The mlearning, gadget or reality?
In less than 10 years, the smartphone has more than demonstrated its capacity to allow us to simultaneously navigate through different channels (Internet, telephone, apps) and to increase its overall functionality. Today, half of the adult population owns one and by 2020 that figure is expected to jump to 80%. Smartphones impact all aspects of our daily lives and the same goes for online training programs.
Mobile Learning or mLearning is the availability or training or educational support via one’s smartphone or tablet. Mobile learning allows you to learn at any time which has revolutionized the practice of eLearning.
In a world where time is always an issue, mobile learning presents many advantages:
– The ability to train wherever and whenever we want and at our own pace with personalized modules. This is the revolutionary aspect of mLearning,
– The ability to train on any device be it smartphone or tablet,
– It all favours collaboration and interaction much like eLearning.
Moreover, the finer points of mLearning appear as essential components of the training process. The trainee must be able to quickly and easily access a training program, then in a matter of minutes find answers to their questions whether they are in the workplace, on public transit or in a waiting room. In the US, mLearning is often used by big companies where training strategies are linked to major investment. Corporate Open Online Courses (COOCs) are a concrete example of that. In France, mobile learning is still under-exploited and marginal at best, but is still seen as beneficial (source AFINEF) in order to make training more accessible to a greater number of people while also boosting performance as a result.
That being said, it is important not to underestimate some of the challenges linked to mobile learning:
- Security and confidentiality: these platforms must be improved and adjusted for new usages and the demands of this type of training program,
- Screen dimensions: responsive design is an important factor, creation tools are improving all the time with the goal of one day having all content adequately fit any type of screen.
- Risk of distractions: having access to any type of content at any moment also presents the issue of being distracted by social media, a phone call or text message, etc. The possibility of being interrupted during a training session will not help in the comprehension or memorization of the training program.
- Mobile support: it is important to use an LMS platform that handles mLearning. The LMS must also have responsive design to help properly present the content.In conclusion, mobile learning offers numerous advantages and answers the flexibility and access needs of the trainee. It is therefore perceived as an asset for both education and training. Mobile learning must be a part of a training program in order to allow administrators to personalize the training environment and encourage continual training.
Caroline Irrmann, rédactrice web