What will the iPhone do for m-Learning? My prediction…
Ok, there hasn’t been this much buzz about a device of any kind in a long time. The iPod sort of emerged while the attention was building; it proved itself important as people were starting to really take notice. Unlike the iPod, the iPhone is coming after a lot of attention from the blog community and the media. Whether you think the hype is warranted or whether it’s just another one of Apple’s masterful media campaigns, I think it will prove an important event for a few reasons.
First, the iPhone draws more attention to the mobile device space than anything in the recent past. In a sense, I think the iPhone normalizes the industry. The masses will covet the iPhone, just like they do the iPod, and that will make it normal for everyone to own a high-end device. Many of the newer Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, Blackberry devices are extremely powerful and capable of doing similar things to the iPhone. However, most higher-end devices are looked at as the property of business professionals and road warriors. I think a device like the iPhone will accelerate the adoption of high-end devices by the average consumer. I know that the price point is high, but I’m counting on cheaper counter offers to the iPhone to help the consumer. All of this mimics the adoption of the iPod, which still is more expensive than its’ rivals. The iPod drove consumers to buy sophisticated mp3 players, even if they weren’t iPods. I believe the iPhone will drive the public to purchase more capable mobile phones, even if they’re not iPhones. I believe more people will start buying the likes of the Q, Blackjack and Blackberry. And someday, when Nokia gains a foothold, we’ll get more of their great devices.
Second, as a result of the adoption of more sophisticated devices, we’ll see larger screen sizes, data entry capabilities (QWERTY and beyond), better sound quality and more processing power. As the capabilities increase, the platform gets more powerful for learning. Instead of podcasts and coaching in the form of timed text messages, I see the convergence of learning on the mobile devices with the trends driving pc-based learning today. So think game-based learning, simulations and video. Also, with better mobile browsers and more domains providing mobile versions of their content, we should see access to wiki and blogs become almost as easy on a mobile device as on a pc.
Many visionaries in the industry have already predicted this, so I’m just echoing their message. Anyway, it’s exciting and the iPhone will be a catalyst for our movement toward a better mobile platform for learning.