The increasing popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) is pushing employees to enable enterprise support for their applications. Smartphone sales are eclipsing PC sales, and tablets are doing even better. These trends and others are proof positive that the world is fast adopting portable and mobile technology in favor of their precursors.
In their guidelines for teaching in a mobile environment, MOBIlearn defined M-Learning as, “any sort of learning that happens when the learner is not at a fixed, predetermined location, or learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies.” When you take that definition, initially drawn up in 2003, and place it squarely within our technological environment a decade later—a world where complex mobile technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, not to mention increasingly complex—and the reason for M-Learning’s importance becomes obvious: people now have the ability to learn anywhere at any time. When you have connection, you can download podcasts and listen to them whenever you want. You can watch educational videos on iTunes U—and if they don’t have it, there’s a good chance YouTube will, which of course you can also access from a smartphone or tablet. TED is another great repository of informative talks. As the years have gone by, learning has thankfully become more and more accessible to a broader range of people.
In a classroom setting, M-Learning can replace the bulky textbooks that students have to carry around and make learning a more positive, entertaining experience overall. The implications for classroom usage are indeed all-encompassing: in some of the auditorium-sized classes I took in college, the professors would have us use i>Clickers to mark our attendance, answer questions for pop quizzes, and respond to evaluative surveys.
All of these developments are only scratching the surface of the effect that M-Learning has had and will likely continue to have on our society. The graphic below (grabbed from here) nicely illustrates some other current trends to that effect.
If M-Learning interests you, you might want to consider attending a workshop on the subject by Mobile Learning Analyst RJ Jacquez at this year’s E-Learning Symposium—of which Enola Labs is a sponsor—in Austin, TX. Attendees will learn how to develop the correct mindset for transitioning from eLearning to mLearning design; the importance of embracing simplicity and thinking mobile first in order to develop effective learning experiences for an increasingly mobile world; and practical mobile design principles, which participants will apply through hands-on exercises. The workshop also includes a 100+ page PDF with slides, exercises and mLearning resources. You can register for the workshop here.