The tools of mobile learning trade
Switching from traditional methods of learning to that of mobile learning is a lot easier and simpler than one might imagine. It doesn't involve huge amounts of research, nor does it require businesses and potential students to pour large amounts of time and energy into learning new and difficult methods of operating.
Breaking down the requirements can be split into two categories: What the learner or potential learner needs, and what the provider needs.
From the perspective of the learner, the tools are already in place, and the list is minimal. Firstly, the learner requires a physical platform on which to receive learning. This forms the basis of mobile learning. A home computer, a laptop, or a tablet or mobile phone are the requirements. And even in South Africa, learners will have access to at least one of these. The latter being something which is already owned by much of the population is also a major factor considered by mobile learning providers.
Secondly, the learner requires a stable internet connection with the available bandwidth to watch videos or podcasts posted by the learning institution. Watching these videos need not be done in real-time. An advantage of mobile learning is that these videos can be downloaded and watched at a time that is convenient for the learner. The videos can also be streamed, which takes up less data than a full download. In addition to this, the learner will need a decent data plan for them to receive the content provided.
From the perspective of the provider, several things must also be considered as requirements. Obviously, a mobile learning program cannot be run without instructional designers. Teachers are required to teach, and administration staff are required to handle the program administration.
Another important aspect is the need for a software platform that is designed for mobile learning. There are many platforms that exist to fulfil this function, and many of these platforms are free. They come with a myriad function for the purpose. These platforms are not simply ways of sharing videos and podcasts. They provide the ability for student feedback. Students can send in essays, take part in quizzes, attend chat sessions and several other functions that mirror traditional methods of learning instruction, but also go beyond the capabilities of traditional modes of learning. The opportunity to be able to track the interaction of learning is available on most platforms, which provides critical data like learner interaction time.
In addition to the above, what is needed the most is the will to learn and the will to educate! And these, are in no short supply in this country. Because of this, we can be confident that mobile learning opportunities will increase significantly in the years to come.
Now is the time for organisations and individuals to evaluate and rethink their approach to learning and skills acquisition. We have a powerful learning tool within the palm of our hands!Get in touch with Omni HR Consulting, should you wish to discuss opportunities to help your organisation move to digital learning platforms. We can support e-Learning delivery, through our online e-learning platform, OmniStack, which is accessible through all electronic devices, including mobile.
Contributor: Greg Beyer
Researcher at Omni Academy for Education, Training and Development
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