What is the “Killer App” of Mobile Learning? [Chime in]

I get asked this question all the time. Here’s my answer.

Here’s how wikipedia defines killer application as it pertains to marketing:

A killer application (commonly shortened to killer app) is any computer program that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology, such as computer hardware, gaming console, software, a programming language, software platform, or an operating system. In other words, consumers would buy the (expensive) hardware just to run that application. A killer app can substantially increase sales of the platform on which it runs.

Certainly a great definition but there’s also another way to think about a killer app, namely what makes a technology, a company, a product, an industry, even a person different, unique from the alternative.

So when someone asks what the killer app of mLearning is, what they are really asking is this:

  • why should I care about mLearning?
  • how is mLearning unique from eLearning?
  • why should my company invest in understanding the mLearning landscape?
  • what’s the big deal about mLearning?

You get the point.

There are many ways to answer this and over time I have changed my answer slightly but recently my answer to this question is “mLearning Sets Learning Free.”

mLearning Sets Learning Free

Such a simple answer I know, but if you think about it long enough, this could very well be the killer app of mobile in general.

If you are a Creative Professional, you never know when creativity may strike, but with an iPad and Adobe Ideas or Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, your creativity is set free because of mobile.

Same goes for other professionals, such as a web designer, out and about, can use an iPad or an Android Tablet, tap a prototyping app, like Adobe Proto, and start prototyping their next web project. Again, thanks to mobile, his creativity is set free.

Inspiration can happen anywhere and with mobile, it does.

Thanks to mobile, we are no longer confined to our chairs in our offices, tethered to our Personal computers like we have been for the last 20+ years, we are free to explore, consume, create and of course learn virtually anything, anytime, anywhere and this I strongly believe is the real killer app of mLearning.

What do you think is the killer app of mLearning?

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For companies interested in learning how to approach mLearning design, I’m offering a 4hr workshop for groups of up to 12 people. More information here.

  • Good post RJ. In my dream world, here is what I would do to create the killer mLearning app. I would first go through all the content of the course. Second I’d sit down with some of the most brilliant mobile minds today (there’s a chair with your name on it RJ). We would spend time brainstorming over the design and activities to ensure the objectives werre learned. Next we’d make some mock ups and let the target audience test it out. This is very important as people who know mobile inside and out may over look how a novice to mLearning will work with the app. Then its a matter of develop, test, refine. While the development is going on, there is a SoMe marketing team getting the word out there and releasing sneak peeks of the app. No sense in having a killer app if no one knows about it. There you are – the killer app.
    I recognize these are the broad strokes but it’s something I’m going to be mulling over for a little while. When time permits, I’m going to take a shot at making a killer mLearning app. I may have to wait until retirement but it’s on the bucket list.

    • rjacquez

      Hi Phil, excellent workflow and thanks for the mention. I have some ideas too in terms of an mLearning app. Good stuff and I’m looking forward to collaborating with you, my friend. Thanks for your ongoing support with my writing.

  • For me, it’s Twitter (or my preferred tool, Hootsuite). Connects me with people and resources quickly to get answer to my questions (in near-real-time), exposes me to new information. 90% or more of it from qualified/trusted resources.

    • rjacquez

      Hi David, I agree with your assessment of Twitter. Same thing for me. Facebook is second and Google+ is a distant third. Whenever I try a new social service, there’s that initial excitement and then I always go back to Twitter. This is why I think it’s tough for other Social Services to thrive. Thanks for chiming in, David.

  • Irma Walter

    Flashcards are really best used on the go.
    So far quizlet.com is the best one I’ve found. Unfortunately most people think only of vocabulary. But anything can be learned by flipping through flashcards. It’s making the flashcards that takes some practise, that is how to divide information in card-size chunks. Some kind of tool would be great.

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