The relevance of mLearning in eLearning
Readers, let’s explore today the importance of mLearning or Mobile Learning in imparting eLearning courses. E-learning refers to any kind of learning and teaching which is electronically supported. The use of any form of digital communication, electronic devices or internet to deliver learning along with the education technology falls under eLearning. The term mlearning is narrower than e-learning. Actually, mlearning simply means eLearning that can be accessed via mobile. This type of learning can be accessed via portable devices, which allow students to learn in different environment according to their wish.
With the escalation of mobile devices in our day-to-day life, mLearning is getting lots of attention.
Moreover, the increased capabilities of today’s smartphones also influence learners to witness mLearning experiences. The term mLearning has grown enormously in the past few years. A recent Cisco reports revels that an average 21-year adult spends approximate 5000 hours on video games, 10,000 hours on phone and receives 250,000 emails a year.
Training organizations are under pressure to support learners at the time and place of need, using the devices that the learners are using. This means developing both instructional and support content for the mobile environment in spite of any difficulties.
The future is mobile, and so too will be learning. We can argue about when this whole mobile revolution started, and there were certainly highly capable smartphones like the BlackBerry available before the introduction of the iPhone and the iTunes App Store, but that’s when we actually began to see the potential and the impact mobile would have on our generation.
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to go mobile. Understanding these reasons will help you make important course design decisions. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, here are four major reasons to go with a mobile solution:
• User convenience: People who have mobile devices often want to access content on them. They may want to take a course or look up the steps to a process on the train home from work, while sitting in a comfy chair, or on a “second screen” while working on their computers. In this case, you may not really need to alter traditional course or performance support design, but rather just want it to play well on the mobile device.
• Mobile workforce: You may have a workforce that is rarely at a desk with a computer. This could be anyone from a traveling salesperson to a retail associate to a warehouse worker. These users may not have the option of using a PC or Mac and must use a mobile device.
• Mobile need: This option is a subset of “mobile workforce” and includes situations in which the user is not near a computer at the time of need. This makes it a performance issue (I need to look up product data while on the sales floor) instead of just a time-management issue (It’s convenient to take my compliance training while I’m on the road).
• Mobile device features: You may have a learning need that benefits from integration with a mobile device’s features, such as the camera, contacts, GPS, or accelerometer. Tapping into these features requires special programming and will rule out many rapid authoring tools.