We enjoyed when the Smartphone appeared in our lives, although we still have some challenges with "touch" functions. From the common phones to tablets, information started to be delivered in real time wherever we are, and at any time of day or night.
Carried with us, and stored in several chips, we have our whole personal information including friends and email accounts. Now, we have even larger data warehouses in the Cloud. eLearning is also known as distance learning because it is outside of the classroom. When the device becomes mobile, whether it is PDA, Netbook, Notebook, Tablet, MP3 player, eBook Reader or Smartphone, we start to see and experience those differences on mLearning because of the way the information is delivered. We will leave the notebook, because this mobile device is a bridge between the Desktop eLearning and mobile learning.
Although it is a mobile device by definition, a notebook may well take over the static function, since we can attach it to a monitor, keyboard, place it on a desk and turn it into a desktop computer. The mobile devices assume the role of delivering the information ”just-in-time”, and usually they have a limited data storage room, so the encapsulation and delivery of that information should be done in a different way on a mobile device than in a classical system of eLearning. A course delivered classically, with 20 minutes duration as an example is fair enough for eLearning, but mLearning course should be broken and delivered into smaller clips of 2-3 min duration. The main points are that information is delivered interactive and just-in-time, therefore the mobile device requires on going data access from the server. The lessons should be redesigned and encapsulated differently for mobile delivery. Most importantly, the course redesign should take into consideration the mobile device dimensions. The major difference, however, is going to be from the word “now” to the word “collaboration”. The feedback is obtained immediately by using your mobile device, sharing experiences and collaboration between the participants. Imagine the cooperation obtained by using Facebook social network. The student notices something important; it shoots and post instantly on Facebook, and then gets an instant feedback from the group. This cannot be done with Desktop eLearning or even with a Notebook.
My view is that there are two major approaches to transition from eLearning to mLearning. The first step is taken by teachers or professors who will need to transform the delivery of information to the audience. We will have to keep only the information that is strictly necessary, and the content must be interactive, because the feedback is instantaneous. Second, from the student‘s point of view: we are a world in motion and many times we cannot just stop for several hours to learn something. But we can learn in small pieces, a few hours a day while doing our usual activities. Another major advantage is that we can learn while doing the tasks and we can communicate the results in “real-time”. Let’s imagine that we work on a Lean Six Sigma project that has a high level of difficulty in collecting information or data. Now, we read the slide that explains on how and what data we should select, then we does it but our results are a total fiasco because of different interferences caused by i.e. using materials from different dates. What is the solution? The quickest and simplest way will be to write to the group and ask for feedback or take a picture and ask for details.
When learning experience becomes shared, the results among projects can lead to larger positive outcomes that will have positive outcomes at all levels of our society. In the next articles, we will continue to talk about the main advantages of costs reductions when using mLearning vs. eLearning.
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