If you are reading this, you already know mobile learning is a hot topic. You also know that incorporating social media into mobile learning is even more of a buzz term. With the price of an iPad 2 now dropped to just $400, the prospect of implementing a smart phone or tablet-based solution across your organization is probably looking more and more attractive. But how do you know what is actually practical, and what are some examples of how mobile learning is already being used?
While we all love using our fancy phones and tablets, let’s not forget to learn a lesson from the past. With the introduction of video in 1980s, evangelists proclaimed that “The future of learning is here!” and everyone would be learning exclusively from video. When eLearning appeared in the 1990s, it too was proclaimed the final solution to performance issues. We now know that video and eLearning are viable and useful, but not the be all, end all. We should look at mobile with the same set of eyes…it’s exciting, but we need to be pragmatic if we hope to implement successful solutions within an organization.
While tablets and phones are both often called “mobile,” we cannot lump them in the same category all the time. They offer vastly different experiences. It’s true that both devices are easy to carry with you, but the small screen of the phone should cause you to ask some tough questions before using it to deliver learning. “Will this content be easily consumed and retained in this format?” “How will my design that looks good on the iPad look on the iPhone?” There is no one right answer.
Perhaps the greatest danger of all is the temptation to simply recreate our beloved “click next to continue” courses on mobile devices. In his recent blog post Mobile Learning Should Be More Than Converting Desktop eLearning to HTML5, mLearning analyst RJ Jacquez (@rjacquez) stresses the importance of creating a unique mobile learning experience, and we could not agree with him more. Think about the sales reps going through your course in the evening on their smart phone or an overworked employee grabbing 5 minutes to “do mobile learning” on a tablet in a coffee shop. How will they need that information delivered to them?
Need some examples of how mobile learning is already being used? We gathered three from the educational, consumer, and enterprise world for you to consider.