Making m-learning inside companies more fun helps employees acquire knowledge. But a number of technical and practical difficulties are hindering more widespread take-up of this approach.

Even though people are talking about it more and more, learning via a mobile device has not yet become commonplace within companies. In order to push both deployment and efficiency, we need to ‘gamify’ the process, thinks Olivier Lamirault, Head of Ingenium, who was to be found at the Campus européen d'été 2011(European Summer Campus 2011) at the Cité des Savoirs event in Poitiers. According to Mr Lamirault, giving staff a gaming tool for training and learning makes it easier for them. He also stresses that “given the forecast increase in the smartphone and tablet market (half the world’s population will have a smartphone by 2015), m-learning offers huge opportunities”, such as Augmented Reality, games in 3D or online, etc, adding: “All these technologies can be used within the m-learning process.”

Practical difficulties surrounding gamification

However, making this adjustment is not always that easy. Training content in some sectors lends itself more easily to conversion into gaming than in other sectors. Olivier Lamirault also makes the point that “playing a game is a good way to learn, but depending on the difficulty and the nature of the content, it may be necessary to rely on more academic interfaces.” For example: “Lawis a field where knowledge remains very theoretical. It’s difficult to conceptualise in game form”.But in fact there are other even more basic obstacles that sometimes prevent the development of really ‘gamified’ applications.

Development conditions not always optimal  

For example it appears that the technological limitations of the medium used - graphic quality, memory size, etc - often restrict development options. At the same time, companies are often reluctant to make significant investments in applications for which they cannot see immediate advantages.  Most of the time they request the simplest possible interface, which of course means text.  Despite such reluctance, Olivier Lamirault concludes by underlining that “applying a gaming approach to m-learning will be good for companies. And to make this approach even more attractive to staff, we’re aiming to introduce a kind of competition.” Thus a staff member who scores highest on the application would be rewarded, the idea being to motivate his colleagues within the work community to emulate his performance.