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The future of mobile learning in the workplace: Qualcomm Insights

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John Cook
15 February 2014

Geoff Stead

Mobile technologies and behaviours are evolving so rapidly that it feels impossible to predict what we will be doing with them in five years time. Is it the fantastical science fiction of today? Or something as yet unimagined? And more importantly to us as educators, what should we be doing to prepare for this.

Companies like Qualcomm invest heavily in trying to understand, and shape the technologies of the future – primarily as a tool to help them design the mobile chips today that will be embedded in your smartphone in two years time. If you are an educator, planning for new and innovative ways to reach your learners, these two years are a long time to wait!

Geoff, and his mobile learning team are based inside one of Qualcomm's labs, with permission to use these emerging technologies and ideas to create new and exciting ways to learn with mobile technology. They are not building external products - but rather creating an internal ecosystem to support Qualcomm staff across the world to work and learn smarter. They run an employee app store that staff can submit apps to. They build learning and productivity tools to address specific business needs, and they showcase emerging technologies to help educators rethink how mobile can play a part in work place training and support.

The Employee App Store, as a concept, was enthusiastically embraced by many staff – and most did not come to look for learning or training. Instead, they wanted tools to help them work more effectively, or even more creatively. At Qualcomm we have broadened our remit to build apps, and support frameworks for this much wider range of needs, fitting to how people work, rather than traditional concepts of training.

This session will show live examples of apps, and tools currently only available to Qualcomm employees, covering technologies such as iBeacon, Augmented Reality, Indoor location awareness, Mapping, Internet of Everything as well as a diverse range of learning and productivity tools. In addition we will be sharing insights into our successes, and failures in rolling out these apps to a global audience of almost 30,000 staff, with all the challenges that happen when you cross national, political and cultural boundaries.

Extra content

We catalogue a lot of our work here, as well as curating other "mobile at work" resources:

Geoff Stead
16:07 on 17 February 2014

The "App Store" as a Darwinian metaphore for designing, and improving mobile learning

Our biggest impact, as a team, is not the individual apps that we create and license, but rather on the broader ecosystem. Traditional approaches to online corporate learning tended to focus on a more structured, tightly curated set of courses, and resources. The App Store model is almost the opposite approach, allowing for a wild-west of multiple apps (still lightly curated), and then encouraging employees to review, and rate them. So no longer are the learning team required to make the final value-judgement of an ap[p, this can be done by peers.

Here are a couple of spicific apps I hope to demonstrate:

Indoor positioning / iBeacon / Bluetooth LE

We wanted to build an indoor museum app, to add an appitional layer of information over a physical museum, but found that there were not many low-cost, easy to maintain approaches to doing this. Most apps we could find had a high setup costs. This is why we chose iBeacons (Bluetooth LE beacons) to build this one. See what you think:


Augmented Reality:

Here is a light hearted approach to using AR (Augmented Reality) to address a real challenge: helping out many remote staff to feel more connected to our head office, and some of the senior execs based there

Geoff Stead
13:18 on 3 March 2014

Embedded Content

added by Geoff Stead

added by Yishay Mor


Geoff Stead
1:19pm 3 March 2014

If you have any questions about enterprise mobile learning, ask them here! 

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