Recently, I was talking to a client, John, about the various ways to deliver training to his globally-scattered employees. He told me he’d experienced a wake-up call: during a meeting, he needed a piece of information kept on the company’s intranet, and asked one of his staff to leave the meeting to quickly print it off. But a second staffer said, “Oh, here you go,” and handed John his phone, where the information was clearly displayed. John looked at me incredulously. “He’s working on his phone?”
Oh yes, John, and so is nearly everybody else. 91% of the U.S. population now owns a smartphone device with 3G/4G connectivity, and those handy little devices are changing the way people work. Technology changes the way people learn, and training techniques must keep up.

As someone who wants his employees well trained and knows all too well how easy it is to waste training dollars, John is keen to capitalize on his wake-up call. To deliver effective training, the bottom line is knowing how to engage adult learners, so that they apply, as well as retain, the knowledge you want them to gain.


Engaging your audience
The mobile revolution is changing the way your audience learns. Gone are the days when your whole workforce filed into an auditorium, or you flew people to a classroom for day-long or week-long intensives.


  • Modern learners are mobile learners. They want the content in their hands—tablet or phone—so they can learn on the go, using small increments of time that might otherwise be idle. E-learning focuses on bite-sized pieces of information, so a learner can complete it on the subway ride home, or waiting for a child’s recital to begin.

  • They prefer their own devices. Why spend time navigating a new Learning Management System when you can pull course content up in a mobile-friendly browser or application?

  • Adult learners want to manage their own learning. They require flexibility in what, when, and how they learn. They’re used to turning to videos for every-day, on-the-spot information needs; it’s a familiar learning style they enjoy.

What John didn’t understand was that this was good news for him. “Bring your own device,” or BYOD training, offers management huge advantages.

  • BYOD has a much lower cost per seat and a much broader reach, since virtually everyone has access to a device that can display the training.

  • The cost per employee is significantly less than shipping personnel and materials for conventional training.

  • E-training is very flexible. Unlike printed materials, it can be modified right up to the delivery date, and it can be archived for future employment.

  • BYOD is also flexible in its use. Rather than being used once, in a stand-alone training event, it’s consulted throughout the workplace. For instance, BYOD makes near-bedside use in the medical industry possible, as practitioners refresh on a procedure or medication.

  • It delivers consistent information in a timely fashion, whether throughout a facility or across the globe, in whatever languages are required.

  • The average screen size has grown, and the quality of those screens has improved. The bandwidth available on most systems provide for very high quality imagery.

  • Mobile apps are improving how we monitor learning and skill progression daily. Improved analytics mean you can monitor which learner has completed which parts of the training. Pre- and post-testing can measure comprehension, retention, and even how well they are implementing new knowledge.

  • All of this data also helps management determine ROI and adjust training as necessary.

  • By meeting the needs of your learners, you are leveraging their time, their equipment, their effectiveness, and their satisfaction.

According to, eLearning courses are expected to grow by 59% in 2016. Coaching by external practitioners is expected to fall by 25% over the next two years, while formal education courses and external workshops are also anticipated to decline.