Mobile Learning And The BYOD Movement

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Trawling through my feeds across various social media, I’ve been noticing a spurt in the number of discussions around the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement. Some organizations have embraced it with open arms while many are still apprehensive about security risks that BYOD poses. No matter what your organization’s view on BYOD is, one thing is certain – the BYOD movement has gathered steam and gained an unstoppable momentum. ‘Bring Your Own Device’ or BYOD, refers to an organizations employees using their personal devices (usually Smartphones/Tablets) at the workplace to access company resources for business use.

What makes BYOD popular?In its Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2012, Deloitte predicts that by the end of the year 2012, 500 million smartphones with a retail price of $100 or less will likely be in use worldwide. With the almost insatiable need for information and communication increasing across the global workforce, most of them are turning to mobile devices.

As these employees use more advanced devices and business apps to catapult their productivity, their impatience with technology at their workplace is also understandably increasing. They have understood the usefulness and the power of the devices that they use, and want to leverage them at the workplace as well. Mid and senior level executives the world over want their organizations IT departments to allow them to access company resources through their personal devices.

As per a survey conducted by Good Technology in October 2011, 72 percent of its customers were already formally supporting BYOD programs. Another 19 percent of the respondents indicated that they were either planning to support BYOD within the next 6-12 months or were considering, but did not have a specific timeframe for support. You can read more about the survey findings here.

Why are organizations apprehensive?While the BYOD trend may save organizations a substantial amount of money, what they are really concerned about is data security. BYOD could be the IT department’s worst nightmare.

Their concerns are quite understandable given the problem of enforcing security and compliance at such a large scale. However, by using Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) platforms, organizations may be able to manage the security risks posed by BYOD.

What does this mean for mlearning?Security concerns notwithstanding, it is undeniable that organizations will eventually have to buckle under the pressure and open their doors to the BYOD movement. They simply cannot afford to ignore the demands of an increasing mobile workforce, and will have to get a new security strategy in place.

As BYOD gains momentum, we’d probably see a positive effect on mobile learning adoption. Mobile learning will help organizations to leverage the BYOD trend to distribute ‘just-in-time’ training snippets that are both targeted and tracked. I certainly believe that the BYOD movement is a step in the right direction and will also speed up mlearning adoption tremendously. I’d love to know your views on this. Feel free to comment.

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