Mobile Learning or mLearning is generally defined as learning that is facilitated by a tablet, smart phone, or other mobile device. This makes the lessons readily available anywhere there is Wi-Fi, and, in some cases, offline as well. Studies like the Incorporation of Mobile Learning Into Mainstream Education and Training only strengthen these claims.
When you think about how people are never very far away from one of these mobile devices, a smart phone has become part of the basic survival kit of our society. And, as Christopher Pappas has stated, “while instructor-led, training used to be the ‘norm’, today mobile training has become an increasingly popular method of skill set and knowledge development.”
In fact, several positive aspects of mLearning include:
- Short, manageable lessons – sometimes there are a few moments of operational downtime, that is the nature of the business. Mobile learning’s compact lessons and lesson style allows those to become more productive.
- Customized learning experience – adaptability is the name of the game in current LMS trends, and mobile learning can be adapted to not only site, but learner needs as well.
- Flexibility & accessibility – whether online or offline, whether near a terminal or working remotely, mobile learning can be there.
- Engaging content – from the way something looks, to gamification, mobile learning has a multitude of options for engaging content.
Real World Example
Recently, AllenComm implemented a mobile learning technology, Siteline, as a part of a training program for a major production and manufacturing company. It had an impact in each of the positive aspects previously discussed.
Short, Manageable Lessons
Siteline gave us the means to access all the content as needed, rather than having to dedicate time to sit down at a computer station and consume content. Workers are now able to take a tablet with them, providing accessible training in small chunks without leaving their workstation or whenever they have downtime.
Customized Learning Experience
Siteline allows trainers to track learner progress and assign lessons accordingly. This means if a trainer and/or a trainee are struggling with something, they can mark those lessons on their profile as required. That way, the next time that trainee logs in to Siteline they’ll see on their dashboard that they’ve been assigned lessons and are directed to those where they need the most help. Siteline also generates a report on how well employees perform and when they finish each assignment.
Flexibility & Accessibility
In Siteline, accessibility is woven into the LMS through the use of short lessons. It gives users the option to take training with them and take it at their leisure. And it’s flexible in the sense that trainers can customize the offerings to the needs of the learner.
Since Siteline is an app, it allows us to do things that aren’t available in traditional computer terminal training. The company allowed us to place QR codes on their machines, this allows each machine to be scanned with their tablet. This step links them to content relevant to that machine, without the extra time of having to search a catalog. Siteline also included 3D models of the machines so that trainees can rotate and investigate to learn more about it in a safe, digital environment.
As exemplified by Siteline, AllenComm’s mLearning tool is more than just mere apps. It can be a network of interconnected, highly portable devices that work in conjunction with a current LMS to amplify its learning/teaching potential.
As technology progresses mLearning will continue to evolve as well. Whether it is onsite accessibility, or training games that help learners to retain information, mLearning will be there.