Enterprise AppStores – for LEARNING!

by Geoff Stead

AppStore as a Toolbox

Question: How do you scale your enterprise mobile learning from one or two good apps, to a company wide mobile strategy?

Answer: At Qualcomm, we use an Enterprise App Store for Learning

We work daily with mobile, and there seem to be two very different models for mobile learning emerging across the industry:

  1. the swiss army knife: The one, single app that consolidates all learning function into one app
  2. the toolbox: A container that holds many different apps, each specialising in it’s own area.

Both are good, but the implications for big organizations like ours are dramatically different.

QC ML for elrnawards_v6

The Swiss Army knife approach is a great launchpad into mobile learning. You would typically have one vendor providing all your platforms, and tools. And if you are confident that all of your mobile interactions with learners will fit the approach offered by your app. But if you add too many features, and try to make it be too many things at once, you break the basic rule of apps. “Keep it simple!”

The swiss army knife doesn’t work for us at all.

At Qualcomm, the definition of “learning” is broad. We work with hundreds of specialist vendors covering a massive range of content areas. Our employee base has a wide range of learning needs, and are focused on getting what they need, when they need it. Less that 1/3 of our learning offerings to employees would fit into the traditional “L&D” or Training model. Employees can buy books; find their own off-site courses; Attend expert masterclasses by colleagues; view recorded sessions on our company video channel; Take part in “fireside chats” with our top execs, or use one of several utility apps to help their day go better.

There is no way we could possibly fit all of this into one app. Nor would it make any sense for us to restrict our provision to one core vendor, or platform.  This is why we use the toolbox approach. Our Employee AppStore is a toolbox, containing many different apps, from different suppliers. Different apps, for different use cases:

  • Access to specialist learning sites, like PluralSite, Coursera, Lynda
  • Access to Qualcomm video channels
  • Course-type apps for compliance training
  • Performance support and utility apps. Some free. Some licensed. Some built by Qualcomm employees.

Our toolbox is more than a simple box, though. Our employee appstore allows us to distribute cross platform apps, reaching out to almost any employee device. It works on phones, on tablets, and even on desktops, though admittedly with a reduced number of apps!

We’ve been getting a lot of interest in our appstore recently, so here’s a couple of articles covering it:

TD TD Magazine, August 20014


ILT Inside Learning Technologies, May 2014


If you’d like a deeper insight into our strategy, see this expert insight interview with Geoff, or catch this recording of a recent presentation we did:


What do you think? Would a learning AppStore work for your org? What’s stopping you?

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