Pop quiz: When was the last time you touched your phone? Not sure? Researchers have discovered that, on average, we touch our phones 2,617 times a day – or roughly every two minutes. The muscle-memory compulsion is real, and while it may not be ideal, it means there are some training and career development opportunities that lie just within our – literal – reach.

The Generational Landscape of the Workforce

It’s been estimated that by 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will consist of millennials and Generation Z, most of whom are digital natives who have never known a world without mobile devices. Companies need to shift their learning ecosystems to adapt to modern learners, meeting them where they are, at their exact moments of need and interest.

Most employees consume online content and complete digital tasks using smartphones and similar devices, with an estimated 96 percent of modern learners absorbing new information on smartphones and 76 percent preferring online resources to other learning methods.

This shift in the portability and accessibility of educational content is largely explained by the mobile learning theory, which suggests that when training is offered across locations, times and topic, students interweave learning with their everyday activities.

Microlearning and Mobile Learning: A Perfect Pair

It’s impossible to tout the benefits of mobile learning without also discussing microlearning, which uses small bursts of learning to drive job performance and employee development. Consider that employees access information outside of work in bite-sized pieces – through videos, Instagram or Facebook, and email. Everything comes into the brain quickly and in small pieces – which is just how we like it.

Still not convinced of the benefits of mobile microlearning? Here’s some evidence.

Exhibit A

Employees can search for a quick refresher on skills before they perform a task. With mobile app delivery, microlearning offers contextualized skills that employees can learn and apply immediately in the field. They learn, and then they do – which also contributes to an increase in long-term retention rates. It’s real-time, instant intelligence.

Exhibit B

Mobile microlearning is more cost-effective than sending employees to in-person training, and learners can use it over and over again. Since microlearning delivers information at a learner’s moment and place of need, when they don’t have much time, its accessibility is especially beneficial when the learners can’t leave their job site or plant floor.

Exhibit C

Mobile learning accommodates all learners, delivering content when and where they need it and putting them at the center of the learning experience. Training is delivered directly to their hands, increasing engagement and retention, changing behavior, reducing risk, and improving safety and performance.

Exhibit D

Microlearning increases comprehension and retention rates through its short, repetitive nature. Employees learn contextualized skills and can apply them immediately in the field. When job performance improves, the organization benefits, saving money on insurance claims from accidents, reducing production downtime and increasing the bottom line.

Exhibit E

Compliance training is more than checking a box to meet minimum requirements; it’s equipping your employees with the skills and training to handle the complexities of laws and regulations, allowing them to do their jobs more safely and efficiently. Mobile microlearning does so flexibly.

While it seems unlikely that, for at least the foreseeable future, we’ll be able to successfully pry our well-trained fingers away from our mobile devices, we can shift our expectations of how they benefit us. More than a means of communication or social interaction, mobile devices can provide organizations the opportunity to educate employees continuously, keeping everyone safe and compliant, trained and equipped for roles today, and ready for new roles tomorrow.