Location is the next big thing, how will m-learning take advantage?

I keep reading and hearing more and more about how location and location based services will be the the next big wave in mobility. Many devices already come equipped with GPS antennas and others are able to approximate the user’s current location through triangulation (measuring distance by calculating signal strength from multiple cell towers or WiFi hot spots). And with companies like Garmin teaming up with Asus to deliver smartphones, you know the industry is getting very serious about leveraging the location of mobile users.

For a moment, let’s put aside the privacy issues associated with using one’s location (there are many issues there, but industry sentiment is moving toward a model where the user determines whether he or she wants to be “found” at a particular moment). Let’s focus on how we can use location in our training and education.

There are already a number of training examples involving learner location and mobile devices. One example that comes to mind is MIT Environmental detectives. There are also a number of tour-like applications for museums and galleries where location is used to inform learners about exhibits, etc. But I think location will be used in new and different ways. For example, we can take an employee’s location and provide him or her with active directions during an orientation period. We could provide an individualized map to each learner to help them find the people and places they need to visit.

We could also use location services to alert a coach to a learner’s location, so the coach could actively engage the learner as they enter a relevant physical space. Think about this scenario: You are a new employee at an auto plant. You are learning a new job and as you come into the space where you will learn your new job, an expert (coach) notices your location and contacts you immediately easing your apprehensive state of mind and providing you with a series of video tips about the job delivered to your mobile device. The coach informs you that you can reach out to her at any point in the process for feedback.

I’m sure you will have other ideas, this is just one scenario that comes to mind for me. Just think about how you may use location as a teacher or trainer in the future. The trends point to a market filled with location aware devices in the next few years.

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2 comments so far

  1. sophievdw on

    Location-based services are coming to South Africa next year (we hope!) and I agree that the potential for learner location/mobile device interaction is great.

    Especially for a distance education institution like mine … if you can provide students with interactive maps of for example geography or sociology with links to videos etc. For example you could have a whole lession on Nelson Mandela’s stay on Robben Island with videos about Apartheid and the struggle for freedom and if a student lives in Cape Town or is visiting, they are able to access all of this via their mobiles while also experiencing the physical tour.

  2. mobileben on

    Wow, I love that idea. I like the idea of weaving different media together into an integrated experience, built around location. Imagine if you could go to a place and immediately experience a continuously changing mantage of media as you move within that place. Each segment could represent one piece of the story of that place. That could be a very deep experience for a learner.


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