Qatari researchers develop the country's first mobile learning app.

In Qatar, the oil and gas industry is about to experience a game-changer: mobile learning. Researchers at Qatar University and Canada's Athabasca University are collaborating on a mobile app that will provide performance support to oil and gas company employees. This is the first mobile app to be used for professional training in Qatar, and possibly in the oil and gas industry worldwide.

It was recently tested by 30 employees at Qatar Petroleum and received encouraging feedback. The employees, who often are out in the field where there is no Internet connectivity, can use the app to access technical English-language terms specific to the energy sector, improving their communication skills on the job.

"Employees reported that they like the flexibility that mobile learning provides," says Mohammed Samaka, co-lead researcher on the project at Qatar University. "Downloading the app on their mobile devices allowed the workers to control when they can access training materials. This is important because in some workplaces there is limited access to networks, making it difficult for workers to receive training."

Samaka and his team of researchers expect the benefits of their mobile learning template to extend beyond the oil and gas industry. They also are testing their product in the academic sector to help students learn English.

Ultimately, the mobile learning project supports the Qatar National Vision 2030, which outlines the country's challenges and goals for the upcoming decades. One of these goals is to nurture a knowledge-based economy through learning and knowledge dissemination.

"Economic growth depends heavily on the quality of the workforce," says Samaka. He and his team hope that their mobile learning research will move the country closer to realizing its vision.