I remember a time when I was standing in the playground, looking around at my friends who were comparing mobile phones. I’m talking big, fat bricks with aerials three miles long. And man, was I jealous! I worked on my parents for months before they would consider giving me a hand-me-down Alcatel in a lovely bright teal colour; the height of fashion, I swear.
Since then, phones have changed drastically and our attitudes alongside them. They have got smaller and smaller and smaller until we could barely find them in our pockets… only to get bigger and bigger and bigger again until we’re all holding devices that could be a phone, a tablet or a spaceship and no one knows any more.
You might wonder why I’m banging on about mobile phones in a post about learning and it could be because I have a really intelligent point to make. Or I have lost the plot, and left it floating into the ether alongside my flip-phone.
I want to talk about mobile learning. We’re finding more and more clients are looking to empower their employees by giving them the opportunity to learn as and when they want – and providing the platform on which to do this. Responsive is a term we hear all too often (seriously, tone it down) and the end goal is to offer a solution that can be adaptable to the learner’s needs. That’s right, folks – the learner is at the heart of the design. For those of you who are still delivering obligatory classroom lectures without a thought for the participants’ motivations… well, if you’ve made it this far through the article, don’t let me stop you.
Getting mobile learning right is a challenge; after all, it is not merely a transfer of content onto a mobile device, but a whole new approach to learning design. You need to consider the average amount of screen time the majority of people get per day, and remember this is made up of a lot of short bursts, not an extended period of time. You need to consider navigation and functionality, increased opportunity for interaction, and gamification principles. You can also look at social elements; competitive or supportive? Data should be your drug of choice – breathe it in, digest it and rely on it.
We’ve been involved in some truly awesome learning projects recently (we would say that), and are eager to keep on top of what everyone is doing in the industry. Where do you think mobile learning is headed?