Transforming Learning Through Mobile

Of course, it only seems natural that Qualcomm, which produces the chips used in mobile devices, would be leading the way in the move to mobile learning.

168769841During yesterday’s opening-day morning keynote at i4cp’s 2014 Conference at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Tamar Elkeles, vice president of learning and organizational development at Qualcomm, shared some of the ways Qualcomm (which has 31,000 people around the world) is applying learning to mobile devices.

Elkeles advised those attending the conference not to get left behind. “Mobile is not a fad,” she said. “It’s changing how we live, how we work and how we play.” (In the world of learning, Elkeles’ insight and advice carries a lot of weight.)

As the next generation of workers enters the workforce, Elkeles said, they’re not going to put up with sitting through a training class. They’ll be entering the workforce having done everything on mobile. So they’re going to expect that’s how learning is going to occur at any employer they work for.

One interesting stat she shared: Ten percent of those between ages 0 and 1 are using mobile devices. That’s right, 0 and 1. True, she said, they may not know how to read yet. But, holding up a single finger, Elkeles explained that’s all one needs to navigate the world of mobility, even if it’s limited to launching a Disney YouTube video.

Another stat she shared: By 2015, more than 300 million pre-K-through-12 school children will have mobile devices.

Referring to those now entering the workforce as the App Generation, Elkeles said these workers are beginning to transform the way Qualcomm thinks about its culture. Today, it’s one-size-fits-one, with people wanting their information right away.

What’s the best way people go about getting information these days? Google Search, she said. “You don’t go to the HR person. You don’t go to the policy manual. You go to search.”

In light of that, Elkeles added, Qualcomm has eliminated thousands of webpages that can now be accessed on search.

Elkeles told attendees she doesn’t know where things are going, but “we’re definitely at the beginning of something that’s big, and we know it’s going to be very disruptive.”

Apps represent the future of learning at Qualcomm, particularly for areas such as:

  • Employee orientation. (Let them download the app, before they’ve even started.)
  • Leadership development. “Your executives are mobile employees anyway,” Elkeles said.
  • Mandatory training. (Every two years, a certain number of folks at Qualcomm have to get recertified on sexual-harassment training — so by putting the training on a mobile device, they can now do it at the airport.)
  • Audio/language training. Elkeles cited the example of Café Coffee Day, an Indian coffee chain that uses an audio app to teach baristas English-language skills.

Elkeles walked attendees through a few of the apps Qualcomm has created, ranging from the entertaining (where an employee can create a photo image that shows him or her standing next to the company’s CEO) to the bit-more-practical (and also the most popular) Qmap, which enables employees to find their way around Qualcomm’s main campus and other global facilities.

3 thoughts on “Transforming Learning Through Mobile”

  1. Great summary, David. For more info about Qualcomm’s mobile learning, our team publishes case studies, and insights on

    Head of Mobile Learning at Qualcomm

    ps: the hyperlink on QMap is incorrect. It is an internal-only app.

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