that a comic strip can do in seconds.

Here are some broad guidelines on how to design it:

  1. Start lesson with the all-important WHY. “After you learn this, you will be able to ..”
  2. Use a healthy MIX of CONTENT FORMS: ie, use text, images and videos. Remember to keep it SHORT.
  3. Use interesting snippets, jokes and motivational content to BREAK THE MONOTONY of the training material.
  4. SHOW instead of tell: For example, flowcharts are a really ineffective way of introducing new processes in workplace. They’re dry, and evaporate from memory in a matter of minutes. Storifying it, with a central character, who does everything that the flowchart mandates is more effective.
  5. At the end of the chapter, inform them when, where and how they can PUT THE KNOWLEDGE TO USE.
  6. Add a QUIZ at the end.

After you’ve created a chapter using the above-mentioned principles :

(1) Pat yourself on the back

(2) Proceed to write to me……because I’d love to hear all about your experience. (Did you find it particularly hard to render a piece of content for mobile? Do you want me to try my hand at it? Did you come across any interesting research on andragogy? You get the drift..)

Taking the first step is always the hardest, and you’re past that step!

The next post will highlight what tools you can use to easily build mobile-friendly content. Be sure to watch out for that!

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