Online Colleges Gear Up For mLearning

When it comes to buzz words in online education, “mLearning” is making a lot of noise. In an attempt to verify whether or not the hype is warranted, ended up discovering why many top online schools are looking to incorporate mLearning with their online courses.

iPhone 4 Bumper + Universal Dock w/ DIY AdapterTo begin with a formal definition, mLearning (also known as “mobile learning’) is a form of education that involves connectivity through mobile devices. While most people equate mobile devices with PDA’s or smart phones; MP3 players, wireless notebooks and hand held gaming systems are also part of that group. The Blackberry, iPhone and iPod Touch are increasing in popularity for mLearning, as more companies develop learning applications specifically designed for these devices.
Since its conception, mLearning has been directly tied to distance education and for obvious reasons. The platform for both types of education is rooted in the ability to learn beyond the confines of a classroom. Students seeking a degree program that allows them the flexibility to balance their work and academic schedules are flocking towards accredited online colleges. mLearning compliments the eLearner’s need for mobility by providing a learning platform that’s even more portable than a laptop. Experts on mLearning, including Jo Colley of Tribal, believe that the accessibility of on-the-go education will attract an entirely untapped group of potential students who may not have had interest in continuing their education due to inconvenience. The ability to offer an instant response without having to disrupt one’s schedule is creating new avenues and methods of learning that appeal to non-traditional students.
However, we’ve found that the benefits of mobile education reach far beyond those of convenience. mLearning delivers information through new media channels and is establishing different learning styles. Students that excel in an interactive approach are benefiting from the ability to learn through the ongoing advancement in mobile technology.
Additionally, learning through a mobile device allows for personalization on two fronts. Lectures, lessons and assignments can be tailored on a per student basis and delivered individually in a format that meets the strengths of the student’s learning style. Secondly, students are customizing their learning process by becoming adept to the applications with which they find the most success.
Capturing media to share provides yet another opportunity for greater interaction amongst students enrolled in online schools. Students can take pictures, videos and notes on their mobile devices and send them to an online forum for classmates and professors to view.
Advanced degrees, such as online PhD programs, require students to engage in extensive research for a specific subject matter. Review of field research conducted away from the computer can now be instantly recorded and sent to a virtual workspace. This allows the student to obtain information in real time and reflect upon the research later.
The shift towards mLearning continues to evolve as software developers focus their efforts on mobile learning applications. Industry giants like Blackboard have created an entire “mobile platform” to further integrate academics through telecommunication. With technology showing no signs of decline, the possibilities for mobile learning seem endless.

Ryan Fontana writes about topics and trends for distance learners and online colleges. To learn more about online education and the benefits of accredited online degrees, visit today.
Author: Ryan Fontana
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