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Demand leaps for mobile learning skills

2012 has seen a sharp rise in the demand for mobile learning skills according to Blue Eskimo, the learning industry’s recruitment specialist.

While it's no secret that the world's workforce has been steadily growing more mobile, the trend of delivering learning programmes direct to untethered employees is a relatively new one.

But it seems that mobile learning is becoming mainstream. Blue Eskimo, the learning industry's leading recruitment provider, says that this year has seen a massive spike in demand for mobile learning skills.

Nick Jones, director at Blue Eskimo, says, "We'd seen steady growth in mobile learning job openings last year, but this year demand is jumping off the chart. It's driven by the need to reach workers where they are. According to IDC, over a third of the world's workers will be mobile by 2013 - and the Learning & Performance Institute's Learning Survey 2012 says that 39% of companies are looking to adopt mobile learning."

As you'd expect, a core part of the demand is for skills which directly relate to mobile learning - such as HTML5. "The previous technological mainstay of e-learning, Flash, has some unique challenges when it comes to mobile learning," says Jones. "On the one hand, iOS devices simply don't support Flash, a major inhibitor to the adoption of mobile learning. On the other hand, support for HTML5 on mobile devices is superb. By 2016, it's estimated that there will be over two billion HTML5-capable mobile devices. So it's no surprise that HTML5 development is in such demand - but this is now spilling over into the learning industry."

But the growth in demand for mobile skills is broader than that. The move towards mobile learning is creating change through all parts of an organisation's learning strategy - everything from the deployment of learning management systems, through to formulating a learning strategy and creating a framework for instructional design.

"We're seeing various aspects of mobile learning cropping up on a wide range of job descriptions," says Jones. "We're even seeing new roles being created, where an organisation is placing a great focus on using mobile technologies to train their workforce and need someone in charge of the mobile learning strategy. And most roles now have mobile learning included somewhere in their job spec."

The question still remains whether mobile learning is a flash-in-the-pan fad, but Jones doesn't think so. "Just as learning moved towards e-learning, e-learning is moving mobile," concludes Jones. "When you factor in laptops, computing is mostly mobile - with the majority of that using tablets and phones. And, where the workforce goes, learninghasto follow. It's really this simple - a future-proof learning strategy is one deliverable by tablets and mobiles."

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