What is Mobile Learning?
As the name suggests, mobile learning refers to the learning and training that happens using a mobile device. Smartphones have a ubiquitous presence in our lives and a vast majority of people use them to perform a range of functions including accessing content and information. And in this digital era, work life is no longer possible without accessing information on the go. This has built the case for mobile learning, also known as mLearning.
mLearning is generally delivered through mobile apps which adds more value to the learning experience by leveraging features that are unique to the mobile platform such as video-based communications, texting, tracking, geo-locations and more. With mLearning, learners, administrators, and managers can focus on learning content that matters most to them while on the move, without any loss of data and functionality along the way.
That said, the best use of mLearning is when it is implemented as a part of a larger learning strategy in tandem with instructor-led training and other eLearning channels. As of now, it may be difficult if not impossible to move a complete eLearning course or ILT course on a mobile device. However, essential content can be broken down into micro-sized bites that can be accessed by the end-users while on the move and at a time when they need that information the most. Since mLearning is a means to supplement other eLearning channels, designers developing mLearning courses need to ensure that training content integrates well on multiple platforms and provides learners a seamless experience across different channels.
Thus, mLearning is a means to supplement other eLearning channels, and in the digital era where business decisions are being made while on the move, it is an ideal way to provide crucial information to the decision-makers in the form of a short video, a reference document, or even a blog to enable them to make the right decision at the right time.
Advantages of mLearning
mLearning is redefining the eLearning landscape by providing decision-makers and professionals access to information they need while on the go using media formats such as text, graphics, audio and video, among others.
Here are some advantages of mLearning.
- Learn Anytime and Anywhere: In a time-challenged world where people are already juggling work-life balance and complexities of their jobs, it is no longer feasible to mark out time for learning and training. And with employees being constantly on the move, it is equally difficult to get together an entire team for instructor-led training. mLearning liberates learning from the confines of the classroom, allowing learners to access lessons while on the move, during a coffee break or any time they find suitable, and at a pace that works best for them. Thus, mLearning provides learners greater control over their learning – they engage with the lessons voluntarily and on their own terms, which provides them with a more empowering experience.
- Digital-first Approach: The millennial generation has literally been born into technology and is more comfortable engaging with mobile devices to make their work easier. With this in mind, mLearningis more attuned to today’s realities and the way the current generation works and thinks.
- Dynamic Teaching Methodologies: Mobile learning leverages several types of media formats to make learning a more interesting, engaging and immersive experience. The emphasis is more on visual learning and so content is enriched by audio, video and image files. Use cases show that these fast-paced, visually appealing formats are more engaging for the learners and helpsin holdingtheir attention more effectively. mLearning is, therefore, changing the eLearning archetypes, making it fast-paced, dynamic and cutting-edge.
- Personalized Learning: One of the biggest advantages of mLearningis that learners can learn at their own pace. With personal phones, learners can personalize their learnings. Mobile technology gives learners the ability to choose the right tools for the right task and at the right time. For corporates this means they have the opportunity to design their mLearning content more in tune with their learners’ unique learning requirements and in the formats that work best for them. For example, one learner may prefer a podcast while the other may prefer watching a video and another a role-play scenario – this is perhaps the best way mLearning has changed the eLearning landscape – allowing learners to charter their own learning paths. Slow learners can revisit lessons till they master the concepts and for fast learners, mLearning makes it possible to branch out and pursue new learning paths. mLearning is therefore more suitable for modern pedagogy – it recognizes the fact that students are diverse in nature and have diverse abilities and needs and is better suited to address this diversity.
- Addressing the Information Gap: mLearning is not just about learning in a variety of places – it is more about the learning happening when it needs to happen. Just as finding information on Google is as-and-when in nature, mLearning too follows this approach and is the perfect way to provide performance support and quick, on-the-go information.
- Learning is a Multi-Sensory Experience: mLearning provides information in the form of text, audio and video, enabling us to use our brains, eyes, ears and hands in the process. This makes learning a multi-sensory experience, enabling learners to grasp more and retain more. mLearning in the form of games helps to provide hands-on experience which holds employees in good stead in the long-run.
mLearning has to a large extent revolutionized the eLearning paradigms by providing end-users access to content as and when they need and in the format of their choice. Besides, it has made learning a multi-sensory experience, more in tune with modern pedagogical practices, making it more immersive, engaging, and entertaining for the learners. It has also taken learning out of the confines of the classroom, enabling learners to maintain a better work-life balance and take control of their own learning.