A lot of articles have been written explaining the benefits and opportunities that mLearning offers companies looking to train their workforce. But a company is more than just its employees—it’s also its partners, suppliers, vendors, clients, and customers. This non-employee external audience is called your “extended enterprise,” and mLearning provides the capability to disseminate knowledge and training, grow branding, and provide support for each group.
Why Extended Enterprise Learning Is Important
Knowledge is power. A lot of time and effort is spent training employees to make sure they understand your product and how it pertains to their role in the company. However, it’s not always the case that those employees are selling your product directly, nor are they your targeted customers. So why not extend training and learning to your extended enterprise?
Training partners showcases your company’s values and priorities and provides information about your products and services, which in turn, clarifies how your business can help them as well as how they can help your business.
Training vendors on how to best use a product or providing key information about the qualities and features that separate your product from its competitors increases the likelihood of that vendor selling your product. The vendor gets an opportunity to see firsthand the benefits you’re providing and is more able to relay that information to the customer.
Training customers on how best to use your product ensures they get the optimal experience with their purchase and are much more likely to recommend it to friends, renew subscriptions, and establish brand loyalty for future purchases.
All those measurable benefits aside, by making clear your company’s values and demonstrating your products’ benefits across your extended enterprise, you’re more likely to build loyal and profitable relationships, strengthen your brand, and increase revenue.
How mLearning Can Help
Mobile technology has revolutionized the way we consume media and acquire information. Just about everything is on-demand these days, as mobile devices increasingly become an extension of ourselves and our knowledge. And mobile learning—or mLearning—uses that technology to deliver learning and training materials to anyone at any time.
See also: eLearning, mLearning, and Microlearning Breakdown
Part of the difficulty of leveraging extended enterprise learning came from the inability to reach extended audiences effectively. But as mLearning develops and becomes more accessible, this is no longer the case. Companies can now develop engaging content and disseminate information and training across every level of their organization and extended enterprise with ease.
Which is why mLearning is so convenient. Mobile devices are perfect for consuming small chunks of multimedia content at the point of need. Imagine if your vendors had a detailed, searchable product catalog with key features and sales information at their fingertips anytime a customer asked a question they couldn’t answer. Or what if your customers could access a VR demonstration of your product and its different features to help them decide on their purchase? Making sure everyone in your extended audience is informed ensures your company’s values and priorities are clear and your extended enterprise is organized and streamlined.
An additional benefit is that developing an extended enterprise learning program doesn’t necessarily require a huge up-front investment. It’s likely that your company can leverage your existing training platform, repurpose training and mLearning materials designed for employees, and tweak them to cater to your extended audiences.
Remember, however, that the learners in your extended enterprise are not required to engage with your content but are pursuing this content voluntarily. So any extended enterprise learning needs to focus on engaging and easily consumable content, and you need to build meaningful incentives into your plan to ensure your extended audience arrives at your content and uses it effectively. Identify your external audiences and determine which of them would benefit from training and how you might best serve them with mLearning.
Extended enterprise learning is becoming a necessary strategy for successful business. Making sure your entire organization—including those extended audiences—is on the same page is important in increasing sales and revenue, growing brand awareness and clarity, and ensuring organizational success.