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Starting Slowly with mLearning June 6, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , ,

Over the past few weeks I’ve built a few small mobile learning (mLearning) applications and I’ve learned several lessons along the way. Here’s a brief recap:

  • First, as I’ve mentioned before, the point of mLearning is not to create a 45-minute course that can be accessed on a cell phone. mLearning is best used for performance support: quick, easy look-up tools for your learners are a good place to start.
  • Second, it’s easier than I originally thought. I’ve found that a small web page – when formatted properly – can be the simplest way to start with mLearning. Give it a shot: Create a basic HTML page, put it on a web server, and then go to it using your phone (if the phone is web-enabled). That’s it. Of course, if you add images and Flash, things get more interesting. Take it one step at a time and you’ll see that it’s not too bad. (Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some parts of implementing mLearning that get complicated, but I’ve found the hardest parts are related to politics and logistics.)
  • Third, people get really excited when you demo what you’ve created. After doing a demo of your work, ask people to start thinking of additional mLearning tools that would be helpful. I got some great ideas from colleagues just by giving them a quick demo and then following up with questions. I kept hearing, "It would be really cool if you could (do XYZ)."
  • Finally, Adobe’s Device Central is very helpful for testing. Device Central is an emulator that allows you to test your mLearning apps on your PC and see how they’ll render on a variety of cell phones.

Have you tried building mLearning apps? If so, share some tips here!



1. Elizabeth - June 9, 2008

I learned a little more about the Mlearning world this past week at a conference in DC. Here are a couple of things I learned:

1) Entire courses developed in “Mlearn” fashion are happening in many arenas; more specifically in the military where training is needed and internet access is intermittent at best.
2) Mlearning also includes entire course delivery on portable thumb drives (in the age of internet delivery….who knew?)
3) This site was given as a way to test Mlearning compatibility: http://mr.dev.mobi

Thanks for your blog. Awesome as always.

2. Gary Hegenbart - June 10, 2008

BJ, great advice. You make it sound so simple, and I guess it is. mLearning is really just a subset of eLearning, so we already have most (if not all) of the skills we need to get started. Like any learning product, you have to design for your delivery platform.

3. Matthew Nehrling - June 18, 2008

You get it. There is way to much emphasis in the mLearning arena about trying to squish a regular CBT into the size of a phone. That is exactly the wrong approach. Good Job.

Matthew Nehrling

4. Antonia Chan - June 18, 2008

Right on BJ! I also can see mLearning as an additional resource to classes, instead of printouts that rest in shelves, wouldnt be more useful to provide main ideas in nuggets (memory cards type) that learners could access via cell phone when needed, thus,extending learning beyond classrooms and real performance?

5. Jonathan Nalder - June 18, 2008

I’m with Matthew – much of the power of mLearning is in its simplicity and lack of clutter. Congrats on starting your mLearning journey and look forward to reading more. The device central tip was a new one for me so anything else you find please keep sharing.

6. Steve - June 19, 2008

Just don’t tell me you had a great idea – SMS ….

7. Tracy Hamilton - June 20, 2008

Oh sure when you say it that way it all seems so simple. Thanks for the great info and ideas. I’m going to test it and myself out asap.

8. Jeff Goldman - July 9, 2008

For people who do not have internet capability on their phone you can zip the course and make it available for download or e-mail it to users. This way they can download it to their PC and then load it to their phone. This will give them access wherever and whenever without the need of an Internet connection. The only catch is the course cannot communicate to an LMS.

FYI: Flash Lite works great for this approach. You can download an example of that I have made at http://www.minutebio.com.

9. links for 2009-03-17 « Learn-Learn-Learn - March 17, 2009

[…] Starting Slowly with mLearning « eLearning Weekly some lessons learned regarding mobile learning (tags: mobilelearning) […]

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