Increased Mobile Data = More options for m-learning design

Mobile DataOne of the biggest concerns for those trying to roll out mobile learning solutions is whether or not learners will be able to access the content. A major road block to accessing content has been the relatively high cost and low speed of mobile data. North America and parts of Western Europe tend to lag behind Asia in mobile data speeds and data costs tend to be rather high. Because of the high cost and low speed, we see a low adoption rate of mobile data services in those areas.

This is all about to change, Strategy Analytics reports that by 2011 we’ll see nearly a quarter of all mobile revenue worldwide coming from data. The growth in mobile data usage is aided by lower flat rate pricing (typical of cable and land line telephone plans) and higher speeds. Most mobile operators are upgrading their current networks from 2, 2.5G networks with typical speeds of 56kbps – old modem speeds! New 3 and 3.5 G networks are already available, and they offer speeds from 500kbps – 2mbps. However, these new networks are still expensive for users. I pay more than $50 per month for my high speed Verizon network. I’m happy with the performance and coverage for the most part, but the costs are pretty high if I compare them with my high speed internet connection for my home, which is also about $50 per month.

The upside for m-Learning design is in the increased bandwidth and increased number of users who have access to data on their mobile. More data will allow higher quality media and more of it. While I’m the first person to admit that more and better media do not equal better design, they do open up the door to a high fidelity user experience within the confines of a solid design.

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