UNESCO released a paper titled “The Future of Mobile Learning” where the potential of mobile devices to cater to urgent educational needs is discussed. The section about Seamless Learning caught my attention and I thought it has relevance in the corporate learning situation, where learning needs to extend beyond classroom environment.
Seamless learning refers to continuous learning, from one environment to another i.e. start learning in a classroom environment, continue it using your iPad or tablet PC, away from workplace, and take it further through online discussions in social media environment. The framework for seamless learning incorporates 10 different dimensions according to a research that was referred to in the UNESCO paper. Each of these dimensions is relevant to the mobile workforce of today’s corporate world.
Here, I am sharing those 10 dimensions with my own interpretation of how it can be applied to a corporate situation.
1. Formal and informal learning – Linking formal classroom training programs with informal learning bites and refresher modules, to ensure continuous learning. Very helpful to sales personnel, particularly in health care and pharma sector.
2. Personalized and social learning – Providing a platform for informal discussions and meetings, to exchange experiences and share knowledge with peers. Helps foster informal peer to peer interactions and mentoring, between experienced and novice employees.
3. Learning across time – Where learning is not limited by fixed schedule and is available on demand. Employees can complete learning at their convenience, when they are more receptive to knowledge.
4. Learning across locations – Learning is accessible irrespective of geographical location (work desk, training center or home). This provides more options and opportunities for knowledge advancement.
5. Ubiquitous knowledge access – Available at all times, when needed in the format that is convenient to the learner. Employees can access information lodged at their company LMS or intranet, through their mobile devices.
6. Physical and digital worlds – A seamless integration of in-person knowledge exchange and virtual learning environment. Work that begins in person is continued virtually. Preliminary knowledge acquisition and assessments can be done online, while core training that needs to be in-person, can be done through classroom interaction.
7. Multiple device types – Knowledge made compatible to multiple devices – desktops PCs, iPads, Tablet PCs, iPods etc. Employees will not be limited by access options.
8. Multiple learning tasks – Learning can takes place through a combination of tasks – eLearning lessons, bite sized mLearning modules, videos, quizzes, assessments, peer reviews and collaborative workshops.
9. Knowledge synthesis – Happens through collaborative learning, in the form of group discussions, wikis, online meeting groups etc. Theoretical knowledge is applied and tested during practical situations and experiences shared among peers. Helps consolidate the knowledge.
10. Multiple pedagogical models – Instructional design needs to factor the multiple modes of learning/ multiple devices and design learning modules accordingly. For example, learning bites for mobile devices have to be short and cater to the small screen size.
There is an increasing need for learning to extend beyond classrooms and formal learning environments. Mobile learning helps achieve this objective effectively. Considering the fact that employees today are quite comfortable using mobile devices, not just for communication but for other purposes, it would not be difficult to integrate it into a formal learning network. All an organization needs is an integrated learning environment that coordinates and manages all learning efforts under a single umbrella.