The Importance of having a Singular Computing Experience for Mobile Learning

Here’s a quote that resonated well with me, especially because of the many devices I own and the way they impact my daily life, and I completely agree that our relationship with technology becomes more and more promiscuous every day. The idea that most times we reach for the nearest mobile device is absolutely true and as content publishers and developers we need to keep this in mind when developing a mobile strategy:

To hear Luke describe how people use digital devices is to confront how promiscuous our relationship with technology has become, “There are scenarios where the laptop is two feet from you but you have your smartphone in your hand. And it’s not that the smartphone is any better or easier for getting things done, it’s just that it’s there, it’s on, so you’re going to do it on that device.”

via Mobile First: How ESPN Delivers to the Best Available Screen – Forbes.

And it’s not just about reaching for the nearest device, but I believe the mobile users’ expectations are such that we are expecting to find the same content on all of our devices and continue were we left off from the previous device.

Whispersync from Amazon is a great example of this, I can start reading a book on my Kindle Fire and then later continue from where I left off, right on my iPad using the Kindle App. With Evernote for example all of my saved content is synced up across devices, and through Dropbox, I can always access my files from just about any device.

One more example is a Google Chrome plug-in that I use quite a bit between my PC and Mac and my Android devices. The extension is called “Chrome to Phone,” and allows me to easily send a story I’m reading on my PC or Mac to my Motorola Xoom or Android device.

This idea of having a singular computing experience across multiple devices is something that appeals to me very much and I believe that Mobile Learners will be expecting this from us, too, when learning via their mobile devices.

Imagine that you are taking a course and you first get started on your PC but now you need to go, and you are in the middle of it. You could just “send” it to your Tablet or mobile device and finish it after dinner.

Here’s something new I read today from Google that is along the lines of having a singular computer experience:

How often are you doing a Google search from your computer to find information about a place before going there? Now, next time you go to on your Android phone or iPhone, information about that place will be conveniently available under the new “Recent” icon. Calling, getting directions or seeing details about the places you just searched for is now only one tap away.

via Introducing a new local search experience across your devices – Inside Search.

A The Next Web article put it best:

That’s a fancy way of saying that things you search for on your desktop computer will be readily available for you when you pick up your mobile phone. A seamless and integrated computing experience at its best.

via Google Gets a New Unified Local Search for Desktop and Mobile.

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  • Absolutely spot on. As long as we continue to use multiple devices in different locations and for different purposes, we need the option to set up a seamless flow of information where it’s appropriate.

    There are three things that concern me here: 

    1) Efficiency – How many devices do I really need on the smart phone to Kindle to small tablet to large tablet to netbook to laptop to desktop continuum? We need to think carefully as individuals about our efficiency (unless we have a big budget for gadgets).

    2) Security – If I’m syncing personal information from a work-issued laptop to a personal device, I need to be confident that I’m not going to inadvertently sync the wrong data. This depends somewhat on your work environment, but it needs to be relatively blunder-proof with no surprises.

    3) Screen size – If we’re developing content for mobile learning and we want to provide users the opportunity to view it across multiple devices, we have to think very carefully about where the sweet spot is. If you start with a 3″ smart phone and try to accommodate everything from there up to a 22″ desktop monitor, it won’t work. The answer is somewhere in the middle, but I’ve yet to identify it with any specificity.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Daniel, many thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think all three of your concerns are valid and right on. In fact I think at this point we have more questions on mobile learning than answers and that’s ok, so long as we all keep brainstorming and collaborating in order to get it right.

      With regards to your third point, I happen to think that if we think about developing for mobile-first, it could help us target bigger screens better vs. the other way around, because it allows us to remove all the fluff in order to maximize the limited screen size. I’ve been reading a lot about this from other Industries and many companies are actually able to provide a better desktop experience after having started thinking mobile-first. Let’s keep conversing. Thanks again, Daniel.

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