Consider the Context

This could be referred to as a stream of consciousness for me. As I sit, poised for another post about mobile learning, I ask this question… Where is mobile learning going as an industry? And I answer… at least some of that.

I see mobile learning as a subset of the broader e-Learning industry. In e-Learning, we continue to see the adoption of gaming and simulation conventions as well as the continued push toward real-time, relevant knowledge on demand. These two trends are just a subset of several trends in design and development in our industry. It’s tempting to think that mobile learning will also take on gaming and simulation techniques, and that we will desire to deliver content that’s quickly accessible and relevant to the environment that the user is currently in (one of the real virtues of mobile learning is that it can be called upon in the very moment that it’s most relevant to the user’s environment).

But all that I have read, suggests that we need to first consider the mobile user. As designers, who also function as business people, we tend to want to reuse things that we’ve already built. We also tend to want to reuse them in a form that is as close to their original form as possible. We don’t always consider how the user will access the content in their environment. In traditional e-Learning design, we assume that the user is at a desk, or somewhere similar with their laptop. While this may not always be the case, we can assume that if the learner is a cable company technician, he is probably not carting around a laptop during his work day, just so he can access the course we created for him. When our learner returns to the office, or his home, he can access the learning. Now, since he’s out of his normal environment, being good designers, we will probably try to create a simulated environment for him. The idea of simulated environments is fine and it often gets the learner closer to feeling like he’s learning on the job or performing on the job when taking an assessment. While this is all well and good, I think one of the real advantages of mobile learning is that it can be accessed when the learner is actually doing his job.

 

So, maybe instead of re-purposing our simulation and shoving it onto the mobile device, we instead use the environment that’s already in existence on our learner’s job. We then use the mobile device to offer easy access to relevant content, at the point of need. Or, we can use the mobile device as the actual guide to performing the tasks at hand. Or, we turn the entire job into an augmented reality game (ARG) where the device serves as the guide, recorder of performance and feedback mechanism as well.

Well, there’s soooo much more to write about the several topics that are covered here. But I will try to organize it better in the future, after all, that’s what we do.

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