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IN THIS SUMMARY In The Mobile Learning Edge, author Gary Woodill defines mobile learning as a personalized form of learning that takes place on a mobile electronic device. It allows for speedy communication, it is portable and convenient, it creates active learning experiences, and it allows for learning connectivity at any time and in any location. The content taught in mobile learning is also more likely to be retained because it is learned when the student wants to learn; because the student is actively seeking to learn, the information taught is more likely to be relevant and useful to the learner.
THE MOBILE LEARNING EDGE Tools and Technologies for Developing Your Teams AUTHOR: Gary Woodill PUBLISHER: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2011 269 pages
FEATURES OF THE BOOK The Mobile Learning Edge would be of most benefit to those working in executive positions within relatively large organizations. The book lists and describes many different vendors and tools that can be used to help create a mobile learning program within a corporation.
THE BIG IDEA The Mobile Learning Edge by Gary Woodill discusses the various ways in which mobile learning will shape the future of learning.
INTRODUCTION The Mobile Learning Edge examines the various ways in which mobile learning will shape the future of learning and training within the global business realm. Author Gary Woodill lays a foundation for those interested in incorporating mobile learning strategies into their corporation. He reviews the various formatting issues that make creating personalized mobile learning programs an intricate and dedicated process.
WHAT IS MOBILE LEARNING AND WHY IS IT USEFUL? Mobile learning is personalized and involves the use of “cloud computing” through a mobile electronic device. Whereas traditional learning involved an instructor lecturing about what they felt was important, mobile learning is based around what the student feels is important, because with mobile learning, it is the student who is making the choice regarding what to learn. Previous e-learning offerings were based on single server technology—individual servers being contacted by individual computers when the computers needed information. Mobile learning now uses cloud computing which allows the content from several different locations to be united into one website or application.
WHAT IS MOBILE LEARNING AND WHY IS IT USEFUL? <ul><li>The author points out several downsides to mobile learning programs: </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile Apple products do not support the use of Flash, which is important to keep in mind when developing mobile learning programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Rich media files, such as large video files, can take a long time to download. This can usually be solved by simply compressing the video into a mobile friendly format. </li></ul><ul><li>Because mobile learning is so new, there are few guidelines in place regarding platforms, content, and distribution. </li></ul>
WHAT IS MOBILE LEARNING AND WHY IS IT USEFUL? <ul><li>The author advises organizations seeking to launch mobile learning programs to hire individuals who are familiar with creating web-based programming. The basic information regarding the technical distribution of mobile learning is as follows: </li></ul><ul><li>The information within the mobile learning program is stored in a hosting center within several core servers. </li></ul><ul><li>The servers are connected to other specialized computers that allow internet access. </li></ul><ul><li>The mobile device users connect to their mobile voice network or internet data network, which connects back to the hosting center. </li></ul>
METHODS FOR EFFECTIVE MOBILE LEARNING: SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR EMPLOYEE TRAINING <ul><li>Employee training is one of the most useful ways in which organizations are incorporating mobile learning. </li></ul><ul><li>There are seven principles that companies can consider when incorporating mobile learning into their training programs: </li></ul><ul><li>Employees are adults who learn differently from children. Adults are self-directed and need their learning endeavors to be engaging. Therefore, corporations should pay special attention to the individualization of their mobile learning programs. </li></ul>
METHODS FOR EFFECTIVE MOBILE LEARNING: SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR EMPLOYEE TRAINING <ul><li>Employees learn from solving problems that matter to them . Ensure that the mobile learning program is crystal clear in its utility and purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees learn by collaborating as members of cohesive social groups . The program should develop collective intelligence by allowing its members to work together to solve problems using the mobile learning program to allow communication between portable electronic devices. </li></ul>
METHODS FOR EFFECTIVE MOBILE LEARNING: SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR EMPLOYEE TRAINING <ul><li>Employees also learn through conversing with and listening to each other . This means that the mobile learning program should incorporate communication between devices as part of the lesson plan in order to require employees to work together at certain points in the training process. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees learn by combining new information with what they already know . This means that the mobile training program needs to be flexible and adaptable to different individuals, and allow employees to take control of their own learning and personalize it so they can apply the lessons to problems they have faced or are facing in their work environment. </li></ul>
METHODS FOR EFFECTIVE MOBILE LEARNING: SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR EMPLOYEE TRAINING <ul><li>Employees learn best through active experiences that utilize their senses and their bodies . This means the mobile learning program should have engaging segments that use various human senses at once (i.e. sight and sound, or sound and touch) to keep the employees interested. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees learn best in concrete situations that matter to them . This means the training program should present real-life situations, creating a contextual learning experience. This will ensure the engagement of the employee and better retention of the information. </li></ul>
RETRIEVING INFORMATION: ANYWHERE, ANYTIME Mobile technology can also be used to retrieve information from various sources such as libraries, feeds, and digital media channels to support customer education. Many organizations are providing mobile learning opportunities for customers who have purchased a specific product or who have signed up for a service. These mobile learning opportunities include how-to videos, interactive tutorials, frequently asked questions, and searchable help sections.
RETRIEVING INFORMATION: ANYWHERE, ANYTIME The mobile phone business segment has the largest number of mobile customer education programs. Mobile phone companies are providing mobile tutorials as a way to help orientate the users to their new mobile devices. Healthcare companies are also using mobile devices to answer medical questions. Through the use of mobile technology, more companies are continuing the customer-company relationship after the purchase is made in hopes that the customer will return to make their next purchase or fill their next service need.
GATHERING INFORMATION WITH MOBILE DEVICES <ul><li>Mobile learning allows for an equal share of information between those teaching and those learning. The “teachers,” or those implementing the program, can easily collect data and opinions from the students regarding their performance and the mobile learning program. There are four types of applications for using mobile devices to gather educational information: </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring and trend-tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment and evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Research and data collection </li></ul><ul><li>First-person documentation </li></ul>
LEARNING BY COMMUNICATING, INTERACTING, AND NETWORKING One of the most beneficial aspects of mobile learning software is that it allows individuals who are not in close geographic proximity to one another to collaborate . Digital media channels, such as iTunes and YouTube, are great resources for group mobile learning. Apple’s iTunes is particularly useful in the creation and distribution of podcasts, which are digital audio segments that users can subscribe to and download.
LEARNING BY COMMUNICATING, INTERACTING, AND NETWORKING Podcasts can be placed on a website where they can be heard directly, or downloaded to an MP3 player to be listened to at a later date. Podcasts are an effective way to communicate a message or idea to large numbers of individuals. In order to create a podcast, an individual needs a microphone, a basic mixer, and sound editing software. Some mobile phones allow for the creation of podcasts within the phone itself.
MANAGEMENT OF MOBILE LEARNING, KNOWLEDGE, AND PERFORMANCE It is essential that a corporation manage its mobile learning programs effectively. Because mobile learning depends largely on the employee’s ability to actively pursue learning, the power has to shift from the managers and instructors to the learners themselves. This will require encouragement of self-discipline and self-direction within employees. It is also important for the organization to allow its knowledge management system to be accessible via mobile devices.
MANAGEMENT OF MOBILE LEARNING, KNOWLEDGE, AND PERFORMANCE A knowledge management system is a centralized database where proprietary information about the company is stored; some smaller companies may use a third-party application to store company information, such as Google Docs. When implementing a mobile learning program, the organization must allow mobile users to access the organization’s information anywhere and at any time.
DEVELOPING A FUTURE-ORIENTED MOBILE LEARNING STRATEGY One of the main focuses of the mobile learning department should be trend-tracking. Mobile learning will evolve very quickly within the next few years, and it is essential that the department is up-to-date on all current offerings, protocols, and standards regarding mobile learning and mobile electronic devices. There will be a high degree of competitive rivalry between organizations as they seek to develop effective mobile learning software, which is another reason why trend-tracking will become so essential; otherwise an organization’s mobile learning program has the potential to quickly become outdated and ineffective.
CREATING MOBILE LEARNING CONTENT AND EXPERIENCES <ul><li>The following is a seven-step mobile learning content outline, which can be used as a guide for possible program layouts and lesson plans: </li></ul><ul><li>Messages : One-Way messages either in text (short message service) message or email form. </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive messaging : Two-way messaging through the administration of tests and/or surveys. </li></ul>
CREATING MOBILE LEARNING CONTENT AND EXPERIENCES <ul><li>Voice-based content and assessments : Content based on listening, such as podcasts, voice responses to surveys or tests, and conversations between learners and mentors. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference materials and static content : Material that is available for the learner to access on demand. </li></ul>
CREATING MOBILE LEARNING CONTENT AND EXPERIENCES <ul><li>Learning content and courseware : Instructor-created interactive and lesson-based software. </li></ul><ul><li>Rich medi a : High quality video and/or audio productions that can be played on a Smartphone, netbook, laptop or tablet. </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive and immersive media : Virtual reality and learning games that can be used on a variety of mobile devices. </li></ul>
IMPLEMENTING AND MANAGING AN ENTERPRISE MOBILE LEARNING OFFERING When implementing a mobile learning program within a corporation, it is important to remember that it will require the creation of a separate mobile learning department to oversee maintenance. The mobile learning program should not be assigned to the company’s IT department, nor should it be added to the HR department; it will require the dedication of its own small department of technicians, programmers and educators. The company should also determine what they want their organization’s overall mobile learning culture to be like.
IMPLEMENTING AND MANAGING AN ENTERPRISE MOBILE LEARNING OFFERING To do so, the company should gather the top stakeholders from within the organization and discuss what they feel would be the most effective mobile learning vision for the company. The top stakeholders should include members from HR, business strategy, marketing, sales, and customer service. At the meeting, the company should also discuss whether or not they want to supply their employees with the devices, or allow employees to use their own personal mobile devices for work purposes. The organization should try to keep their mobile learning policies in line with their overall corporate policies whenever possible.
IMPLEMENTING AND MANAGING AN ENTERPRISE MOBILE LEARNING OFFERING Creating, instating, and managing a mobile learning program is not an easy task, but it is a task the majority of large organizations will undertake within the next several years in order to take advantage of the growing offerings of mobile technology and their employees’ preference for mobile electronic devices. By following the guidelines presented in The Mobile Learning Edge , companies will be able to create a mobile learning program that is effective, engaging, and efficient.
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