You, Your Phone & Knowledge

You, Your Mobile Phone and Knowledge: Where’s the Connection?

“Infobesity”… “Infomania”… Call it what you like, the general population is dealing with an influx of content coming at them on a daily basis, from multiple platforms, in various formats – whether they want it or not.

There was a report done by Hewlett Packard in 2005 that suggested how the zest for more information has seemingly led to a collective ‘dumbing down’ of the population (Wilson, 2010). While this may seem counterintuitive, you need to consider it from the perspective that there is a difference between the dissemination of knowledge and the actual intelligence of a person or the general population as a whole. Put simply, just because one is being inundated with factoids, this does not make for a smarter working world.

What does this have to do with mobile learning?

There’s no denying the impact that mobile phones have on our lives. They’re no longer just a communication tool but now, a multi-purpose device deeply rooted within our daily routine. We have an intimate connection with this device – just think, would you ever leave the house without it? If you did, would you go back for it? And how about how often you look at your phone throughout the day? One study suggests that we check our phones 150 times a day – and, shockingly, I don’t think this number shocks many of us anymore (Meeker & Wu, 2013). 

While some see the mobile as just another device to point content at, we don’t. Frankly, we think that mind-set undermines the limitless opportunities mobiles phones can provide at the tip of your fingers. Since our inception, we’ve been advocating that Learning and Development Departments should provide users with the ability to access, at will, good, engaging material to make them smarter in a moment of need. We liken the device to a GPS or SatNav – something that you can use when you’re a bit stuck, to help you get to where you need to go faster and better.

Let’s compare this idea to an alternative scenario. You’ve bought a new TV and you need to install it. Do you read the 40-page, black and white instruction manual? Probably not. First you're likely to just give it a go – once you get a bit stuck (identifying your own skills gap) you might then turn to YouTube for a helpful, quick video which demonstrates exactly what it is that you need to do. This is the future of information acquisition.

How does this impact your HR Department's approach?

In our view, learning departments are going to have to let go of push-based, uninspiring  long-form learning whose primary driver is to check that each user has been ‘tracked’. This approach may be necessary in instances of health and safety or code of conduct training, but engaging learning goes far beyond this. We see the future: shorter form, visually compelling, better ways of engaging employees and increasing their wealth of knowledge.

What that leaves L&D professionals to consider then, is how do they implement this and when? In our view, soft-launching material and virally marketing it can be a smarter way of encouraging content uptake.

Written by the experts at Skill Pill. 


BBC News. “’Infomania’ Worse than Marajuana” April 22nd, 2005. Web. May 20th, 2014

Wilson, Glenn. “The Infomania Study”: January 1st, 2010. Web. May 20th, 2014

Meeker, Mary & Wu, Liang. “2013 Internet Trends.” Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. May 29th, 2013. Web. May 20th, 2014



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