Is it mLearning when you Learn from doing a Google Search on a Mobile Device?
My post on whether “eLearning on Tablets is really Mobile Learning” generated quite a bit of interest, with lots of ReTweets and replies on Twitter, many Blog comments, at least 71 people casted their votes, and at least two other bloggers posted their own thoughts based on my post.
All in all, I’m very happy with the engagement the post generated. Thank You!
My goal with this post was to start a conversation around what should be considered mobile learning and propose some questions we can use to judge whether a learning experience on is indeed “uniquely mobile.”
I must admit I was a bit surprised that from the 71 votes I received, 59% (42 votes) said Yes.
Somehow I had expected that most people would vote No, especially after reading some of the questions I proposed in that post.
However I understand why some people may consider the answer to be yes, after all an iPad (and every other Tablet) is a mobile device, and thus any learning experience consumed on it should be considered mobile learning, right?
What happened next on Twitter was interesting, I started getting questions asking me whether a certain experience, that yielded in learning via mobile, and which seemingly didn’t fit the criteria proposed in my questions, was mLearning.
Here’s one tweet in particular that got me thinking and eventually inspired this follow-up post:
@rjacquez If you google something on your mobile device while trying to solve a problem and get the answer. Is that Mobile learning?
— reubentozman (@reubentozman) August 23, 2012
Reuben then left a comment on my Blog, where he elaborated further. I was especially interested in what he said below regarding how doing a mobile search on Google does not take advantage of any unique mobile features, and this is where I disagree a bit.
Here’s his question, followed by my answer:
Here is what I just asked u on twitter so that I can get some more characters in If you google something on your mobile device while trying to solve a problem and get the answer. Is that Mobile learning? Because your not taking advantage of any unique mobile features, but I would say that experience is mobile learning without a doubt.
Hi Reuben, thanks for your comment and for proposing a very interesting question. The short answer to your questions on whether looking something up on google that help us find an answer and learn something along the way is Yes. The longer answer (still Yes) is where I respectfully disagree with you, where you say that this experience does not take advantage of any uniquely mobile feature. I actually think it absolutely does. Let’s take the Google App for iPhone as an example, clearly Google has thought a lot about what makes a uniquely mobile experience, you can use your current location (GPS) to find information relevant to where you are. You can type your question or better yet, click the microphone for a voice search (another mobile feature). The app also has ‘Goggles’ built in, so that you can use your camera, point at any object and do a search based on a phone taken via the camera built into your phone. Then, once you get the search results, you can switch over to ‘images’ which you can then navigate by swiping left and right (another uniquely mobile feature). So while this whole process may seem fairly passive, I actually think it’s a brilliant display of how Google harnesses everything that makes mobile great to make our lives better while on-the-go. In my opinion there’s much for us to learn from this and other mobile experiences and start thinking about how we can do the same in our own industry. thanks.
Again, my point with this post is that indeed anything our mobile devices can help us with in the way of learning should be considered mobile learning.
The lesson here is that Mobile devices gives an opportunity to re-imagine Learning beyond simply retrofitting old desktop learning into the this new and amazing mobile paradigm.
Let me know your thoughts!