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E-learning and M-learning – Difference and Characteristics

As increasing number of Gen-Y workers, who are technology-savvy, are getting added to the existing corporate workforce globally, companies are using technology extensively in all organizational aspects, including learning.

Many organizations are thinking and moving in the direction of mLearning and in fact most of them believe that eLearning and mLearning are the same. They are not aware that the two formats differ in terms of the devices used to deliver training. E-learning is delivered on your desktops or laptops and mLearning courses are suitable for access on mobile devices like iPad, Smartphones etc., It is important to understand this difference before we embark on the use of the right training format.

The major differences between eLearning and mLearning are


Your laptop or desktop computer has a larger screen and therefore you can have more features and finer clicks in your course. On the other hand your mobile device has a smaller screen and can hold very few features and clicks when compared. Therefore your user interface should be designed differently to suit the device on which it will be accessed.


E-learning courses, today, can be accessed anywhere and anytime if you have a laptop with internet connectivity. However, at times, you might find that you cannot use laptops to effectively access online courses. On the other hand, mLearning courses can be easily accessed anytime anywhere, even while waiting at the bus-stop.


E-learning courses can be used to deliver information in a comprehensive and detailed manner. They are designed to provide your learners with detailed information and many times can be completed in a static environment. On the other hand, mLearning courses are used to deliver precise information, needed to perform the job, in nuggets. It does not offer too much but is a good option to provide the right takeaways at the right time. It is ideal to impart just-in-time performance support, using combination of presentation formats like audio, videos, graphics, simulations etc.

Duration of courses

E-learning courses normally have a span of 20-30 minutes and sometimes, though it is recommended not to go beyond the this duration, they even go up to an hour depending on the complexity of the subject. On the other hand, mLearning is designed to include smaller chunks of information that can be transferred to the learners in 3-5 minutes. This is why it becomes easy to access them anytime, anywhere.

Characteristics of mLearning:

  • Personal
  • Fun
  • Interactive
  • Short Duration
  • Just-in-time
  • To the point

These are the major differences between the eLearning and mLearning. Please share your thoughts.

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