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Is Mobile Learning Right for You?
Mobile is one of the hottest trends in learning today, but deciding whether it’s right for you — and how to get started if so — is not so simple. Here’s how to make the call.
The trend toward adoption of mobile technology is sweeping the learning and development industry today, but it’s not the right solution for every need. Many questions need to be asked before committing to mobile learning: Is it the correct solution? How will it be delivered? Do I buy it or build it? These are decisions you should make carefully, based on rational, need-based criteria. Using mobile for learning must be right, not just new and cool.
Mobile Learning Versus Traditional Learning
At its most basic, mobile learning is about providing precisely what information workers need, when they need it, where they need it. It’s about learning that directly supports job performance, anywhere at any time. It’s about context; information that can be targeted to the work’s current location or situation. It’s about interaction and communication; the worker can give information as well as take, create, manipulate and share it. And it’s also about the mobile device, which must be portable and connect to the Internet.
But mobile learning is a lot more than just putting training courses on a tablet or smartphone. In fact, it’s best used for informal learning, such as reference information, job aids, collaboration and other forms of performance support. With mobile, the line between work and learning blurs — learning becomes integrated with job performance.
Here are four distinct ways mobile differs from traditional learning and how the two interact and support each other:
Traditional learning is good for providing foundational knowledge. Mobile learning is good for providing necessary information, in easily digestible chunks, at the point of impact.
Traditional learning is a cohesive entity, with all parts immediately reinforcing each other. Mobile learning can enhance formal learning by providing multiple learning opportunities over time, which increases retention.
Interaction and Feedback
Traditional learning provides well-documented benefits through interaction with the instructor and fellow students. But mobile learning can facilitate computation and data capture within the context of the worker’s job, and instant communication and collaboration with colleagues no matter where they are.
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