We enjoyed that the Smartphone appeared in our life, although not everyone manages to do very well with the "touch" functions. From the common phones to tablets, information started to be delivered in running wherever we are, at any time of day or night. Carry with us, in several chips, our whole personality, friends and email accounts. And even large data warehouses in the Cloud.
eLearning vs. mLearning
Elearning is associated like distance learning outside the classroom. When the device becomes mobile, whether it is PDA, Netbook, Notebook, Tablet, MP3 player, eBook Reader or Smartphone, we start to practice the differences in delivery of information.
We will put aside of this overview the notebook, because this mobile device is a bridge between the terms Desktop eLearning and mobile learning. Although it is a mobile device by definition, a notebook may well take over the static function, we can attach it a monitor, a keyboard, we can place it on a desk and obviously turn it in a desktop computer.
Mostly mobile devices assume delivering the information ”just-in-time” and usually they have a limited data storage room, so the encapsulation and delivery information should be done in a different way on a mobile device than a classical system of eLearning. A course delivered classically, having a duration about 20 minutes, enough to eLearning, shall be broken and delivered into smaller chunks, for a few minutes for a mobile device. From many points of view: first, to the obvious fact that the information is delivered quite interactive and, as I said - just-in-time, requiring data access from the server by mobile device at that moment and second - accessing the information will be in the most common case, even moving, at a time when we do another activity - walk, do sports, sit in a queue, go to a meeting, waiting for lunch at the restaurant. The visible activity is not the acquisition of information, but the physical activity effectively. Therefore we cannot focus too much on learning activity, but we are ready to take on small pieces of it. For this, the lessons should be redesigned and encapsulated differently for mobile. And mostly, the redesign should take into consideration the mobile device dimensions.
The major difference, however, is going from the word “now” and walks to the word ”collaboration”. The feedback is obtained immediately by using your mobile device and sharing of experiences and collaboration between the participants is done by default. Imagine this form of cooperation produced by using the Facebook social network. The student notices something important; it shoots it and posts it instantly on Facebook, which gets instant feedback from the group. This cannot be done with Desktop eLearning. Even with a Notebook.
From my point of view, there are two major approaches to eLearning to mLearning transition. The first comes from the teacher, who needs to transform the delivery of information to the audience. We have to keep only the information 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: many times we cannot stop just for several hours to learn something. But we can learn in small pieces, a few hours a day and doing our usual activities. I mean walking. Mobile. mLearning.
Not to mention another major advantage: with mLearning is very easy to learn from the source, we can place us right in the context of that lesson; we need not imagine it in front of a computer screen.
Cristi, the role of a teacher is to provide the environment that is supportive of learning. Information is supposed to be exact and easy to read/access but with today's accessibility, mLearning might have to be organized as a booklet that has a quick reference rather than large explanations of concepts. Good ideas, and we should start to work on them! Thank you again