You’ve seen how important mobility can be to training. You want your employees to be able to access their training materials with ease and convenience; to complete their training with minimal disturbance to their daily routine. So, where do you go from here?
The next step is to decide on a comprehensive device policy that meets your needs without introducing complications. Without a specific policy, you stand to lose out on the advantages of using a consistent approach across the organization, and your employees lose out on the mobility you’re hoping for.
Choosing the right device policy for training
Okay, here’s where things start to resemble a drunken alphabet! But we’ll take it slow. Let’s compare the four main types of device mobility policies: BYOD, CYOD, COPE, and COBO.
This is the policy you’re most likely already familiar with: Bring Your Own Device. The idea is simply that every employee uses their own device, whether that’s a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, to access the organization’s networks and platforms, like the LMS.
BYOD is the most flexible device policy from the employees’ point of view. Employees already know how to operate their own devices, are comfortable with the ins and outs of the system, and can focus on getting the most out of their training.
BYOD can be cost-effective for the organization, too. This leaves more spend on training and other applications. It can also minimize the organization’s maintenance overhead because individuals can take responsibility for keeping their own devices operational.
With great flexibility comes great unpredictability! The sheer variety of devices that enter the organization can make it challenging to design courses that work for everyone.
For example, content that works beautifully on an iPhone might completely bug-out on an Android tablet – even when you’ve applied responsive design. This means that the learning development team either has to limit training to super simple, predictable formats (such as text) or conduct extensive testing for reliability across almost every brand and device.
Finally, you can’t ignore the security implications of a BYOD policy: every device that logs onto the organization’s systems presents a point of attack. If you do choose a BYOD policy, be prepared to beef up your cybersecurity resources.
CYOD is BYOD ’s slightly more uptight, but still accessible cousin. CYOD stands for Choose Your Own Device, but the devices are procured and managed by the organization.
With CYOD, employees get to choose what they’re comfortable with. Just as with BYOD, this should limit the degree to which ‘learning to use a device’ stands in the way of ‘using the device for learning.’
Giving employees a choice in their devices is likely to boost morale, and we all know that employee morale can make or break a training program.
And, because employees choose devices from a predetermined selection, CYOD limits the degree to which a variety of manufacturers and models can impact training display and functionality. So, this helps to cut down on the time required for testing and redesign.
A variety of devices still has more significant implications for training design and online implementation than designing for one predetermined operating system.
With CYOD, all the devices belong to the organization, which means that it must be prepared to keep up maintenance on all devices.
Plus, whenever there are a range of devices, operating systems, and applications to consider, the “attack surface” for cybercriminals increases. A CYOD approach will therefore also require a substantial cybersecurity effort.
COPE policy is one where devices are Company Owned but Personally Enabled. This means that employees are allowed to use company-issued devices for personal phone calls, emails, and so on.
The most obvious benefit of a COPE policy is that employees don’t have to juggle a second device for personal use. Afterall, two ringing phones is never better than one.
The company also has greater control over the manufacturer, model, and even software installations and versioning on each device. This is a significant advantage for managing cybersecurity over a policy like BYOD.
If a company procures all their devices from the same manufacturers, the design and testing of training courses and choice of training platforms are also vastly simplified. With fewer device types to consider, you can leverage more interesting content types and multimedia formats with confidence that they’ll work just right.
Depending on the usage agreement for the devices, the organization will need to conduct monitoring to check that employees aren’t breaking the rules of acceptable personal use, which can cost the IT team many productive hours.
To maintain sufficient cybersecurity measures, corporations should offer comprehensive training to employees on the guidelines of the COPE policy, as well as how to avoid those security risks that may be introduced by the applications they install for personal use.
Finally, a COBO or Company Owned, Business Only policy, means that the company chooses the devices for employees and prohibits personal use.
By far the biggest advantage is that a COBO policy offers the highest level of security because there are fewer unpredictable factors to consider. This policy is a virtual lockdown of devices and all the information that they hold.
COBO again limits device options. This allows trainers to be more adventurous in their content design, without wasting hours on testing for functionality and display across different devices.
A COBO policy requires a high degree of monitoring to ensure that employees aren’t using devices for personal purposes. And of course, this can be resource intensive.
An organization may need to issue several devices to each employee, such as a laptop and mobile phone or tablet to maintain sufficient mobility to make training genuinely accessible and convenient.
Employees may resent such strict regulation of their device use. So, it’s crucial that you provide them with convincing reasons to stick to the policy, and that they understand how the policy benefits them and the company.
A powerful LMS drives effective training with any device policy
Whether you let employees bring their trusted devices from home or choose to implement a strict COBO policy, you’ll always need a powerful Learning Management System (LMS) for training. A powerful LMS that offers a full range of mobile features and content choices will make training more convenient and attractive to your employees, no matter the device or mobility policy.
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