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5 Ways the iPad [Did or Didn't] Transform Marketing, Part 3 – Talent Development & Training

Organizations with productive learning cultures see lifts of up to 12% in employee performance and 3.2% increase in profit, according to a recent CEB Survey, proving the importance of investing in effective development programs.

Well, you might be wondering: “Why is TopRight talking about learning and development, if they are a strategic marketing consulting firm?”

During this five-part series, we are assessing our predictions from 2010 on how the iPad would become a “Killer Platform” with an extensive enterprise adoption. In short, after iPad’s five-years launch anniversary, it’s time to review the impact of its adoption in various business scenarios, including Customer Empowerment, Complex Sales, Talent Development and Training, Entertainment and Edutainment, and Value Chain Optimization.

With the evidence of multiple business cases, our predictions for the first two chapters of this series turned out to be a FACT. Industry leaders such as Mercedes-Benz, Delta and Hyatt proved to use the tablet technology not only to empower customers and create compelling customer experiences through visualization, self-guided experiences, and payment processing, but also to streamline complex sales process.

What about the third business application: “Talent Development & Learning”? Will we score three for three or will our predictions turn out to be fiction?

3. The role of iPad for Talent Development and Training

Considering iPad’s several features, we suggested that it would be the ideal platform for developing and training people anytime, anywhere. Its large screen, lightweight, portability, easy-to-use and rich media capabilities would allow businesses to deliver interactive and effective development programs.

Based on our predictions from 2010, training programs could benefit from real-time updates, live demonstrations, “consult an expert” and interactive Q&A sessions. The most prevalent use would likely occur in companies with complex products or solutions and those that sell through multi-tier distribution chan­nels. Industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and technology appeared to most likely to benefit.

Were our predictions Fact or Fiction?

Neither fact, nor fiction. Although companies have increasingly integrated the use of iPad and tablet technology in their development programs, the adoption rate is still very low and lags behind other business areas.

Mobile applications and tablet technology have supported HR functions, with vast adoption over the last years. HR managers are now using tablets to expedite transactions and interact with employees, not only in recruiting or performance management, but also in training & development, delivering learning modules on mobile devices.

According to CedarCrestone’s HR Systems Survey, there was a 90% increase in mobile adoption across all HR processes over the last two years, with a 65% growth forecasted for the next year. Learning and development is among the most popular mobile-enabled HR processes. Despite significant growth, mobile adoption in HR processes still lag behind other business areas, particularly in Learning & Development with only 24% of adoption.

Mobile-enabled HR Process Adoption


Mobile-enabled Talent Management Process Adoption – Today & Next 12 Months


Source: Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey

The Opportunity

The average organization loses $130M in annual productivity by investing in unproductive learning events. Outdated development efforts are not meeting employee’s expectations of dynamic learning experiences. According to CEB, 57% of employees expect learning to be “just in time” and 79% of employees expect the majority of learning to happen outside of the classroom.

“It’s so easy to participate on these development programs and then when you come back to your desk, your everyday job just takes over… and before you notice, the skills that you had learned and the advices taken are all forgotten…”
~Sarvita Setti, Commercial Finance Director at Coca-Cola NWEN

There is a great opportunity for companies to use the tablet technology, especially for training millennials and tech-savvy employees, enabling a continuous learning experience through an interactive platform. In fact, statistical analysis has shown that greater access to mobile-enabled processes correlates with improved employee engagement.

Flippin’ Pizza, a New York–style pizza chain, teamed up with Clave Media to develop an iPad app that features 2-minute training videos to train younger, tech-savvy staff members. An employee can be trained on various areas, from how to make pizza to customer service and other job functions.

“The iPad is the perfect tool to resonate with the staff demographic, which will result in retaining more high quality employees.”
~Curtis Clave, founder of Clave Media

Another huge opportunity in Leadership Development is the gamification: the development of training programs in the format of games. It applies e-Learning techniques and take attributes like puzzles and competition to create compelling learning experiences. Companies can use iPads to enable these fun and engaging activities, while teaching the key skills and competencies for better leaders.

NTT Data created the Ignite Leadership game to develop five key skills, including negotiation, communication, time management, change management and problem solving. 




Coca-Cola developed Go4gold, a simulation game designed for training leadership and management skills. Each leader becomes a swimming team coach and coordinates different activities to keep their team members engaged, with the ultimate goal to become the winner of the competition. The coaches are ranked among their peers, based on specific criteria, to evaluate their leadership skills effectiveness.



“High-quality online games such as Go4Gold have a huge potential to revolutionize the way organizations address the challenge of creating impactful learning experiences in a complex, ever-changing business environment.”
~Stefanie Teichmann, Group Strategy Director at Coca-Cola Europe

Although our predictions have not been fully validated at this third chapter of our series, we confirmed that there are many opportunities in training and development to integrate the iPad technology and create compelling learning experiences.

Next week we’ll review the forth chapter of our series: “Entertainment & Edutainment.” We will assess the use of iPad as a vehicle of entertainment, education and information sharing. Were our predictions fact or fiction? Stay tuned to find out.

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Photo Credit: U.S. Naval War College

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