The Concept of Immediacy in Mobile Learning

 

Harris Interactive recently did a poll for Ask.com (article provided by Mobile Marketer) to reveal answers to questions about how mobile users really use their devices to find information. One thing that stuck out was that users really want their information fast and they are often searching for specific answers to specific questions rather than large macro-level topics.

Some interesting facts from the poll:

  • “66 percent of mobile users said they are more likely to ask timely questions when they are not in front of their computer”
  • 81% of 1500 respondents said they expect information immediately
  • “30 percent—of smartphone users leverage their mobile phones to access the Web more than they use their computer to access the same information”
  • “Forty percent of smartphone users indicated that they are more influenced by users’ opinions given within the last day than users’ opinions that were given a month or so ago.” – That number goes to 67% for 18-24 year olds

Polls like this indicate that we are dealing with a very different learner in many cases than the learner we educate on the desktop or in the classroom. This learner is often not looking to learn “how to ride a bicycle”, rather the learner wants to know “how to push the pedals” (I know the analogy could be better, but I hope you get the point).

It’s tempting for us as instructional designers and developers to want to provide more context to our learners so they have a broader and deeper understanding of subject matter. I think that we are taking the right approach by leaning toward giving our learners knowledge and depth rather than tiny granular pieces. However, if we do that we may also show a lack of respect for our learner’s needs at the time. Mobile learning should be about giving the learner the content they need in a timely fashion so they can get the job done, we should not be making decisions for our learners.

BUT… we also know that learners often want to learn more about a subject if that information is easily accessible. We can give them what they need, while also providing them with what they want in the form of greater context. Think about how the immediacy of information can drive your learners to your learning application, but also how you can take advantage of the fact they are there. Take a look at a few mobile sites on your device and see how they do it.  Some recent mobile learning sites recommended to me are:

Target: http://sites.target.com/site/en/spot/mobile.jsp

Toyota: http://touch.toyota.com/index.html

American Express: https://online.americanexpress.com/myca/mobl/us/login.do

These sites are not perfect by any means and they are not learning sites, but they may lend some ideas to you for your next mobile learning application. A

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