Free mLearning White Paper May 11, 2008Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: Design, Development, eLearning, Learning, mLearning, MobileLearning, Tools
If you’re interested in Mobile Learning (mLearning), check out Clark Quinn‘s free white paper titled, "mLearning Devices: Peformance To Go." (Get the PDF or read his blog post.) Clark presents his theory of mLearning and explains why mLearning is important to consider as an option for our learners. He states that mLearning is more about doing than about learning. He says, "We learn to accomplish something: to get better at things we need to do, to better perform those things we want to do, to be more effective, more efficient, smarter, even wiser."
Clark also dispels several common misconceptions about mLearning, including:
- My employees don’t have mobile learning devices
- Those small screens are too limiting
- Too hard/costly to program these things
- Limited to (smart) phones
- I don’t know what (devices) employees have
- Mobile devices aren’t secure
Clark then outlines the types of mobile devices that are often used for mLearning, including cell phones, digital media players (ex. iPods), GPS units, handheld gaming systems (ex. PlayStation portable, Nintendo DS), and PDAs. He avoids classifying laptops as mobile learning devices, mainly because they function the same as a desktop PC when internet connectivity is available. (As an aside, I once heard Judy Brown state that mLearning takes place on portable devices that are within arm’s reach and have untethered power supply that can last for at least a day. I thought that was a pretty solid definition.)
The white paper then goes into some of the specific functions and connectivity options available in mobile devices (ex. GSM, CDMA, WiMax, IR, Bluetooth, WiFi). It’s a great little summary, especially if you’re not familiar with these technologies.
I have high hopes for mLearning, but I still have a few logistical concerns about it. They include…
- Do all employees at your organization have a mobile device (ex. a cell phone)? Sure, I know most people do, but will an organization buy a phone for the few that don’t currently own one?
- Will organizations make their employees use their personal devices (phones) to access mLearning materials? What if people aren’t comfortable with this?
- What if employees don’t have a data plan on their personal phone? Will the organization pay for their data plan so they can access mLearning materials?
- Is it unfair to make mLearning materials available to a lucky few in the organization who have capable devices? Could the left-out employees complain if they don’t have access to the same learning materials as everybody else?
Organizations are working through these scenarios now. I’m guessing best practices will emerge in the coming months. Please chime in if you have thoughts on this!