Scott Robison doesn't like to waste time when he is traveling for his job as the strategic account sales manager for Johnson Health Tech, which manufactures gym and fitness center equipment. So instead of sitting in airports and remaining idle, he frequently goes to his iPad tablet or laptop and logs in for online training about his company's products and services.
Johnson Health Tech, which has eight different fitness equipment brands, provides online training to its approximately 1,300 employees and some 3,700 other customer and distributor users from Mindflash, which also offers access via mobile devices.
"It gives me the ability to take those courses in a much more flexible manner, whether I am at an airport or on a train or whatever," Robison said of the mobile coursework. The employees on his team also can use it to train on new products, improve their sales skills or analyze comparisons of their products to those of competitors, even when they are traveling, he said. "It can help people sell more."
Karen Spillman, the practice manager at the Virginia location of Capital Women's Care, a private OB/GYN practice that has some 30 locations in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as more than 100 doctors, said she also likes mobile training because it is easy to use and convenient, allowing workers to get trained without having to drive long distance to far-off offices.
"I take advantage of being able to do that on my own time so I am not interrupted," said Spillman. The training at the practice includes upgrades to practice management systems that include electronic charts and more.
"We're out here in the hinterlands … so I don't want to have to cancel an entire day of appointments for a physician [or other employee] so they can drive to an office" for training, she said. "That's one of the beauties of it."
The 780 employees of CWC can access the browser-based, cloud-stored Mindflash mobile training materials on a tablet, laptop, iPhone or Android phone, which makes it convenient for workers, she said.
Jocelyn Vande Velde, the director of education and sales training at Johnson Health Tech, estimated that about 30 to 40 percent of the company's users are taking advantage of the mobile training from Mindflash.
"It's definitely helped address the issue of making sure that we are getting the same info to everyone globally" within the company and its 20 business units around the world, she said. "It's a significant improvement."
Robison, the strategic account sales manager for Johnson, said he also likes the ability to be able to refer back to the lessons and tests he's taken on his mobile devices as a kind of refresher course in the months following his original training.
"We had a course back in March, an industry training session before a big trade show," he said. "We showed all these products and then took the course. Three months later the products were available and we can pop back on to the class and review the course just before selling them. It's a great reference."
The online training industry also includes vendors such as Litmos and Digital Chalk, as well as others.
Donna Wells, the CEO of Mindflash, told eWEEK that recent data gathered by her company from some 250,000 online training classes showed that mobile learning is especially growing over weekends, and that mobile learners are more active from the time their offices close until about midnight.
"It's a $130 billion annual market for corporate training," said Wells. "It's growing quickly because companies are trying to scale their businesses up without equally increasing their costs for training. Employee and customer training can be an incredibly expensive thing for businesses."