Case Studies

A Client Case Study: Let’s Go Mobile!

Before I get into the case study, it’s necessary to have a quick primer on what my company is known for.

Quick primer on what my company is known for:

Root, Inc. created the Learning Map®, an experience that uses self-discovery, visualization, and interactivity that revolutionized the way our clients execute strategy through their people. It includes a visual, dialogue questions, and cards that work together to engage people. Here’s a video of one of our more famous engagements With PepsiCo.

A Learning Map® is good at a couple of things:

  • It’s good at communicating a strategy to people in an engaging way.
  • It’s good at helping people understand systems and the “big picture”.
  • It’s good at creating alignment and understanding through dialogue.
  • It’s good at about 10 other things.

Now that we’ve got that over with, let’s jump into the case study.

We were working with a large company (over 100,000 people). We had built a successful Learning Map® for the client that gave employees a big picture of their organization, their culture, their competitors, and the future ahead.

However, the client ran into a problem. They were unable to put everyone through the experience. They had many employees (over half) that were in positions that were remote, constantly on the move, or it was just too difficult to get all of them under one roof to put them through an hour long experience.

So they came to us with a challenge: to build a Learning Map® that was:

  • An individual experience.
  • Mobile-first.

This posed a few challenges:

  1. There would be no visual.
  2. There would be no dialogue.
  3. There would be no cards.
  4. There would be no other people.

Basically, it would not be a Learning Map®.

We quickly realized we would have to create a totally new experience that relied on self-discovery, visualization, and interactivity, and drew out the same learning, but was not a Learning Map®.

So we did – and here’s what we learned.

  1. Less is more. Whether it’s the number of words on a screen, the number of pages per module, the number of lines on an icon, the number of taps to move forward, or the number of of colors on a screen, less is more. See Microlearning.
  2. Videos are really, really, really effective. When we piloted our mobile-first learning experience, we consistently heard that video was fun, engaging, and informative. Our users felt they learned the most when they saw a video then did an activity that let them process what they had just watched. We’re sure if we replaced the video with text with the same content, people would die of disengagement and boredom.
  3. It’s gotta be responsive. No, I don’t mean something that calls you right back. It has to work on your phone, your tablet, your laptop, and your desktop. Different people like different tech. The best way to do this is to make it a web-app. This also allows it to work on different operating systems (i.e. Apple’s vs Google’s).
  4. It’s easy to deploy. When you do a mobile-first experience that works on all platforms and all hardware, all you need to do is send a link out via email and you are golden. No chairs to set up. No people to fly in. Even if you were spend, let’s say, $1,000,000 on a mobile learning experience, if your organization has 100,000 people to reach, that’s just $10 a person. That’s a cheap date.
  5. It’s actually a pretty good way of learning. We tested this with both non-millennials and millennials (You know, those mythical creatures with 3 eyes and golden teeth from another planet?) and, in many cases, both groups felt that they retained more information through this self-paced mobile experience. They did however, miss the camaraderie and discussion from the Learning Map®.

Despite the differences mentioned above, the mobile experience still utilized

  • Visualization (videos and pictures)
  • Self-discovery (even more so), and
  • Interactivity (movable charts, quizzes, etc.)


Steven Choi works at Root, Inc. A Strategy Execution Firm. He thinks mobile learning can be effective if done right!

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