mLearning or mobile learning refers to the concept of delivering knowledge or information through mobile devices such as smart phones, tablet PCs, iPads, iPhones or other handheld devices. These mobile technologies were never meant to be for learning purposes. They were meant to be tools of communication, networking and, most recently, entertainment. However, due to some of its features, mLearning has caught the imagination of several trainers who see it as having huge potential in catering to the learning needs of individuals in organizations.
Let’s see what the main features of mLearning are:
Convenience and easy access: mLearning provides easy access to learning at the time and place convenient to learners. Since learners normally have their smart phones or iPads with them most of the time, they can have access to courses or learning tools anytime and anywhere, such as between client meetings, while travelling or waiting.
Just-in-time learning: mLearning caters to the impulsive need of learners to access information. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. mLearning provides similar facilities to employees to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Bite-sized modules: Modules developed for mLearning purposes are for a short duration, typically around five minutes. Hence, one module will focus on just one main idea or concept. For example, if you want your employees to learn the correct operating procedure of a piece of machinery, you can develop an mLearning module that focuses on just that with probably a quick list of do’s and don’ts.
Contextual and informal: mLearning content is usually contextual, that is the training refers to a specific situation or a context that learners find themselves in. The context can be the location, activity or learning goals and is job-specific in an organization.
Application-oriented: Mobile learning solutions focus on sharing knowledge that finds immediate application. Learning is just-in-time i.e. at the time the learner requires that specific information and gets to apply the same immediately to the context.
It is, therefore, not surprising that mobile technology is integrating an employee’s work life with his need for study and leisure.