What is mobile learning?
Mobile learning, also known as m-learning, is an exciting opportunity which is revolutionising education and training programmes. It takes advantage of popular mobile technologies to deliver a wide range of flexible and engaging learning and training resources for use on-the go.
The term ‘mobile learning’ stems from the fact that it allows learners to be mobile – they do not have to be in a classroom or at a desk, but can access the learning resources anytime, anywhere on their mobile phone or tablet, without an internet connection.
Mobile learning is often confused with e-learning, yet it differs from e-learning in several ways. Whereas e-learning generally requires the user to access content on a computer, at a desk, with an internet connection, and for sustained periods of time, mobile learning enables learning on-the-go, in easily digestible chunks, without access to the internet.
Mobile learning is not simply a way of viewing pdf files on a mobile phone; nor is it a portal to the internet, where opening the app follows a link to a responsive website. True mobile learning makes the most of the smart device, whether it is a mobile phone or a tablet, using its native code to present content in an accessible and engaging way. It is not an extension of e-learning available on mobile devices, but a way of learning which is tailored to smartphone and tablet users.
Benefits of mobile learning
The key to the success of mobile learning is the fact that it takes advantage of already existing and hugely popular technologies. The vast potential of using mobile devices in education and training has so far been largely untapped, but it offers many new possibilities due to the high level of familiarity with and use of smartphones and tablets.
Since mobile devices are carried around in people’s pockets all the time, learners can access the resources at a time and in a place that is convenient to them. This enables self-directed learning, as users choose when and where they want to learn.
Mobile learning resources break down material into digestible chunks, making it easier for users to engage with the content as they can gain a sense of achievement from short learning periods.
Lack of social stigma
The lack of social stigma attached to using mobile phones and tablets for learning means that users are more likely to want to engage with the learning material.
Mobile learning can be collaborative, as users make use of the shared opportunity. Within a group of learners, all users can carry the resources with them at all times, thus enabling easy access during discussions about the learning material.
The interactivity and multimedia available within a mobile learning app can greatly increase learner engagement. For example, users can view videos, graphs and diagrams, listen to audio recordings, and complete quizzes and self-assessments.
Cost-effective and efficient
The inclusive and intuitive nature of smart devices means that training providers can save money, as they need not provide the hardware required for mobile learning, as well as time, as it is not necessary to train employees in using the technology.
Mobile learning is applicable to a wide range of contexts. It can be equally useful for small children to learn the alphabet as for postgraduates to engage in serious professional training. It can be used to provide educational resources to pupils within one classroom, or remote training to staff worldwide.
Mobile learning apps can use remote tracking features to measure progress, performance and self-evaluation and provide valuable feedback to educational and training providers.
Mobile learning can be used alongside more traditional teaching methods. Blended teaching programmes mean that mobile learning complements classroom teaching or face-to-face courses. Indeed, the evidence suggests that mobile learners perform better when they are supported by classroom teaching.
Our commitment to mobile learning
At Pearson Publishing, we are committed to providing high-quality mobile learning courses so that users can make the best use of this opportunity. Through our nimbl learning system we provide educational and training resources for use on mobile devices, as well as working with other organisations to deliver their content in app form.