The number of all mobile devices accessing the Internet worldwide will surpass 1 billion by 2013. In addition, the number of users of mobile devices will also double by the end of the year! The mobile Internet is ramping up exponentially faster than the desktop Internet did or will ever realize. This dramatic increase in adoption of mobile devices such as smart-phones and tablets has crystallized a collective focus on mobile learning (mLearning), specifically, how to best leverage the mobile platform for training and extended learning. Training thought leaders need to plan today for anywhere/anytime training using mobile devices. Mobile learning, initiatives need to be driven as an extension of business and learning initiatives and just not by the “shiny penny” syndrome.
Leveraging the mobile presence, device capabilities and unique extended learning potential of mobile platforms is essential. There is little to no valid argument (any more) that training needs to be extended to the mobile platform, but the best use of this environment depends on your overall organizational needs and drivers. Some common drivers include:
What changes are coming to mLearning?
Changes in mLearning are being driven by the increased capability of mobile devices. mLearning was initially learning delivered on smartphones/PDA—not necessarily full online courses but bits of just in time training—videos, audio podcasts, quick tips, etc.
Tablets, such as the iPad, are changing some of the parameters of mLearning. The additional screen real-estate (quickly approaching the capabilities of the desktop PC), the ease of using the tablet interface, significantly greater processing power allow us to deliver more types of training and media than ever before. We can also now reuse content meant for desktop browsers, but extended to further utilize the device and user interaction benefits that are unique within the mobile environment.
Furthermore, content creation systems are becoming available that allow you to create and re-purpose content for mobile devices. Learning Management Systems allow you to deliver, measure and report on learning for mobile devices. Mobile Learning is becoming easier to create and use as the infrastructure for creating and managing content on these devices becomes available.
It is a great time for learning departments to experiment and learn about mobile learning. Do remember like any other learning project mobile learning projects must be driven by business goals.