My own mobile learning journey continues to go from strength to strength and I’m keen to take you along for the ride. As part of my work as Head of Mobile Learning I know I would say this, but I believe that mobile technology is the way forward in e-learning.
Recently I was involved in some research with Dr Chris Davies, Head of the E-learning Research Group at Oxford University, and Professor John Traxler, the UK’s only Professor of Mobile Learning.
The findings of the research set out the different benefits of mobile learning. Some are obvious – convenience and flexibility – but others are less obvious, such as the immediacy of feedback leading to speedier remediation, and the ability to reference material in supporting decision making. And here they are, the 24 benefits of mobile learning to convince you to start thinking about your future mobile solutions (if you haven’t started already that is!)
1. Convenience and flexibility: mobile learning can be accessed anywhere, at any time: at the exact moment learning is required.
2.Relevance: mobile learning enables training to be ‘situated rather than simulated’ and so it makes learning possible at the point of need.
3.Learner control: the always-available nature of mobile learning empowers learners to take the initiative and direct their own learning activities.
4.Good use of ‘dead time’: mobile learning can happen during ‘dead time’, while travelling or waiting for a meeting to start.
5. Fits many different learning styles: reading (text and graphics), video, animation, working through decision trees, listening to podcasts, contributing to discussions (forums or SMS), researching on the internet, choosing the correct answer (text or photograph), rating skills on a diagnostic… are all means for offering learning on mobile devices.
6.Improves social learning (i.e. communicating with peers and experts): SMS texting reminders, knowledge sharing forums, ‘ask a question’ forms and the use of telephony are all means to enable interaction between peers and tutors using mobile devices.
7.Encourages reflection: the voice recorder on many mobile devices enables effortless and instantaneous recording of thoughts and opinions.
8.Easy evidence collection: the portability of mobile devices makes them readily available for collecting portfolio evidence via audio, still or video camera.
9.Supported decision making: mobile devices offer timely access to information, which enables the quick double-checking of a decision, and so better professional judgements.
10.Speedier remediation: mobile learning enables forgotten or mistakenly remembered information to be speedily accessed and redressed.
11.Improved learner confidence: short nuggets of learning offered on mobile devices, accessed prior to meetings or beginning tasks, improves learners’ confidence in their skills.
12.Easily digestable learning: the small screen minimises the amount of information that can be offered to a learner at any given time, and so avoids cognitive overload.
13.Heightened engagement: quick-fire knowledge or mobile assessments/quizzes, in between other kinds of training activities, keeps learning fresh and at the forefront of learners’ minds, making success more likely.
14.Better planning for face-to-face sessions: quick pre-assessments via mobile devices, prior to face-to-face sessions, enable trainers to determine learners’ level of knowledge and plan their sessions accordingly.
15.Great for induction: induction on mobile devices enables learning to be contextualised to the exact spot in a workplace it makes reference to.
16.Elimination of technological barriers: the use of a learner’s own mobile device means they are already familiar with the technology, eliminating technological barriers to accessing learning.
17.Designed once; delivered across multiple platforms: mobile learning developed using a mobile authoring tool allows for a single design to be delivered across platforms to many different devices.
18. Easily trackable via Wi-Fi: mobile learning can be designed with an offline capability that enables tracking data to be saved if connectivity is lost, and then synchronised when a wireless connection is available again.
19. Cost-effective build: mobile learning is cheaper than booking the resources required for face-to-face training or supplying laptops and other computing devices for e-learning. And it can be easily pushed out to learners’ personal devices.
20. A means to recoup money: upload two versions of mobile learning apps to app stores – one that requires a password for those who should have free access to the learning and another paid-for version to recoup costs.
21.Direct interaction with learning: with most mobile devices the use of touch screens and other more direct input devices removes a layer of interactivity, meaning the learner literally is interacting with the learning.
22. Big data tracking: with the integrated connection of mobiles devices to the web, it opens up the possibility of tracking everything the user does, how they use the training, what questions they got right and even their behaviours.
23. Context sensitive learning: with GPS and the use of QR codes learning can become specific to a location or a real life QR code marker. But it’s not just location, it could be from your login to the LMS, your device setting or even your contacts list.
24. The power of personalisation: by getting the user to do the training on their own personal device they are more likely to engage with the learning. They are also more likely to do the training in their own time, rather than at work.
|Author: Marcus Boyes
Marcus Boyes has worked in the eLearning industry for over 10 years. After starting out in development, Marcus moved into Senior Project Management, before taking on the running of Epic’s Mobile business unit. He’s led hundreds of successful e-learning projects for clients such as Vodafone, Diageo, and British Airways, as well numerous mobile projects such as for Wiley Publishing, Alfred Dunhill, Harper Collins and the National Health Service. He also has been responsible for driving development of a leading mobile app authoring tool that delivers across platforms and won several eLearning industry awards.