What can mobile learning providers learn from the mobile gaming explosion?

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I’ve got a number that should give pause to all L&D professionals out there agonizing over take-up and completion rates on their latest learning initiative: 62%. Yes, 62% – that’s the percentage of smartphone users (and there are now an estimated 2.75 billion of them worldwide) who will download a mobile game within a week of getting a new phone.

“Go mobile” !

So as Paris Games Week draws to a close here in France, I’m drawn back to a theme which as a Learning & Development specialist but also as a lifelong gamer has fascinated me for a while. That theme is the parallels – or lack of them – between the extraordinary explosion of mobile gaming and the attempts of the L&D industry to “go mobile”.

The raw numbers of mobile gaming are of course impressive. According to May 2017 research figures from Mediakix, the industry was worth total revenues of over 40 billion US dollars in 2016 with mobile games representing more than a third of the total apps available on the Apple AppStore and approximately three-quarters of the AppStore’s total revenues.

Mobile learning: mobile gaming trends

Mobile gaming trends

Dig deeper into the statistics, and you find insight into user behaviour that is arguably even more thought-provoking. By early 2017, Mediakix states, mobile gaming accounts for 43% of all time spent on mobile app usage on smartphones. That’s an increase of 15% in the last year in the US alone, where the average adult now spends an estimated 23 minutes a day playing mobile games.

So what is mobile gaming doing right that the L&D industry could learn from?

Here are just three thoughts to get us started:

  • Mobile gaming is not just appealing to gamers – it’s appealing to everyone, which requires a careful blend of simplicity, accessibility and sophistication.
  • Mobile games are designed to find their place in users’ daily lifestyle – just look around the compartment of your commuter train for proof of that.
  • Mobile games look, feel and play nothing like their counterparts on other platforms.

In a series of upcoming articles, we’ll take a more detailed look at how some of these principles could be applied to build mobile learning apps that everyone will love as much as they clearly love their mobile games.



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