September 01, 2011
Training Tip 15: Mobile Learning Options
Fueled by the widespread adoption of smartphones, iPods and similar devices, Mobile Learning, aka MLearning, has become a major educational trend. Such training is frequently delivered in the form of "MP3" files, delivered through a mechanism knownn as "podcasts." While Apple iPods are wonderful devices and seem ubiquitous, it's important to note that nearly any smartphone (iPhone, Droid, etc.) or personal computer can also play podcasts with the help of earphones or speakers. The USA.gov web site has a section explaining podcasts.
Many organizations are taking advantage of this new training vehicle. For example, the Legal Talk Network distributes podcasts of interest to lawyers, and legal technology guru Dennis Kennedy has an article about the value of listening to podcasts. Previous IEC Journal posts have provided examples of the successful use of MP3 files or podcasts by other respected organizations:
- American Bar Association
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
- Government Accountability Office
- Project for Government Oversight (POGO)
The latest POGO example is a lecture by the Office of Special Counsel's (OSC) Adam Miles, who reviews OSC's interaction with federal whistleblowers. This training was originally part of a series POGO provides to educate congressional staffers. Other podcasts from the same series are available.
The Office of Government Ethics has also at least put its toe into the water, having prepared a podcast of "the Senate-confirmed nominations process and video clips that provide scenarios for discussion during training sessions on ethics restrictions on seeking employment."
We see the biggest value of podcasts as a low-cost, low-hassle supplement to the rest of your ethics program, including a way of reaching certain "high value targets" like senior managers, many of whom are into multi-tasking. With so many prestigious organizations using them successfully for other training, this appears to be an area with enormous untapped potential for ethics trainers.
In a future column, we will share nuts and bolts information on creating podcasts to make it easier for those inclined to explore this exciting new training option. In the meantime, we encourage any federal ethics trainers already using it to share with the IEC Journal any products we can distribute to other agencies.