Mobile learning, or m-learning, is growing in Australia and holds enormous potential to transform the delivery of education and training. M-learning offers modern ways to support learning through mobile devices, such as handheld and tablet computers, MP3 players, smartphones and mobile phones. M-learning is personal, portable, collaborative, interactive, contextual and situated, and emphasises ‘just-in-time’ teaching and assessment. Groups like Urban-E-Learning is pioneering the way with use of new technology platforms and innovative ideas for its clients such as Glencore, xStrata, Migas and PyBar.
According to the New updated report form Media Consortium (NMC), at the end of 2013 the global mobile market consisted of over 8.4 billion subscribers, with a majority living in developing countries. The growing amount of users coupled with the unprecedented evolution of these devices has opened the door to myriad uses for education. Globally, learning institutions are exploring ways to make their websites and other educational resources available online and optimised for mobile devices. One of the most exciting facets of mobile learning right now is mobile apps. In the past few years apps have become a focus of development, resulting in a huge variety of learning and productivity apps.
These apps, ranging from annotation and mind-mapping tools to apps that allow users to explore outer space, enable users to learn and experience new concepts wherever they are, often across multiple devices.
- As a one-to-one solution, mobile learning presents an economic, flexible alternative to laptops and desktops due to the devices’ lower cost, greater portability, and access to apps.
- Mobile apps with built-in social features enable learners to share their questions or findings with each other in real-time. For example, productivity apps such as Evernote and Edmodo make it possible to exchange notes, assignments, drawings, videos, and more.
- Students can leverage the cameras, microphones, and other tools inherent in mobiles to do field work or create rich media.1
Mobile technologies and the pace at which they are being adopted are not without their challenges, it is necessary for training organisations to invest in equitable and interoperable programs which run seamlessly between mobile platforms.
The E-standards for Training offer advice on technical standards to support interoperable e-learning content and systems in the VET sector in Australia.
The E-standards are a national set of technical standards agreed by all jurisdictions and endorsed for implementation by the Flexible Learning Advisory Group (FLAG). Advice about mobile platforms is available from the E-standards for Training website, along with guidance on accessibility in m-learning. FLAG continues to support the use of mobile technologies in education and training to provide opportunities and the best possible outcomes for learners. For more information on m-learning, please contact the FLAG Secretariat or your local E-learning Coordinator.
1Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Freeman, A., Ifenthaler, D., and Vardaxis, N. (2013). Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education 2013-2018: An NMC Horizon Project Regional Analysis. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium