One of the biggest mistakes I made when first pursuing Mobile Learning was pursuing it on my own. I really wish I would’ve spent time building relationships with advocates, partners, and allies who could help me realize my vision.
Embarking on a major technology initiative requires multiple partners at many levels of seniority and influence. You may think that, since your ideas are related to Learning, you have to manage every aspect of the initiative–including budget, device strategy, infrastructure, use cases, security, testing, and implementation… But let’s be realistic: it’s impossible for one person (or even one department) to address all of the challenges associated with mobile.
If you spend time upfront identifying key partners, building strategic relationships, and learning about what other departments in your organization are doing related to Mobile, your efforts will feel much less overwhelming (and you’ll likely make a lot more progress).
Find key partners from the following areas that share your vision, see the value in what you are proposing, and are willing to act as strong advocates:
- Your direct leader: Having a boss who deeply understands and confidently advocates for your work is critical to the success of any Mobile initiative you might be pursuing. If your boss doesn’t spend time seeking to understand what you’re trying to do, they won’t be able to advocate for you when needed.
- Senior Leaders/’Decision Makers’ in your department: Spend time getting to know what’s important to them NOW, as well as 3-5 years from now. Think about how you might ‘tell the story’ about your vision for Mobile Learning so it fits in with their overall goals. Be sure to highlight specifically how Mobile Learning will drive productivity, reduce workload, or save money. If you don’t have a direct line to senior leaders, work with your boss to determine how you might approach getting them on board.
NOTE: Timing is everything here! Remember, senior leaders have hundreds of decisions to make every day; what makes your initiative more important than all the others right now?
- Information Technology (IT) Department: Let’s face it. You won’t get very far in any technology initiative without IT’s support. Finding a partner in IT will help give you visibility to what other Mobile projects are underway within your organization. Chances are, IT is already addressing many of the challenges I listed above. You’ll also likely find yourself up against a large number of projects competing for dollars. It’s critical to have someone in the IT organization who understands your vision, sees its value to the organization, and can clearly advocate for your efforts when asked.
- Other areas outside the Learning team: Find out what other areas are already doing Mobile projects. Learn what’s working well, and what challenges they are facing. Talking to other teams will not only help you get ideas for your own efforts; it will also help you determine where you might be able to integrate Mobile Learning into apps or mobile tools that already exist for your learners. Key areas to explore might include your web development team, marketing, and/or communications.
Taking time to build your ‘board of advocates’ will pay huge dividends when it comes time to get your project approved and underway. If you don’t focus on this step, you’ll spend a lot of time pushing your project uphill with very little momentum.
I hope you’re enjoying this blog series; comment below to let me know what else you might like to hear about related to Mobile Learning!