Going Mobile in Africa

by 2021-02-04

Mobile education can empower employees in Africa.

As African economies continue to diversify and develop, innovation is key to successful growth. In order to stay ahead, employee skills development and training has become more imperative than ever before.

With the rapid rise of smartphone usage in Africa, Dennis Lamberti, the Managing Director of The Learning Studio, explores why mobile learning is ideal for businesses in Africa – empowering employees and improving company efficiency.

A digital revolution in Africa.

According to a report published by GSMA on Africa’s mobile economy, the number of smartphones in use across the continent has doubled over the last two years, and it is estimated that over 226 million people are now connected.

Lower smartphone prices have been driving this digital revolution in Africa, and people are now accessing the internet, across the continent, at unprecedented levels.

Through leveraging the power of internet connectivity, important services such as health, education, agriculture and environmental management are now having much wider reach and improved effect.

Looking at education and employee training in particular, African businesses are now in the perfect position to leverage the power and vast capabilities of mobile learning to upskill their employees and improve productivity.

Affordable workplace training beyond the classroom.

From attracting and retaining top talent, to keeping staff motivated and on top of the latest trends, the benefits of training and upskilling employees is endless. The costs of traditional training, however, can be prohibitive.

This is where digital learning comes in. By taking the learning out of the classroom-style environment, you are cutting the costs of facilitation, there is no longer a need to print learning material, and most importantly, you are no longer training staff during precious office hours.

On a mobile device or tablet, a learner can enjoy relevant, one-on-one learning, that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, ensuring that the training doesn’t detract from work commitments.

Anywhere, anytime and offline.

While millions of people in Africa now have access to smartphones and tablets, due to the high cost of mobile data in many areas, they are often only connected to the internet when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, as opposed to utilising paid-for data.

To overcome this, mobile learning offers offline capabilities, meaning that learners can download the material when they are online to access it when they are offline. This makes the learning material accessible, whether the learner is connected to the Internet or not.

By downloading the material onto a device, learners can engage with the information when it suits them best. They will have the space to focus and digest the information effectively, without distractions from fellow classmates or work commitments.

Whether it is during a quiet time in the workday, at home, waiting for an appointment, or even on a train, taxi or flight, learners will be able to engage with their training irrespective of whether they are connected to the internet or not.

Attracting and retaining millennial employees.

Today’s young adults, the millennials, are a tech-savvy generation who are constantly connected to the Internet via their laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Their loyalties and attention are known to fluctuate, and they are more likely than past generations to resign from their jobs if they are not satisfied with their current work culture.

A recent survey of 1500 millennial’s, conducted by Inc, found that 69% of millennials aspire to be leaders in the next 5 years, with 60% wanting sufficient training to develop their leadership skills. 

By offering training to your employees you are not only upskilling them to do their jobs more effectively, you are also helping them feel more motivated and valued within your business.

If your employees are demanding training, it needs to be accessible, relevant and available when and where they need it. Essentially, it needs to be mobile.

An online learning community.

Through discussion forums, fellow learners can discuss topics related to the course material and ask online facilitators for assistance with points they might be struggling with. In this way, a community of learning is created. 

Peer assessment is also a very valuable component of digital learning. Fellow online learners are able to assist and give feedback to one another. This creates an opportunity for learners to communicate and discuss the material; this is where the real learning happens, amongst peers.

As mobile learning grows across the continent, the online learning community will become that much more dynamic. This will allow African business owners and employees to discuss and learn from peers about how to navigate the challenges that are unique to African business contexts.

Just-in-time not just-in-case training.

Rather than expecting learners to memorise what they have learned, and hope that they can recall it when it is needed, mobile learning enables learners to find and access the knowledge ‘just-in-time’ in the moment that the knowledge is needed.

Whether your employee is on an oil rig in the ocean, a remote construction site, or just wanting to refresh their memory while they’re in a taxi, they will be able to access the training in an instant.

A company can go the extra mile and create an internal app store that provides scalable and cost-effective digital gateways to easy-to-find digest resources. In providing rapid responses to emerging employee work needs, employees can be empowered to work smarter.

Across the globe, many businesses’ training budgets have been squeezed, and they don’t have the capacity for staff members to dedicate weeks of time to training.

In African markets, in which businesses are developing very quickly, this is often particularly true. As companies are under pressure to innovate and stay ahead, there is no time to stop business operations for training.

Rather, the training needs to keep up with the fast-paced environments and work demands in order to meet the needs of the learner. The only way for this to happen effectively is through online learning; specifically mobile learning.

Education and skills training is vital to ensure a more productive and motivated workforce. Thanks to technological advances and the move to mobile, this effective workplace training in Africa is more accessible than ever before.