Over the last 2 decades, eLearning emerged as a highly effective medium of training, and now mLearning is also gaining equal importance. So what is the difference between eLearning and mobile learning?
The Oxford Dictionary defines eLearning as “Learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet”
mLearning is delivering learning anytime, anywhere with the help of portable devices such as smartphones or tablets, accessing the content using network connectivity. mLearning is not the same as delivering eLearning courses on mobiles.
eLearning and mLearning differ in terms of:
- Delivering modes
- Instructional approach
Let’s see each of them in detail
1. Modes of delivery:
The content in eLearning courses are designed and developed in such a way that it can be effectively accessed on desktop computers or laptops.
In mLearning, the courses are delivered in a format that supports portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. The courses designed for eLearning cannot be delivered directly on mobile devices without converting them into to the format that supports these devices.
To know how to convert an eLearning courses to mLearning, click here
E-learning courses are better suited for a relatively “immobile” learning environment where the learner has to sit in front a computer or laptop. Whereas mobile learning courses can be accessed anywhere anytime by the learner using mobile devices.
The main objective of eLearning is to present the knowledge in detail.
Mlearning is all about JIT (just-in-time) learning i.e. providing only the specific information for which the learner is looking for.
4. Instructional approach:
The eLearning content is comprehensive in nature. The content of eLearning courses may include animated slides, videos, voiceovers and quizzes.
In mLearning the content is broken down into small lessons providing byte sized learning. As mLearning is used to provide JIT support, the content may be text with images, videos flashcards, checklists and guides.
When it comes to development, eLearning courses can be developed using authoring tools like Lectora, Captivate and Flash. However, mLearning courses are developed using tools, which publish to HTML5 format. Courses developed in Flash cannot be effectively accessed using mobile devices.
The duration of an eLearning course is around 30-60 minutes whereas the span of an ideal mLearning course is 5 to 10 minutes. For example a 1 hour eLearning course can be chunked into six byte size modules of 10 minutes each.
Thus, we see that mLearning is not eLearning on mobiles, but is a training format with its distinct instructional characteristics. What do you think?