Is eLearning on Tablets really Mobile Learning? [Chime in]
The only thing better than Blogging is the comments one gets below a post. Comments I believe is the real killer app of Blogs and some times comments are so insightful than they trigger ideas for new posts.
Here’s one such comment I received in my is it time to remove the “e” and “m” from Learning? post:
One of the issues I still cannot get answered is whether “elearning” on tablets should be “mlearning”? submitted by Alfred Low
What an excellent question!
In this post I want to give you my take on this question, but I look forward to you agreeing or disagreeing with me, and chiming in with your own vote and comment below.
The easiest way to answer this question would be to say Yes, after all the iPad as well as any other tablet, are mobile devices and mLearning is mostly about mobile devices. So why not, right?
However I think this would be a myopic way of looking at the most exciting computing era in history, mobile, and would therefore set the bar way too low, make us a little too comfortable, and hinder innovation.
So I’m going to say No, eLearning on Tablets is NOT really mLearning!
Here we are fully immersed in the most amazing computing shift in history, armed with mobile devices that set Learning free and all we can do is convert traditional desktop eLearning for consumption on the iPad, but with nothing to show for in the way of being uniquely mobile?
Unacceptable! It’s time to set the bar higher!
Mobile and by extension mobile learning is about a new mindset, a new attitude, is almost about unlearning everything we know, and inventing new ways of doing things and having fun along the way.
So here’s what I propose as a way to judge whether a learning experience is innovative enough to qualify as real mLearning.
Ask yourself this question, is this learning experience UNIQUELY MOBILE?
In other words:
- Is the experience re-imagined for touch or is it just a conversion from something that was intended for the precision of the tip of the arrow of a cursor?
- Does something magical happen when I rotate my device from landscape to portrait and vice versa? In other words, when in landscape view, do I get additional resources when I turn my device into portrait mode? A great example of this is the YouTube app, it provides a unique experience in both portrait and landscape mode.
- Is the content itself the navigation? In other words, can I swipe left and right to advance forward and backward, or do I have to use those next and previous buttons I used back in the 20th century?
- Does this learning experience take advantage of at least one of the sensor superpowers built into these amazing mobile devices, for example the GPS or the accelerometer?
- Does the location of the navigation change accordingly between devices to make the experience seamless for learners as they shift from device to device?
- Does it look great not just on the iPad, but also on all other devices?
- Is this learning experience uniquely mobile? If so, in what way?
My personal take is that if we cannot answer at least some of these questions with a sounding yes, I’m afraid we are just marching backwards into the future as the great Herbert Marshall McLuhan would say.
What do you think? Can you think of other questions you would ask yourself? Vote and comment below.