Does m-Learning’s Future hold this Kind of Marketplace?
I was reading Chris Dawson’s post on zdnet and it got me thinking. He posted about a new service called eduFire where educators can focus on teaching, and students can sign up for inexpensive courses on a wide variety of topics. The topics at eduFire are only limited by the subjects that people are willing to teach about. Basically, if you want to teach a topic, you teach that topic and you decide how much to charge for that course.
The idea of a mobile learning marketplace is exciting for me. I go back to the concept of what I call the “point of want” which is different than point of need learning. While learning at the point of need is very important and mobile learning can be leveraged very well for point of need learning, point of want learning deals with moments of inactivity, boredom and relaxation. Even though you may be relaxing with friends, you may want to learn how to cook a turkey or the intracacies of hybrid car. These are not topics you need to know at that moment necessarily, but they are topics that interest you and you would take advantage of the opportunity to learn about them when you have a moment.
I think a mobile learning marketplace that offered up inexpensive short courses on topics of interest would do well. People would be willing to pass over $1 or $2 for a bit of information catered to their mobile device and their current mobile status. A short 5-10 min, fairly self-contained learning bite would fulfill the need to feel productive even when you can’t be (or choose not to be), as learning often makes us feel a little better when we finish. As a developer, I would push for a standard look and feel for these objects and build a brand reputation for solid bits of learning while on the go. Certain standards would probably need to be enforced to keep each learning object at the right size and each would have to cover a topic in it’s entirety without the need to send learners out to view a lot of external resources (no constructivist approaches, this would have to be fairly passive from that perspective).
I am just starting to think about the potential of a market like that. Of course, there is an even bigger need for essential learning objects at the point of need, but we shouldn’t forget that learning can be a fun and leisurely activity for some as well.