Will You Be Sending Learning Via Text Message?

millenials text messaging comic courtesy of chris madden
I got my text message that Joe Biden will be the Democratic Vice President candidate at 3:00 am on Saturday, August 23rd. And YES I could not help but think about the now famous TV commercial about ensuring the next President of the USA is qualified enough to take “that” 3:00 am phone call in the White House.

So I started to think about how explosive the growth of text messaging has been whether you are a Millennial or trying to synch up with today’s Millennials. There’s no doubt about it: Millennials have abandoned email in favor of texting and instant messaging. So here are a few questions to ask yourself and your team members:

  • How will the growing usage of texting impact our world of learning & development (especially in light of how Millennials are addicted to texting.
  • Will CEO’s be sending updates to their teams via texting instead of emails?
  • Will we be texting short updates of knowledge via a text?

Some quick research gives us a context for the explosive growth of text messaging:

According to Gartner the number of text messages sent to and from mobile phones will more than double over the next two years to 2.3 trillion messages sent by 2010. The number of messages transmitted over short message service (SMS) systems in 2005 was estimated at $936 billion, according to Gartner. Total revenues from text messaging is forecast to grow to $72.5 billion in 2010 from $39.5 million. In fact marketers across a number of industries such as hotels, travel,and food chains are gearing up for text message marketing. Rationale: they see how consumers are always “on-the-go,” and increasingly rely more heavily on their cell phones as their main communication device.

China tops the average number of text messages sent by text users. Chinese sent almost 430 billion text messages last year, approximately 1000 per cell phone user.

There are some interesting examples of companies who are leveraging texting into new hire programs — one case in point is Ernst & Young, a company that has been a magnet for Millennials.

E&Y regularly sends out messages from senior executives and welcome notes from the CEO to new hires via text. Will texting be the next mode of delivery for short bursts of learning?

Take the poll in the column to the right to see how many texts our readers are sending/receiving in a month.

Share how this will impact learning & development.

[tags]texting, gartner, smsing, corporate learning, millennials[/tags]

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About Jeanne Meister

Jeanne C. Meister is a best selling author of three books, internationally recognized consultant and keynote speaker. Jeanne is Partner of Future Workplace, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting organizations in re-thinking, re-imagining and re-inventing the workplace. Jeanne was recently voted by her peers as one of the 20 top influential training professionals in the United States. Jeanne’s name is synonymous with the establishment and institutionalization of global corporate universities. Jeanne is the author of three books, Corporate Quality Universities and Corporate Universities. Jeanne’s latest book is, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Collins, 2010) is in its 10th printing.No information is provided by the author.


  1. joe

    Usually an early adopter, I will not be using texting as a delivery method for instruction. I’d rather draw pictures on cave walls.

  2. I agree with Joe. Although texting might work well for PR-type messaging, I can’t imagine it would work well as a learning delivery tool.

  3. Rebecca Frazee

    Depends on what you consider “learning.” Text messaging can and is being used for just in time learning and coaching. Just before action, a coach might “push” a message reminding the individual of lessons learned in training or discussed during their last coaching session. Or, the employee might reach out to the coach for a confidence booster, or to validate that a chosen course of action is “the right thing to do.”

    I just completed research on e-coaching in organizations. Please contact me to continue this discussion.

    –Rebecca Vaughan Frazee rfrazee@rohan.sdsu.edu

  4. Texting is great for reminders for teams and classes. It’s also great for sending quick bits of information.

    If you’re having trouble with the “lingo” there is a great translator at http://www.noslang.com and http://www.textsendr.com will even translate your text message before sending it.

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