Implementing a mobile learning strategy from scratch

What is Mobile Learning?

Mobile learning is sometimes misunderstood as tapping away at a slide deck on a smartphone or tablet. What mobile learning really is, is a process with a mobile learning strategy. It encompasses learning via the internet by accessing all kinds of content. In its early years, mobile learning was thought of as a way to make sure PDFs, PowerPoints, or other readable materials displayed correctly on a mobile device. Now it’s more immersive and includes podcasts, animation, training videos, step-by-step guides, and even assessments.

Because the learning takes place online, the user can participate in social learning as well. Posting on a group discussion board, showcasing their badges, and sharing their progress are all ways that connect learners. Learning management systems (LMSs) have adapted to track learners both on and offline. This makes keeping up with their progress easy for supervisors, training managers, or personnel liaisons in charge of staff development.

The Benefits of Mobile Learning

Learn anytime, anywhere!

One of the biggest challenges of instructor-led training is timing. Learners are only able to take the class when it’s offered and how–whether that be showing up to a classroom or hopping onto a video chat. With the right Mobile Learning strategie, asynchronous interaction with the material can happen during a person’s commute, while interacting with a product or even in between meetings

Short, pithy, and to the point

Because mobile learning is meant to be brief, the videos, presentations, podcasts, courses, or documents the learner is interacting with all get to the point right away. The participant gets what they need without a significant time investment. This encourages users to engage with their learning more and complete more modules. Just by spending a few minutes each day (or week), they get the satisfaction of completion and the reward of knowledge. This highlights the important relationship between mobile learning and microlearning.

Learning leaps off the page


We’ve all watched lengthy pre-recorded webinars before and struggled to keep our eyes open. Flipping through page after page of a digital employee manual is no better. For an employee to really learn the content they need to engage with it. A good Mobile learning strategy combines videos, animation, discussion, and even games to deliver your content in a way a user will actually absorb.

Planning a Mobile Learning Strategy

Choosing a goal

This is your first step and the most crucial. Your goal dictates your timeline, your team, your measures of success–everything!

To get it right, you have to be specific. An example of a bad goal is “Convert all of our existing documentation to mobile learning.” A better example is “Convert all of our existing mandatory compliance trainings to mobile learning courses by the end of next year to increase compliance completion rates to 90%.”

Your goal will keep you focused on what you need to do, who can help you do it, when it needs to be done by, and what it takes to win.

Setting a timeline

Undertaking a mobile learning initiative is no small feat, that’s why choosing a goal is so important. Once you have a goal, you will work to set a timeline that supports only your goal and does not include time for work that it’s a part of what you want to accomplish. Developing a single mobile learning course could take up to two months. To revamp multiple courses or programs could take 18 months or more.

Selecting your team

The more complex your learning project, the larger your team will need to be but here are some key roles you should consider filling

  • Project Manager/Team Leader- Each eLearning video course is going to consist of, at minimum, a million and one different moving parts. Someone needs to be responsible for organizing, securing, and managing all your team resources. Entrust this leadership position to someone already on your team with the ability to lay out a detailed schedule, assign each task and deadline to the appropriate team member, and then make sure each person has the tools they need to get their job done.
  • Instructional Designer- This is the magician who’s going to craft your training content into something suitable for mobile learning. Instructional designers have an in-depth knowledge of how to structure classes and coursework, and they’ll know how to design course materials. If your instructional designer is also going to author your courses, it’s their job to make sure the design is responsive and will operate appropriately when viewed on mobile devices.
  • Graphic Designer- The graphic designer brings your brand together for you. Your eLearning website should be full of unique company assets, and you’ll want your mobile learning to match.
  • Subject Matter Expert- This person works very closely with your instructional designer, but they’re not the same. While the instructional designer has the design chops to put everything together into a sensible course structure, the subject matter expert is the one with the knowledge. You’ll likely have a different subject matter expert for each course, whereas the instructional designer will be able to work on multiple projects.
  • Learning Management System Specialist- your LMS specialist has two jobs on your project team. The first is to make sure that what’s being created will be compatible with the LMS. The second is to test all the materials in the LMS prior to launch. Having training videos out of order or improper progression settings can be disastrous.

Evaluating your content

The next step is evaluating your content. You’ll take the content that already exists, that you identified in your goal, and make sure:

  • It’s still relevant
  • It’s up to date
  • It communicated the message you want to send

After that, your SME and Instructional Designer will work together to distill the most necessary information from that content. They should produce an outline and learning objectives that will guide the course’s creation.

Build, Buy, or Partner?

prepare a script for an educational video, educational video, script for educational video

The last decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to tackle the whole project yourself, buy what you can off the shelf to meet your needs, or partner with a mobile learning specialist to help you achieve a good mobile learning strategy

  • You should build if you have enough dedicated staff to help you realize your goal in the timeline you set out for yourself. 
  • You should buy if what you want to deliver does not have to be customized to your audience (e.g. customer service skills training).
  • You should partner if you want to create high-quality, customized course content and do not have the resources available in-house.

Check out some of Ninja Tropic’s examples of Mobile learning 

 If you have any questions, contact Ninja Tropic: we are always here to answer your questions!