Mobile Learning Re-Visisted

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 05.27.09  »

Mobile Learning

We have been spending a lot of time in recent posts talking about the enormous potential for m-Learning. In a span of only 20 years, wireless services have reached almost 50 percent of the world’s population. There are now more than 3 billion mobile subscribers globally, that number is expected to grow to 4.5 billion by 2012. In the workforce development industry, these numbers translate into new ways to reach and engage learners.

On Wednesday, June 10th, 2009, at 2PM EST, come join me, along with Don Duquette, GP’s corporate learning and development expert, for an interactive webinar, sponsored by General Physics Corporation, on practical solutions to help you navigate the opportunities and pitfalls of mobile learning.

The webcast will focus on:

  • Explosive growth of mobile subscriptions
  • Huge interest in mobile as device for K-12, University and Corporate Learning
  • Results from survey on the current uses for learning & development
  • Potential bandwidth, instructional design, LMS capability challenges

We want to hear from you before the webinar–what are your questions, and what issues are you dealing with as you explore how to implement m leanring in your orgnaizaiton. Send me an email here
Thanks and See You Online.
[tags]M Learning, Performance Support, Talent Management, General Physics Corporation

iPhone Beats Kindle?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 05.13.09  »

iPhone vs. Kindle

Last week I presented interesting new findings on the Kindle’s expanding market, and asked you all to weigh in on whether it would continue to expand into the corporate training market. The preliminary consensus appears to be “no”.

The list of preliminary concerns raised in the comments section includes aesthetic concerns, such as bulk, and the lack of a color screen, as well as potentially more substantial barriers. These barriers include:

Lack of Institutional Support

Many people simply do not see a large scale implementation of the Kindle in their companies. As Martin wrote:

Corporations will want to leverage their existing mobile investment - be it a Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Nokia, iPhone etc.

Lack of Two Way Capabilities
Nick raised an excellent point about the inherent limits of the Kindle feature set when he wondered,

Is it possible to collect statistics, do quizzes? Does the platform support animated (Flash or other) content or is it static only? Lack of one or both of these capabilities could severely limit its usefulness.

Passive Screen
Similarly, Steven explained that the hardware itself may not be sufficient because,

The Kindle is not a good medium for social interaction. It is a private experience. As we learned at the recent Learning Innovation Network meeting in Cambridge, MA last week, social interactions are a key part of learning. The tactile dimension is not there. Once one is used to an iTouch or iPhone, it is hard to go back to a passive screen, even one with the wonderful resolution of Kindle. Touch and gesture are an important part of memory (and therefore learning.) So, although I expect to do a great deal of reading on Kindle-like devices, I expect my learning to be social, personal and tactile.

Yet Another Device To Carry Around
Finally, the largest and possibly most significant concern raised involved a logistical obstacle: people simply do not want to be carrying around another electronic device in their daily lives. As Nick explained,

We have laptops, cell phones (now usually a BB or iPhone), now a Kindle. In the work environment maybe the oft touted tablet PC (or tablet Mac, fingers crossed) would be a better fit than a laptop and a Kindle.

Neil concurred, and offered this alternative,

The Kindle or the Sony product is just another device to add to the list of things that you are forced to carry around for this reason I think that people should be looking towards mobile phones.

Martin strongly agreed with this solution, saying,

Our employees will ideally want to access training via their existing device, not a Kindle. I couldn’t think of anything more frustrating than having to switch between several devices in my pocket, instead of just using my own mobile phone that allows me to wear training and take training, anytime, anywhere.

So, based on your comments (and more coming in) Kindle has significant hurdles to overcome before it is a corporate learning delivery device. However, mobile phones and in particular, the iPhone or BlackBerry, may be a more long-term solution as a mobile learning device since they offer institutional support, two way capabilities, and an all in a package that allows users to access one’s cell phone, datebook, contact list, notepad, mp3 player, internet access device, etc).

Whatever device emerges as the winner, our blog community sees new features and new capabilities for mobile learning appearing at an accelerated pace.

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College Textbooks Delivered On Kindle: Will Corporate Learning & Development Be Next?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 05.05.09  »

Amazon's Kindle

On May 6, 2009 Amazon will unveil plans for a new version of its Kindle e-book reader. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the new improved Kindle will sport a larger screen and other features designed to appeal to academic textbook publishers as the Kindle begins to target the college textbook market, a $5.5 Billion market in the U.S. alone.

Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland will be one of the first universities to have textbooks for chemistry, computer science and a freshman seminar already installed on the Kindle. Case Western then plans to compare student reactions to reading textbooks on Kindle with a control group who will use traditional textbooks. Five other universities—Pace, Princeton, Reed, the Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State University—are also involved in this pilot.

The world of higher education is being changed right before our eyes. And the reaction to the Kindle is impessive. While Amazon does not officially divulge sales number for Kindle (many suspect because of a desire to avoid direct comparisons to Apple’s iPod ) Michael Arrington of TechCrunch suspects that Amazon will sell at least 800,000 of the devices in 2009 alone, which would put sales for Kindle ahead of the iPod’s numbers when each device was in its second generation. What’s more, since Amazon owns the audio book company Audible, Kindle owners may be able to read a few chapters at home and then when they are in their car pick up where they left off, only this time via an audio version of the book. While you may not want to do this for your chemistry book, it can be a big plus for a best seller.

So, what can we expect in terms of penetration of the Kindle for the corporate training market? Imagine being able to access performance support, real time feedback on the job, updates to training programs a plethora of corporate documents from a Kindle at work?

Share your thoughts on opportunities and barriers to using Kindle as delivery device for corporate learning & development.

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Should You Leave Your Laptop Home In Favor of Your Smartphone?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 04.23.09  »

What Makes A Smartphone Smart

The growth of mobile devices continues; it is now estimated there are more than 3 billion mobile subscribers and this number is estimated to rise to over 4 billion by 2010. In particular, the size and growth of the Smartphone market is expanding rapidly and will exceed the laptop market for the next five years, according to a report by market research company In-Stat.

What will be the impact of this on corporate learning? Are you ready to leave your laptop home?

The recent survey of 125 heads of Human Resource and Corporate Learning conducted by New Learning Playbook blog and Human Capital Institute revealed several relevant findings:

  • While 33% of organizations have a mobile learning pilot currently underway, 70% of organizations surveyed are investigating the use of mobile learning in the next 12-18 months.
  • Typical areas of usage include product training, sales training and compliance training, but the overwhelming use is for on-going performance support.
  • There are some issues that need to be addressed, these include diversity of hardware and software, screen size, security and a host of instructional design issues.

However, the bottom line, as profiled in this survey respondent’s view of potential of mobile learning:

“The real power of mobile learning is around the interactivity and the ability to create learning campaigns rather than learning events. And of course it is fun as well.”
-Head of Learning, Finland

So what are your views on mobile learning? Share your thoughts with me and stay tuned for the date and time of a webcast on this topic.

Social Networks Surpass Email:What’s The Impact On Corporate Learning?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 04.10.09  »

According to the Nielsen Online internet marketing and research firm, social network and blogs have become more popular than email:

Social Networks Beat Email

As reported by eMarketer and CNET, after rising steadily in recent years, in this past year, social networks and blogs for the first time ranked ahead of email in the Nielsen Online study. This means that more people are now using interactive and open-user social networking and blog related interfaces than email. See the chart above for the specific numbers.

What’s more, time spent on social networks and blogging sites is growing at over three times the rate of overall Internet growth, according to eMarketer. Additionally reported this week in Business Week, growing your social network on Twitter can actually result in new business. Chris Savage, CEO of claims 12 new clients this year because of how he has used his network of followers on Twitter.

What does this have to do with corporate learning? A few questions for you to consider:
How does this growth in social networking lead to an increasing emphasis on social learning? As more learning happens in communities and with peers, what will be the impact of formal training programs? Will they begin to add “open source wiki’s,” as pre or post work? A number of companies are already creating their own “internal” versions of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. It seems to me this will only grow as more Millennials enter the workroce and demand these tools at work to increase their productivity.

Let me know in the comments or by emailing me at

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Beyond iTunes U: Learning Via YouTube

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 03.29.09  »

Back in November I first wrote about the emerging potential of iTunes University as a vehicle for learning, when Yale University Dean Joel Podolny joined the Apple team to serve as Dean of their own learning system. This past February I wrote about iTunes U once more, as new research was released which confirmed the power learning via this method as university students who listened to podcast lectures received consistently better test scores than those who didn’t.

One University in Australia, however, is taking this a step further, and is now offering college credit to high school students who watch video footage of lectures on YouTube. Professor Richard Buckland of the University of NSW in Sydney, Australia, wanted a way to allow high school students who lived too far away but were capable of handling college level programs, to actually attend Buckland’s classes by watching videos of his lectures on YouTube. Though students go through a rigorous selection procedure, if accepted, they must not only watch videos on YouTube but also hand in other work assignments in order to receive the transferable college credit which is of no cost to them. And, of course, only those accepted to the program receive the credit, but once the lectures are up on YouTube, they are freely available to be streamed by anyone.

This is another example of Open Learning–how will this impact corporate universities? Right now many companies are creating a Youtube version behind the firewall to share “how to lessons,” will taking an entire course on YouTube be next? Share your thoughts here.

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Do You Dream In 140 Characters?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 03.12.09  »

You know Twitter has hit mainstream when it becomes a topic for Jon Stewart and Social Media Analyst Jeremiah is talking about dreaming in 140 characters in his recent blog post..
Ask Jeremiah: Comprehensive FAQ Guide To Twitter.

All kidding aside, Jeremiah Owyang is one of the most “qualified” people I know to share how to really leverage Twitter to advance your personal brand as well as to increase your productivity at work.

Here’s a short story on how I used twitter to build my network. I was a speaker this week at a Human Capital Institute event in Scottsdale, AZ. My speech entitled Creating Next Generation Learning” was to take place on Tuesday, March 10th, but I arrived on Monday the 9th. I wanted to connect with as many folks as possible so I sent out a tweet about my being at the HCI event. All of the sudden I connected with nearly a dozen folks from around the world who were also going to be at the event. We planned several lunches and even created a poster for our lunch table entitled Twitter Friends at HCI. I have written about using Twitter as a learning tool here and here, and so I wanted to and got to hear first hand about how it is being used by Human Resource and Learning practitioners.

How long did it take me to do this? All of 5 minutes and 140 characters.

There are countless other examples of how I could have been built my network, but I was deliberate about doing this on Twitter and in doing I connected with a group of fellow Twitter users and we all discussed how we are using microblogging to improve our productivity and build our networks.

Here are some of the ways Twitter is being used on-the-job and in one’s personal life as discussed at HCI:

1) Think Before You Tweet

    Yes it’s informal and only 140 characters but it is searchable and, yes, it can be googled.

2) Answer the Question: “What Is Interesting/Innovative” rather than just “What Are You Doing Now?”

    Embed links to interesting content so all your followers learn what you are reading and what influences your thoughts on a topic.

3) Approach Twitter as a Social Learning Tool

    It is participatory, collaborative and, at its heart, contextual. It may in fact be one of the best ways to instantly share knowledge among your network.

4) Explore how best places to work use Twitter to build their brand.

    Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, was one of the keynote speakers at HCI event this week. He is a big user of Twitter with 218,906 followers. Zappos made the list in Fortune Magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies To Work For” list, and Fortune began and ended the article by talking about how Zappos uses Twitter to build more personal connections with people. Zappos came in at #23 on the Fortune list making the company the highest ranking newcomer for 2009.
    In fact in Zappos Corporate Employee directory they have all employees ranked by the number of followers they have on Twitter. Now that’s an incentive to start sending tweets. Tony even created a beginners guide on how to get onto Twitter. You can find this at:

5) Explore how your company’s public relations, marketing communications and customer relations departments are using Twitter.

    What can you learn from these departments in order to experiment with your own learning department? In the case of Zappos, they have transformed their public relations and marketing departments to use Twitter as the first way to connect to customers.

6) Join the dialogue

7) Learn from “THE” social media analyst on this topic

    As mentioned previously, one of the most qualified individuals on this subject is Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research covering social computing.

Below are top 7 questions from FAQ Guide Jeremiah created and is something I consider to be a “MUST READ” for all those already on Twitter or thinking about joining Twitter.

Ask Jeremiah: The Comprehensive FAQ Guide to Twitter Complete FAQ’s are found here.

Question: What are common terms and phrases I need to know? Do I Tweet or Twitter?
Twitter, which evolved from simple status messages to now a global conversation, is referred to in a number of times. Asking folks: “Are you on Twitter” is appropriate. When you want to use Twitter, and want to refer to it as a verb, it’s appropriate to say “I’m Twittering that”. However, it’s more appropriate to say to say, “Did you Tweet that?”. (verb conjugation) It is never appropriate to suggest “I’m twatting now”.

Question: I just joined, now what? I don’t get it.Twitter on it’s own makes little sense, why? It’s a social tool and this means you have to follow others. First, use the address import tool to add folks that are in your Yahoo mail and Google mail. Secondly, do searches for people you may know to find them. If Twitter search doesn’t’ work or the “Find people” search, use Google and seasrch “First Last Twitter” to find folks. Once you find people you do know (or want to know) see who they are following, and add them. You can always add me, but you should first see how I use Twitter.

Question: Who gives a donk what I ate for lunch, can I talk about something else? Yes, talk about anything you want. The twitter question “what are you doing now” isn’t the most effective way of using the tool. Instead, answer this question “What’s important to me” or better yet “What’s important to my followers”. Also, engage in dialog, ask questions and answer others questions using the reply feature.

Question: Why 140 Characters? 140 characters is the size limit of text messages using SMS, since Twitter integrates well with mobile devices, you can text to “40404” and enter in 140 characters to tweet from your phone. Also, 140 characters is a true bite sized chunk of information making it easy to consume and create –ideal for rapid sharing of ideas.

Question: How do I use the reply feature? Easy. When you see someone’s tweet, there’s a small ‘arrow’ next to their tweet. If you feel like responding to them, click that arrow and it will automatically load their name into the text box. Type your answer in 140 characters and submit. This will make conversations easier to track and find.

Question: How come people don’t write in normal English in Twitter? Good question, due to it’s limited 140 characters style of publishing, Twitter has formed it’s own unique nomenclature, similar to how users of pagers in the 90s developed shortened codes and how text message have developed their own digital shorthand. Often you’ll hear people use Twinglish, a combination of “Tw” plus other English words like “Twello Texas”. It’s cute once in a while, but can grate on ones nerves after a while. Twanks Tweeple.

Question: What is a DM? DM stands for “Direct Messages” which suggests that an individual can message another individually using the private messaging system (like email) to other members. You can only DM users that are following you. You may hear individuals say “DM me for details about conference discounts” suggesting the user wants to take the discussion private. Do note that Twitter’s DM system still resolves in 140 characters and is fairly primitive, many conversations may naturally shift to email, or even the archaic phone!

Happy Tweeting
See you online,
Jeanne Meister

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The Power of iTunes U

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 02.27.09  »


Research is starting to show that students who listen to lectures on podcasts are showing high retention rates. This finding was reported in ReadWriteWeb and was uncovered after conducting research involving a test sample and a control sample of students.

According to Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York in Fredonia, students are learning more by listening to podcasts of lectures than going to class.

To find out how much students can learn from a podcast, McKinney’s team created a podcast from an introductory psychology lecture course. The podcast contained both audio and video of the slides used in class.

Here’s how the research was conducted: Half the students (32 of 64) skipped the class and listened to the podcast only. The other half attended the class in person where they also received a printed handout. A week later, the students were tested on the material. The Podcast listeners did better than those who were in the class and those students who did both: listened to podcast and attended the class achieved the highest scores.

While this is only introductory research, involving one single lecture and conducted among a sample of volunteer students who received an iTunes gift card of $15 for their participation, it does say a lot about how Millennials want to learn- on their own time, in nuggets with the ability to “play back” a section of a lecture they may not have understood the first time.

This notion of listen once and play back multiple times is an important part of learning that is often overlooked. What’s interesting to me is that similar studes are being conducted in corporate learning departments using mobile smart phones to deliver training and performance support. The results are similar: learners who can “control” when, how and where they learn and use a portable/wearable device have higher completion and retention rates.

Are you experimenting with new ways to deliver learning and performance support? If so, share your lessons here or send me an email.

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Mobile Learning: Will Millennials Lead The Way?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 02.17.09  »


One of my recent posts entitled From e-Learning To m-Learning talked about the enormous potential for m-Learning. This topic was debated recently by a panel of experts including Chad Hurley, CEO of YouTube, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, at the World Economic Forum last month.

The current estimates for mobile phone penetration are impressive: today 3.2 billion people have mobile phones and about 10% of these are smart phones, which are web enabled. In fact, Zuckerberg estimates that among the 200 million unique visitors to Facebook each month, 25 million are using mobile applications to post updates and share photos and videos. And as devices continue to enter the market, new features and new capabilities are, and will continue to be, appearing at an accelerated rate. For example, there are now custom applications that allow students to turn their mobile phones into sophisticated calculators. Programs such as Space Time and QuickGraph are just two examples.

But the bar is being raised once again. As reported in the New York Times in an article entitled Industry Makes Pitch that Cellphones Belong In Classroom, Qualcomm, a producer of chips for mobile phones, is funding a million dollar research project targeting Millennials in an attempt to understand how cellphones could be used in high school to augment or even replace computers.

This is a significant opportunity since K-12 schools now spend hundreds of millions of dollars on computers to provide an average of one computer for every three students. Think about the potential if schools spent even a percentage of their budget on mobile phones instead of computers. But also think about the impact on corporate learning and human resources as Post Millennials (those now aged 12-18 years old) enter and college and then the corporate world with the expectation of using their mobile phones instead of their computers to work, communicate, and even learn. Already there has been a buzz in the market as some companies are asking sales professionals to use their mobile devices for every day computing needs instead of their laptop. And many road warriors say they are willing to entirely ditch their laptops in favor of their mobile as the technology improves, which it has been doing by leaps and bounds.

Finally, food for thought: In a report published in January by research firm In-Stat based on a survey of 1,402 technology users, 52% of respondents to the In-Stat survey said they could envision using a smart phone in the future as their sole computing device, provided handset companies make improvements like better keyboards, expandable screens and applications that work as well as they do on PCs.

What are you waiting for to develop your m-Learning strategy?

Share your thoughts with me in your comments, or over email.

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Social Media Adoption Soars

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 02.04.09  »


The results are in for the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s survey of 2,253 adults: validating what we have seen in the workplace, adoption of social media is soaring with one third (35%) of American adult internet users having created a profile on an online social network. This is four times as many as three years ago. The results break out by age in the following manner:

  • 75% of online adults 18-24 have a profile on a social network
  • 57% of online adults 25-34 have a profile on a social network
  • 30% of online adults 35-44 have one
  • 19% of online 45 to 54 year olds have a profile
  • 10% of online 55 to 64 year olds have a profile
  • 7% of online adults 65 and older have a profile

Now consider when these social networking tools were introduced and their number of registered users to date:

  • MySpace
    250 million registered users
  • Facebook
    150 million active users
    50 million registered users
  • LinkedIn
    30 million registered users
  • Plaxo
    20 million registered users

It’s about as addictive a method of communicating as I have ever seen. Last week I gave a session on this topic at ASTD and here were some of the questions posed by our audience of soon-to-be adopters of social media in the learning department:

How do I build the case for using social media within my company?
What about issues of privacy and security?
What type of metrics should I focus on?

Some thoughts that were addressed during the session:

  1. Is your CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) using socials media with customers? If yes what has been your company’s experience?
  2. Are your competitors using social media either internally or externally? What has been their experience with this?
  3. What types of pilots can the learning/HR department sponsor?

Send me your comments!

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