Smartphones and tablet computers are radically transforming how we access our shared knowledge sources by keeping us constantly connected to near-infinite volumes of raw data and information. We enjoy unprecedented instant access to expertise, from informal cooking lessons on YouTube to online university courses. Every day people around the globe are absorbed in exciting new forms of learning, and yet traditional schools and university systems are still struggling to leverage the many opportunities for innovation in this area.
Recently frog has been researching how learning models are evolving–and how they can be improved–via the influence of mobile technologies. We’ve found that the education industry needs new models and fresh frameworks to avoid losing touch with the radically evolving needs of its many current and potential new constituencies. These range from a generation of toddlers just as comfortable with touchscreens as they are with books, to college-aged men and women questioning the value of physical campuses, to middle-aged and elderly professionals hoping to earn new skills in their spare time to secure a new job in turbulent economic times.
We have been focusing on the concept of mLearning–where “m” usually stands for “mobile” but also just as easily for “me.” The near-ubiquity of handheld devices and their constantly lowering costs will enable the idea of “education that you can hold in your hand,” so it becomes a widespread reality in so-called developed markets and resource-challenged parts of the globe alike. Thanks to findings from a frogMob–an open research tool that allows people to upload and contribute their own observations from around the globe–along with additional research and other insights contributed by our partners at the World Economic Forum, we have arrived at 10 key themes that are likely to drive the development of mLearning initiatives in innovative directions.