Mobile Phones - So Much More Than a Phone

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 09.05.09

Mobile Learning

Over 4 billion individuals around the world today carry cell phones with them on daily basis; and many are also incredibly powerful computing devices.

In a recent article, Abhijit Kadle of Upside Learning detailed the myriad opportunities for uses of mobile phones:

1. Voice - Phones with voice only technology can be still used to learn languages, literature, public speaking, writing, storytelling, and history amongst a whole range of topics.
2. SMS -
SMS text messages can be used to provide performance support, mentoring, coaching, just in time information product information, or quizzes. There are also innovative learning games based around SMS ideal for Millennial employees.
3. Graphic Displays -
Most phones today have far more graphic power and are able to display words, pictures and animation. Such screens also allow for meaningful amounts of text to be displayed, supporting rapid serial presentation of context-appropriate information.
4. Downloadable programs -
With mobile phones that have memories, and can accept and install downloaded programs an entire new learning space is opened up on the phone. Almost any sort of learning content and interaction technology can be delivered to the phone using this method.
5. Mobile Internet Browsers -
Internet browsers are now built into an increasing number of phones, especially those that take advantage of 3G or enhanced data networks such as GPRS. Having a browser on the phone opens up all the learning resources available on the web.

Mobile phones may be ideal learning devices because they combine tried and true learning strategies with technology that is portable, customizable, and that allows for two-way communication.

However, there are also some challenges as noted by Don Duquette of GP Worldwide:

1. Screen Resolution
2. Browsers
3. LMS
4. Bandwidth
5. Instructional Design

In short, to overcome these challenges, mobile learning needs to differ from eLearning in several respects. As Sami M. Leppänen, former Head of Learning Solutions at Nokia writes, mobile learning should positively differ from e-learning. It should be:

  • More personal
  • More fun
  • More interactive
  • Spontaneous
  • Shorter duration
  • More connected
  • Directly to the point
  • Just-on-time learning
  • From reader to producer of content
  • Will most learning be mobile and wearable in the next five years? Does mobile learning sound feasible at your organization? How will learning remain the same, and have to adapt to work on mobile platforms? What new possibilities are out there for this new learning platform as it grows?

    Share with me in the comments section, via email, or send me a note on Twitter.

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    1. TCW, September 10, 2009:

      The mobile phone just like a mini pc.

    2. Donald Hsu, September 10, 2009:

      Good summary. I am interested in learning the mobile usage in Japan. I was told they could purchase using their cell phones.

    3. Griffin McGrath, November 6, 2009:

      I agree with most of the points above, especially in the recommendations. Mobile learning is going to be a very personalized experience, with the ability to learn what you need to know as you need it. The key, I think, is to add social functionality to learning modules and to create community around courses to keep student engaged. I’ll be presenting my research on the subject tomorrow at an IS conference to educators, so we’ll see what they have to say about the new trends.

    4. r4 ds, November 7, 2009:

      I am agree with you now mobile is more then just phone It gone very far then just to talk to each other you can do other multiple thing also.

    5. Martin Brown, January 9, 2010:

      Building a community of interest via mobile learning is certainly a good way to go, but for many organisations stepping into mobile learning this year, the reality will be far simpler. Product marketing, compliance training and corporate communications are common themes I am seeing in Asia Pacific with video and powerpoint and mobile web common deployment methods. Lets hope that 2010 is finally the year that mobile learning gets the credibility and respect it deserves.

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