Guest Post: m-Learning with Mobile Devices
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E-learning can provide individuals a classroom experience even in their absence. Many people nowadays attend their classes or lectures from a distance, whether at home or from work, through e-learning. In fact, e-learning can enhance the entire learning process since one only needs to have access to the internet in order to, in turn, have access to the learning content usually provided from a classroom. Natural growth has then provided us with m-learning, which improves efficiency and access in terms of portability and flexibility. Technically, with e-learning, one may only have access to learning content through a personal computer fixed at one place. M-learning is a term used to describe the enhancement of e-learning, providing the learning experience via portable platforms. M-learning generally implies devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
Mobile devices have transformed the entire learning experience. For instance, one can listen to recordings, such as webinars or distance-learning lesson, on their mobile phone. Learning materials can also be accessed on the internet via tablets, notebooks and handheld computers. As long as one has internet connection to his/her phone, tablet or notebook, accessing information is quite easy and usually fast, and can be done from anywhere at any time. Smart phones and tablets like the iPad, Galaxy Tab, Toshiba Excite, iDeos and more are examples of devices used for m-learning.
Smart phones offer mobile learning on a number of fronts, some of which are not present on other common mobile devices. Mobile learning on smart phones can feature short videos that one can watch on the move. They may also include interactive applications, which utilize the common functions like quizzes and assessments. M-learning on iPhones or similar smart phones can offer advice relating to any learning project in just a few minutes. An interesting dichotomy is a “smart phone” is generally a step-up from a “feature phone” in capabilities and features but the m-Learning content is generally a step down in complexity due to the size of the screen.
Many colleges and educators are resorting to the use of smart devices in learning as smart phones and the advent of the ‘App’ provide a number of learning tools to enhance the entire learning process. Some of these applications include Planets, TED, Simplex Spelling HD, Pocket MBA and Mindmeister. The TED app updates the user with information on the latest inventions and advancements in the world of technology. Simplex Spelling HD is on the other hand, is an app that enables both kids and adults to write and spell words well. The Mindmeister is also another interesting app on iPhones that teaches the users how to conduct mind mapping sessions in order to enhance their learning ability and increase their learning speed.
The use of iPhones and similar smart phones is increasingly growing in popularity as technological advancements keep expanding. Many organizations are adopting this technology to incorporate the use of short videos and documents meant to guide and educate employees. A mobile learning experience with an iPhone can be accompanied by audio, video, and interactive components – just like e-learning provides on the desktop. Additionally, smart phone models continue to improve in feature set, connectivity options and speed, and responsiveness.
Different people and cultures have unique and different ways of learning, and mobile learning has now ventured out as a new learning option. Mobile/micro-learning stands out for its incredible flexibility in accessing information ‘any time, anywhere’. However, a major reason why m-learning is growing in terms of popularity is its ability to work well with device technologies. For instance, a mobile phone comes with features like cameras and GPS that are useful to an organization; and at the same time are capable of integrating with other learning programs. With situations whereby we have some remote areas, especially in the developing countries with limited access to electricity and the internet, mobile learning becomes a highly essential tool.
Diana Wicks holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the London School of Economics. She also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the same institution. While she isn’t contributing to online education resources such as DegreeJungle, Wicks works as a writer at Demand Studios.