This blog was originally published on Sept. 21, 2015. It has been edited for updates and accuracy.
At QuickMobile, we’re steadfast in our belief that the real value of technology is determined by how it helps you achieve your goals. The more clearly those goals are defined and prioritized, the easier it is to find the right technology and put it to good use. Figuring out what you need from your mobile app is no exception.
Training events – new hire orientation, certification, product launches, etc. – are ideal use cases for mobile apps because of their clearly defined goal: knowledge acquisition and retention. At the time this article was written, we partnered with HR.com to explore this topic in more detail (on-demand webcast available here).
Here are 4 simple ways to leverage your mobile app to make your next training event even more successful for you and your trainees.
#1: Group cohesion
Every training event has a social element to it. Even if attendance is mandatory, you still have a group of people with common interests gathering for a common purpose. If trade shows, conferences, sales meetings and other corporate events can benefit from the networking and connecting power of mobile apps, why would it be any different at a training event?
Trainingindustry.com estimates that as much as 20% of learning happens through interactions with others outside the classroom environment. If an app helps facilitate those interactions, then that learning will be more likely to occur.
Your training event app helps inspire group cohesion in a number of ways, from a shared attendee list with matchmaking capabilities to 1-on-1 messaging, social media, and more.
#2: Easily accessible content
Moving closer to the actual event, an app plays a vital role in making content more accessible. This applies equally to proprietary or confidential information, which can be safeguarded with confidence in your app.
With a mobile app at their disposal, trainees can have access to content well before the actual live event. This means they can begin studying and preparing for the on-site experience. And the range of available content is as broad as you could imagine, including documents, video, HTML, and more.
In fact, if you’re not careful, you may even find that your app lets you dispense with classroom or on-site training altogether, depending of course on subject matter (but it’s probably best that aircraft mechanics continue to undergo hands-on training with real jet engines).
As with group cohesion, there are many ways that an app helps with content distribution. These include documents, video, HTML content and links to external websites.
One more thing on content: the fun isn’t over when the event ends. Your app gives you a 24/7 direct channel through which you can publish relevant content any time you wish. This can include follow-up documentation, notes, and even access to on-demand videos of training sessions or related material. Sure, you can also do that via a website, but recall that only a mobile device offers the convenience of true on-demand access, at the time, place, and speed of the participant.
#3: Improved engagement and participation
We’re all familiar with the awkwardness and ego-stroking nature of Q&A via microphone. On one hand, for every person who gets their turn at the mic, there are 4 or 5 who wouldn’t dream of speaking up in public, no matter how smart they are or how laser-focused their question. On the other hand, there’s that one person in every group who just likes to hear their own voice or show off everything that they know.
If your training event is built at least in some part around audience participation, then a mobile app is the tool you’ve always dreamed of. Anyone with a smartphone or tablet in hand can now participate freely, whether by asking a question or even by providing an answer to someone else’s question.
A good app will offer real-time session Q&A capabilities that allow presenters to field questions from anyone with the app, wherever they may be – first row, last row, or across the country. It will also include live polling and interactive discussions to keep conversations going well after the session closes. And it will include feedback tools like quizzes and surveys so that presenters and event organizers can test for knowledge transfer and receive input from attendees on what they’ve learned and experienced during the event.
#4: Measuring success
This post started with the notion that technology needs to align with goals in order to be useful. For training events, usefulness comes down to helping trainers to communicate, trainees to learn, and organizers to gain insight into all this activity.
For you, the event organizer, your app’s analytics help you monitor how much of your content is being consumed. It does this in two ways: First, you can see which pages in the app are being read, for how long, and by whom. That will paint a very detailed picture of content consumption, and by proxy, knowledge transfer.
Second, and perhaps even more compelling, is the previously mentioned ability to run surveys and quizzes through your app. These are great tools for encouraging and measuring knowledge retention. You can use them before, during, and after your event to get a sense of where people started, what sunk in, and what didn’t.
Taking your next training event mobile will also make it more appealing to your audience, which is increasingly mobile in everything they do. It’s not even about looking cool anymore – it’s about acknowledging the fact that mobile is a way of business life now, and its impact is immensely positive.