WED: Removing Geographical and Time Boundaries: Mobile Learning for Mobile Workers (Alison Walker)
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29 December 2014
The operational working requirements for Airline Pilots result in their being globally mobile and operating across a number of time zones in each working period. This presents barriers of access to leadership learning and development courses which is impacting on their potential for promotion to leadership command positions. Dardar et al. (2011) have linked training and job satisfaction and highlighted that in some cases employees with access to training were more satisfied than those without access. Inclusion is at the heart of this Company’s values, so increasing Airline Pilots’ access to relevant training will demonstrate the company values in action, should increase levels of job satisfaction and will demonstrate an inclusive approach to employee development, giving everyone equal opportunity to access relevant training.
This multi media artefact examines whether mobile learning (mlearning) has the potential to cut across spacio-temporal boundaries experienced by Airline Pilots as it ‘delivers learning to the learner when and where they want it’ (Traxler 2007). Thinking on mlearning is still evolving, so drawing from the literature on both mlearning and informal learning the artefact explores mobility alongside the affordances of mobile technology as a key construct denoting ‘not just physical mobility but the opportunity to overcome physical constraints by having access to people and digital learning resources regardless of place and time’ (Kukulska-Hulme 2010). Therefore the artefact explores why informal mlearning might be motivating, (Jones et al. 2006).
The nature of mlearning and the changes in practice, skills and attitudes required from both the learner and the organisational perspective to implement and then adopt mlearning will be reviewed through the lens of the FRAME model, (Koole 2009). The specific areas explored include the inter-dependencies of the device, learner and social context and the implications of this for the learner. This includes aspects of learners’ practices, attitudes, expectations, motivations, attitudes to openness, affinity with the technology itself and digital literacy as well as implications for the organisation. There are implications for the organisation; learning embedded in a constantly changing environment and moving towards an inclusive learner centred approach culture rather than centrally controlled learning and development culture.
Case studies will be examined to reveal how the affordances of mobile technology; anytime, anywhere access may support the notion of inclusion and how the same affordances are potentially, a disruptive organisational force due to the ‘dynamic nature of learner practices’ (Mwanza-Simwami et al 2011) resulting in the need to change the way learning and development practitioners support learning.
The artefact further examines the critical factors for successful implementation of mlearning in the workplace and consider that mlearning provision may entail much more than a change in learning delivery but also involve a change in organisational learning culture as with mlearning there is the need to consider not only how learners will interact with the learning but why.
Finally recommendations are made on how to approach the successful implementation of mlearning with the Airline Pilot population which embraces open practices and delivers effective workplace learning.
15:50 on 9 January 2015 (Edited 17:59 on 2 February 2015)
Link to the Conference Poster
Link to accessible version with voice over
15:53 on 9 January 2015
Removing geographical and time boundaries: mobile learning for a mobile workforce: Supporting Script for the Presentation on Wednesday 11th February 2015
Slide 1: Removing geographical and time boundaries: mobile learning for a mobile workforce
Welcome everyone and thank you for taking the time out to come along and listen to my presentation, Removing geographical and time boundaries: mobile learning for a mobile workforce
I’m Alison and I run a small Learning and Development Consultancy specialising in Leadership development
This presentation is about an artefact which is being created in response to a very specific Learning and Development issue experienced by one of my clients. This issue affects 500 key employee's who are quite literally constantly on the move. It is my intention to use the artefact to propose a solution
Slide 2: The Journey
The presentation will cover
- the background to the issue
- the draft artefact
- How it’s been developed so far
- and a brief look at the next steps
Slide 3: The Challenge
The challenge is how to give access to leadership training to the 500 remote workers in this organisation. At the moment more than 50% of these employees applying for leadership positions are failing to achieve promotion. They are failing on their leadership skills assessment. - team building, coaching and commerciality. They just don’t have this skill set and have never been trained.
CONTEXT: This picture shows a world map. This population are constantly moving to and from 26 locations and this how they are operating across a number of time zones and geographies. They will spend several days resting before they can fly back. This means it is very difficult to bring them to HO to attend face to face workshops and its expensive.
Slide 4: Why Inclusion?
Inclusion is at the heart of this Company’s values and they talk about it as being in their DNA. So culturally - increasing employees access to relevant training is very important. It will allow the company to demonstrate it’s values in action and to show an inclusive approach.
Slide 5: Why Mobile Learning?
So why might mobile learning provide a solution? The thinking on mobile learning is still evolving AND the research on mobile learning in the workplace is a little thin on the ground – where it exists strongly contextualised
Three reasons identified so far – still work in progress
1. Affordances of mobile technology well suit the needs of the mobile…and remote worker. Traxler highlights how learning though mobile devices is able to deliver learning to the learner when and where they want it. Kukulska-Hulme (2010) talks about mobile learning being able to overcome physical constraints by having access to people and digital learning resources regardless of place and time’
So learning through mobile devices seems to suit this particular set of circumstances
2. There is real potential there could be reasonable levels of motivation to engage with the learning. Hussein and Cronje highlight that mobile devices in the learning context “stimulate a learner's sense of ownership of the content as they actively participate in activities.” Whilst this clearly has implications for mobile learning design.
Seems to fit the need although we cannot assume that the entire target population will be motivated to learn this way. However, there are also other extrinsinc/intrinsic motivators at play if linked to promotion
3. Pragmatic reason
100% of this population own and use a mobile device at work…and use them to access company related information – so if handled well mlearning provision could be a relevant solution
I anticipate there will be barriers to overcome too.
The mobile learning environment is very dynamic and the practices of individuals/device functionality/learner context are intertwined and interdependent - and develop alongside each other. This presents a number of organisational challenges – e.g. blurring of boundaries between personal/professional space - balance of formal/informal learning - and the question who controls the learning.
Slide 6: The Purpose
This slides speaks to the artefact design. It is a multi media Prezi and the overall purpose is to influence the adoption of mobile learning in this organisation and to help the decision makers get hands on experience of what it feels like to learn with a mobile device and try out some of the learning activities for themselves.
Slide 7: Artefact StoryBoard
Artefact is still Work in progress
It will include videos and animations to demonstrate some the affordances of mobile technology, coupled with some familiar organisational L&D concepts to anchor this proposal within current organisational thinking eg - 70:20:10 (Lombardo et al) more recently Charles Jennings
Slide 8: Artefact StoryBoard
Artefact will also include three current case studies to share organisational lessons learnt and a “Touch and feel” demonstration showing the types of learning activities
Slide 9: The Approach
1. Literature review. Already spoken to this challenge – has been fair amount of mlearning research in education contexts but little written in workplace and where it is – highly contextualised. Its been noted by Kukulska-Hulme and Traxler (2014) in a book edited by our very own Rhona Sharpe that “the direction of mlearning will no longer be guided exclusively by research”
So primary research has included both ……
2. Networking with practitioners – twitter, linkedIn and fellow H818
3. Employee interviews
Slide 10: Progress To Date
First area Employees
1. Looked at employees current use of mobile devices. - All 500 use mobile devices
2. Questionnaire - 262 respondents (given the timescale v pleased with) 2 weeks. By far biggest uses - email, music, then - youtube, search for information, games, social networking. They were also also asked would they be prepared to access training material via their own devices? 92% said yes.
Initial tentative conclusions 1. Already using features 2. general willingness to use them needs further testing
The second area of progress
Case studies – all sourced through asking for input through LinkedIn groups
1. Airline: elearning not mlearning but impt as there are widely held assumptions about engagement of the target population in soft skills development a there is in the airline industry. I can use data from here to overcome this assumption– “overwhelmed” 25% pilots using elearning on a monthly basis
2. International Bank SA: train and ongoing support of bank clerks in the bush
3. UK Stock exchange
Slide 11: The Challenge of being a Networked Practitioner in a Commercial World
I acknowledge It may be the same in other worlds too - my only experience. In general great experience, very generous people: Linked In fabulous - Julian Stodd, Dave Kelly MLearnCon, Johannes Cronje, organisational practitioners across the world.
BUT …I didn’t anticipate the time it would take to achieve my plan, so I am not as far forward as I would have intended to be at this stage
Main obstacles have been
1. Time & Organisational Priorities – difficult to get into peoples diaries and not top of their priority list – xmas and now coming up to the end of the financial year
2. Legal – I have a great case study – now been with the legal dept 4 weeks to make a decision whether I can use it
3. Salesmen/women – approached by some mlearning providers to help them access my clients
4. Unions any change has to be approved.
Overall impact of slowing everything down
Slide 12: Future development
1. Continue networking with practitioners to complete the case studies 2.Developing the artefact - peer review inside/outside H818 and share with client for review 3. Publish the artefact
Slide 13: Thank You
Thank you, please join in the discussion, contact details LinkedIn. www.uk.linkedin.com/in/alisonawalker Twitter. @alisonwalker1
15:27 on 14 February 2015