Y A (Yet Another) Misleading Mobile Marketing Post
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Is this YAMMMP? I suppose I can’t address every one, but I think picking a few here and there are perhaps instructive. And, maybe, a bit fun. So there was a post on 5 mobile learning strategies. I’m a wee bit opinionated on mobile learning, so I thought I’d have a look. And, of course, it seems to be a random selection. I guess there’s a requirement to regularly put out stuff, but it seems they get someone to make stuff up scattershot, for the sake of marketing. And while the advice isn’t bad, it’s just random bits of advice trying to create the appearance of expertise. Worse, it’s really not specific to mobile, and, therefore,…misleading.
- The first recommendation was to do ‘microlearning‘. The worst part was their definition: short suggest of learning and performance support. Let’s just throw everything together! Yes, small chunks of content are good. Because they match how our minds work. But this (differentiated) is not unique to mobile, it’s good advice over all! Of course, with nuances about the formal (e.g. not just putting your course through the shredder and stream out the bits).
- The next recommendation was for ‘gamification’. Er, no. Now to be fair, they do say “gamification for serious learning”, but how do we know whether they mean immersive learning environments, or points, badges, and leaderboards? The former’s good, the latter is, I suggest, not so valuable. But again, this is undifferentiated, so it’s not obviously good advice.
- On to the ubiquitous ‘video’! Yes, video can be valuable, but not generically. It can be overdone, and can intrude in a variety of ways. For instance, the audio might be inappropriate in certain contexts, and hands-free may require a visual focus that can’t be distracted. Moreover, using video appropriately again isn’t unique to mobile.
- And another statement that’s not unique to mobile: look to social learning. Yes, of course, social learning’s good. And, with mobile populations equipped with devices and ‘downtime’, it can be valuable. But it’s valuable regardless of device. When it’s possible, it can add value. The obvious rises again.
- And, finally, personalization. Yes, great. So personalize via the small chunks from microlearning. Again, why unique to mobile? Love the idea, but hate that it’s presented as part of a mobile strategy instead of a learning strategy.
Look, I’m a fan of mobile, obviously. But while mobile’s niche is performance support, what’s unique to mobile is context. Do something because of when and where you are. And this article has entirely missed it. And the other critical element is to think of mobile as a platform. It’s not a device, it’s not an app, it’s a unique delivery channel for many possibilities. Your initial exploration can be either of the microlearning components, but recognize that as soon as you use it, you’ll be expected to do more. And thinking platform is the key strategy here.
I understand that their intention is self-serving, these are things they can do. But pretending these are core strategies is misleading. And that’s the problem I’d like you to learn to detect. Go to the core affordances, and then drill down. I’ve talked about my own five mobile approaches, for instance. Don’t work up from what you can do until you know what that is doing to advance your capabilities as well. That is what’s strategic.
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