Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Take a look around at any given point throughout the day, and chances are you’ll see a fair amount of people in your vicinity with their eyes glued to mobile screens. What is it they are consuming? Perhaps the latest text or breaking news headline has captured their attention. However, research by Towards Maturity suggests that 67 percent of people access some form of learning resource via their smartphones. Could it be that those around you are reading, watching videos or brushing up on career-related skills?
The mobile learning industry is projected to grow to $38 billion in the next few years, as I mentioned in my previous blog post outlining the ways publishers can increase their mobile advantage. Individuals are reading and learning more on their phones and tablets now than ever before – giving rise to a true transformation of the digital learning landscape. And as we prepare to welcome the younger, more tech-dependent generation – Generation Z – into the workforce, we can only expect the mobile learning trend to strengthen.
With mobile learning transforming digital learning altogether, it is imperative that publishers realize the place for mobile content in the learning industry – more specifically, content geared toward busy professionals. This audience references their trusted resources daily to refresh current skills, dive into emerging industry trends and ultimately prepare for their futures. Mobile content from respected publishers is in high demand, especially among remote employees who don’t have access to office libraries or in-house content databases.
To gain a better understanding of the mobile learning industry’s potential influence on publishing, I’ve rounded up five ways mobile is already redefining learning as we know it.
Transformation 1: Increased demand for quick access to relevant content
Today we’re seeing an increased demand for quick access to relevant content. It is more common than ever for professionals to spend their time in line or in transit consuming mobile content that is relevant to them, both personally and professionally. On-the-go learning shows no signs of slowing down and presents the perfect opportunity for publishers to explore the production of bite-sized, easy-to-digest content. From mobile consumption stemmed the bite-sized learning trend. In order to attract and retain the interest of mobile professionals, resources need to be made available in bite-sized content blocks so the learner can read and learn in waves, whenever and wherever convenient for them. Transforming content into smaller snippets to meet demands of modern learners provides publishers with an innovative way to both refresh backlist titles and present new releases. Think of bite-sized learning as a marketing or promotional tool, and link snippets to full works for maximized exposure.
Transformation 2: Professionals expect tailored learning experiences
Digital learning on computer screens certainly remains relevant, but with the growing popularity of mobile learning apps, professionals expect a seamless transition – and a tailored experience – as they move from their desktop to an app and vice versa. For example, at BlueBottleBiz, we have both our cloud app and mobile apps, so professionals can pick up learning where they left off, on the go. Having access to similar desktop and mobile learning capabilities is becoming more commonplace, so for publishers who host their content in learning platforms, consider expanding into the mobile arena along with the platform.
Transformation 3: Increased collaboration and reach
Harnessed by the power of social, mobile learning makes way for increased collaboration, thus extending reach. Professionals frequently use cellphones to connect with their networks and other experts via social media apps. Bleeding-edge learning apps combine social capabilities with published content to support collaborative learning. Hosting content on apps such as these expands a publisher’s reach. Just as professionals share links to relevant news articles with clients and colleagues, they’ll share relevant content in the same manner – especially if the content is paired with collaborative tools, where commentary and feedback can be added.
Transformation 4: Demand for multiple content formats
Along with a tailored experience, professionals seek multiple content formats. Mobile learning naturally feeds into increased video content consumption. As everyone has different learning styles and preferences, some professionals prefer to listen or watch, rather than read. Having the option to learn through text, video and audio – all accessible via one platform – is expected. And, thanks to responsive design, HTML5 and other software developments, content can be displayed specifically to fit mobile screens, creating that seamless transition from desktop to mobile devices. The demand for multiple formats opens doors for publishers that have more than just books or written content. It also invites other types of media and content companies to partake in providing mobile learning resources to professionals.
Transformation 5: Expectation of 24/7 access
Engagement increases with 24/7 access to resources. Readers are no longer confined to consuming learning content between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. With mobile learning apps, activity and engagement continues even after professionals leave the office. For publishers, this means more engagement with authors and their content, and perhaps the attraction of a whole new audience among mobile professionals.
Opportunities Abound For Publishers
It’s quite clear that the mobile learning industry continues to transform digital learning and the ways in which readers consume content. For publishers, this transformation offers the opportunity to maximize, and monetize their entire catalog – not only the latest releases, but relevant information from backlist titles and marketing material. Hosting content on platforms that integrate mobile and desktop learning, delivers your high-demand content to eager learners. It also grows awareness for your authors and allows many new readers to discover your titles. If you haven’t done so already, perhaps it’s time to meet readers where they are – on their mobile devices.