Mobile learning has found a champion in the global law firm Eversheds. According to Eversheds’ learning and development specialist, Tim Drewitt, who was speaking at a seminar held at BMA House, Tavistock Square, in London on 15th June and organised by LMMatters, Eversheds’ staff are using their previously unproductive ‘waiting time’ to carry out CPD activities via learning materials delivered through mobile devices.
Drewitt explained that, by May 2011, Eversheds’ lawyers had not only become used to learning at their desktop in ‘smaller chunks’ but they had also come to prefer learning that way. This means that they spend less time away from their desks on ‘learning related activities’.
They also had accrued 30,000 hours of ‘waiting time’ over the previous year – waiting in airports or train stations, travelling on trains, and so on. This has become discretionary learning time – with a consequent increase in the amount of learning materials being made available to them via mobile devices such as Blackberrys and iPods.
“We began using learning technologies to deliver leadership and management development learning materials in 2008/09,” said Drewitt. “Following a ‘soft launch’ in 2010/11, our next step – for 2011/12 – is extending and embedding this approach within the organisation.
He continued: “2008/09, with Eversheds was downsizing due to the recession, offered an ideal opportunity to introduce staff to rapid e-learning materials, along with webinars and virtual classrooms to help reduce travel costs and time away from work. In that period we delivered some 500,000 minutes of legal training via e-learning to the company’s 45,000 or so employees – including 350 partners – working from 48 offices around the world.
Comment: This is exactly the sort of ‘good news’ case study that the learning technologies world needs.
For years, theorists and apologists for the use of learning technologies have argued that this form of learning was flexible enough to be available on demand, when and where it was needed or convenient to learn. Yet rarely has any company – let alone one from the legal profession – permitted an insight into its learning practices as Eversheds has. The company’s strategy of enhancing productivity by using its staff’s inevitable waiting time to enhance their knowledge and skills via mobile learning is a shining example which other companies – particularly large ones – should take to heart and try to emulate.