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Learning In Context – The Evolving Way We Learn

This past week, I ran into one of my friends who is  a grade school teacher at a social event.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the adoption and use of the iPad, so I couldn’t help but ask “Do the students use iPads much?”  Her answer was “All the time—for EVERYTHING!”

By the way, this teacher doesn’t work in a super affluent community. She teaches 4th grade in a Chicago suburban school. She went on to say that not only do the students use mobile devices for online research and to take notes, but the teachers also use them to help the students apply what they’ve learned. For example, one of their science teachers discovered that someone on YouTube had created a series of videos that put basic science concepts to music.  The creator of the videos was a former science teacher and composed the songs himself to help children more easily embrace science. The students use games and apps to practice spelling, math, comprehension skills, you name it the iPad was the platform for delivering it and keeping the students engaged.

Granted, this was just one story from a Chicago suburban teacher, from an average community, but it really highlighted the changing landscape of learning and how the expectations being set for the very young will have a dramatic impact on the corporate training landscape of the near future.

It made me wonder why corporations, so visionary in most ways, were acting slower than some elementary schools in adopting emerging mobile learning technologies. Here are a few reasons why companies might be resisting the impulse to jump into mobile apps and learning. Check the ones that best describes your story:

  • I know mobile learning is cool but don’t see how to make it relevant
  • I don’t see the value in mobile learning so I don’t see the need to focus on it now
  • I know I should focus on mobile learning now but want to find a way to ensure it impacts my company’s business

It’s clear which way the winds of learning are blowing, and those who find themselves eager to adopt new technology will become champions of their corporate training domain, while those who miss the boat will be going the way of the laser disc. In the coming weeks I’ll be presenting a series of blogs presenting the key points of what I’ve learned through my research. Stay tuned and I hope you’ll share with me your opinions on the future of learning.