Lately, I’ve been thinking about directions – where I’ve been and where I want to go. Unemployment will do that to you. Lots n’ lots o’ thinkin.’ Some bad, but most good. Think good thoughts right? I decided I want to focus my energy (when not focused on gainful employment) on the wonderful world of mobile learning, or m-learning, or good ol’ learning as many in our community prefer. Mobile learning, be it phone, tablet, or some such similar device is only going to expand. We, as learning professionals, need to be on the forefront of designing quality, performance driven training for mobile delivery. We can’t just manipulate current e-learning and call it m-learning anymore than we can slap a PowerPoint deck online and call it e-learning. We need to engage our learners in whatever the delivery medium happens to be. As Clark and Mayer said,
“…it’s not the delivery medium, but rather the instructional methods that cause learning.”
Bad learning is bad learning, be it via your phone, tablet, laptop, book, or instructor. IMHO, we as instructional designers need to learn about the intricacies of mobile, what it is and what it can offer as far as learning. We are being given the chance to innovate and we must embrace it. M-learning is not the end-all be-all, just like e-learning wasn’t before it. It is another tool in our belts. Another medium to foster the learning. And, due to it’s unique capabilities, it is better for certain types of learning, notably JIT (just-in-time) learning. Think about it. How perfect is a mobile device for a discrete, quick learning lesson while on the job? Any job. Not just desk jockeys (myself included), but workers on the production floor who need a quick refresher on how to put Part A into Part B.
I seem to be on a similar wavelength as RJ Jacquez, who recently changed the title of his blog to The Mobile Learning Revolution Blog. RJ is focusing much of his energies on how mobile is changing everything, including learning. We (instructional designers) need to be knowledgeable about what mobile can and cannot do with regards to learning and devise new ways of using mobile as a learning tool. While we should take responsibility for this knowledge, I agree with RJ’s challenge issued to vendors to develop usable tools for the instructional designer to create solid, engaging m-learning.
“I think the onus is on eLearning Tools Vendors (i.e. Articulate, Adobe, Lectora, TechSmith, Zebra Apps, etc) to really think about this and make sure the next generation of their tools provides new and innovating ways of truly harnessing the power of mobile learning.” – RJ Jacquez
Much like RJ, I plan on focusing on mobile and where it is taking us. How can I as an instructional designer leverage mobile for viable learning? The folks at Float Mobile Learning are definitely doing something right and are on the forefront of m-learning design and development, as well as strategy. They recently hosted a webinar entitled, “7 Myths of Mobile Learning.” The open, conversational environment they created was very welcoming. The chat area was full of energy and excitement. People want to learn more about m-learning and how they can implement it, as well as the myths behind it. M-learning really is unlike anything we have seen before. Thinking about the possibilities of reaching a person anytime via a device in their pocket or purse is amazing. I’m excited about the prospect of learning more about mobile and also looking at innovative ways to integrate mobile into the learning continuum, not as a learning panacea, but as another scaffold to help learners perform better.