Developing a Learning Culture

The More the Merrier: How Asia Mobile Crowdsources eLearning Development

What do you get when you combine a tech-hungry market with some of the brightest developers in the world?

It’s called SEAMAC: The Asia Pacific Mobile App Challenge. Over the course of the next few months, app developers will compete to create creative solutions using smartphones as the platform. From eLearning to health, social engagement to shopping, the next big thing could be a contest away. Winners receive SGD $25,000, plus a trip to Barcelona to showcase their app at the GSMA Conference there.

It’s no secret that the tech market in Asia is one of the most robust and innovative in the world. And, by meeting growing demand and expectations with a genius way to tap into the brightest stars on the app circuit, Asia Pacific Mobile is essentially crowdsourcing development.

And why not? The Asian market needs near-constant innovation, and not all the best ideas will come from big-name app developers, particularly when it comes to eLearning. It’s those developers and even hobbyists who experience microlearning, mobile learning, and social learning who are on the cusp of something big.

Asian Tech Trends

To better illustrate just how desperate the need for large-scale innovation in Asia actually is, consider these stats and predictions, as compiled by Forrester Research:

  • Tech spending is expected to increase by about 5 percent in 2015.
  • Fifty-seven percent of companies say that an increase in customer expectations is their main reason for increasing their communication tech spending.
  • With the rise of mobile messaging apps, more and more Asian organizations are focusing on mobile methods of engagement.
  • Successful companies will begin to adopt tablet and laptop-based communications, first with employees, and then for customers.

Here’s a problematic stat, however: While 82 percent of Asia-based employees prefer to view training material on their smartphones (microlearning), only 56 percent of Asian Pacific organizations have smartphone-supported eLearning materials.

Why Crowdsourcing Works

Using contests, hackathons, and crowdsourcing app development serves a dual purpose for champions of innovation: Not only does it become a meeting of fresh minds, but it serves as promotion for the various apps and developments. It’s a great way to drum up interest and bring awareness to a real need for new ideas and solutions to a market hungry for new technology.

The model isn’t unique to Asian Pacific markets, however. Here in North America, app development competitions are cropping up, sponsored by cell service providers, post-secondary institutions, and private companies. A high school team, for instance, won a Verizon-sponsored competition with Tactillim, a virtual chemistry lab.

Whether it’s a virtual classroom or corporate training delivered straight a smartphone, inviting innovation is allowing Asia Pacific to lead the pack when it comes to new tech and more importantly, new tech at work.