What worries me about learning in retail?




I have been reading a lot today about learning in the retail environment.  E learning has been around for some time.   The new kid on the block is m learning.  Trouble is what most people seem to miss are the key elements that make m learning work.

Let’s just take a sanity check here

Stand up delivery.  Putting aside all the issues like time off work and cost.  A “good trainer / presenter” who knows there subject on the right day is hard to beat, but already we introduce variables.


Then what happens after the training day is over?  There is a huge volume of research that demonstrates clearly the speed at which information is forgotten if not embedded.  In the main time and money mean that embedding won’t happen.  So why invest in training at all?

What about e learning?  I have yet to meet someone, who has been on the receiving end that said e learning was a good solution, apart from people selling it.  I have no doubt that there is some good e learning out there, I have yet to see it.  For me e learning became on on-line version of classroom training, as in cut and paste your power point and clip art in here.

Then we have m learning.  Needless to say I’m a fan but also a worried one.  M learning is in danger of going the same way of e learning as in we already have a course in that; let’s just cut and paste it in.  It’s that attitude that will ruin a perfectly good technology.

Mobile devices today are media devices perfectly able to receive what most of us know as a TV or radio programme and it’s for that reason that cut and paste will not work.  If it looks like TV or sounds like radio people will expect the content to be of a same or better standard.  M learning needs its own specific type of content and it needs professionals to produce and deliver it.

I recently read an article from a company explaining the limitations and reasons not to get involved with m learning.  The same old same old.  Not all devices can play video.  The cost of content creation.  What they should have said is that they don’t understand the means of delivery or content creation.

So to finish just some facts to consider for yourself.

  • More tablets are now sold than desktop PC’s, have you got one?
  • 99.9% of the population have one or more mobile phones, what’s in your pocket?Tesco shopping trolley
  • 76% of the population in the UK have a smart phone, look at the trouble blackberry is in.
  • Google has owned Youtube for more than ten years, ever wondered why they bought it?
  • Today the internet is a broadcast channel and will continue to be so, have you noticed the number of videos that come up in search results?
  • Most people prefer to watch than read.  Well?
  • M learning works in a PC anyway!

Take away from this

I could go on but I won’t.  All I hope is that if you are one of those people in retail that sees the possibilities that m learning can offer please do your research and ask the right questions to the right people.  M learning is the new kid on the block and has a great future providing we don’t cut and paste the way they did with e learning and expect it to work.

About the Author


John is a Sony Award winning journalist, presenter and producer. He has worked in traditional broadcast environments both in radio and TV. He has been involved in the internet since God was a boy or girl, depending on your point of view, and can remember when we all got excited about the fact that Netscape could blink text! He is a qualified teacher and lecturers in digital media. He has trained journalists in the BBC in media production and editing. He has worked in PR and marketing with most of the major brands. Built and won awards for on-line communication solutions. He is also a qualified Seventeenth Edition Electrical Engineer. It’s a long story... This year he became a qualified WorldHost Trainer. Now he is the MD of Coffee Cup Training. “I would like to think with my experience and ability in communication I can bring something new and exciting to the training environment”. Please feel free to comment on anything and if you have something to offer others we would like to hear from you.

Leave a Reply