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Has MLearning come of age?

January 7, 2018 Shankar Krishna general

Has MLearning come of age?

What’s common between Apple’s IPad, Samsung’s Galaxy, HTC’s Flyer, Motorola’s Xoom, Dell’s Streak and Blackberry’s Playbook? Well, all are tablets of their brands respectively and this list is not exhaustive. It is estimated that about 70% of the world’s population have mobile phones and that equates to about 5 billion mobile connection subscriptions of a world with a 6.8 billion population. To know more about these ridiculous mobile stats, check out this interesting video.

Now that we’re seeing such a great penetration of mobile subscriptions to the remotest of areas in the world, it is certainly an optimistic view to consider that MLearning has a lot of scope, but indeed with hoards of challenges. When we talk about challenges, it used to vary between screen size to bandwidth speeds, compatibility of proprietary formats in several mobile devices to establishing e-learning standards for mobile learning and a lot more. But considering the emergence of smart phones and the fact that Google’s Android is dominating the mobile OS market (expected to have a 45% share by 2015, according to an IDC report), compatibility issues doesn’t matter any longer. Moreover, screen sizes of tablets and smart phones have increased aesthetically without making the devices look bulkier. Talking about bandwidth, internet speeds have greatly increased – thanks to 3G and 4G. So what do all these convey? Is MLearning coming of age? Sure, and definitely with LTE and WiMAX battling it out to prove who’s best.

What remains is to see how learning institutions and companies improve and employ mobile learning to make it an effective substitute to classroom training. Some universities have already started using smart phones and web-enabled devices to teach and deliver learning sessions. Product-based companies are empowering their field sales professionals to use mobile learning while visiting clients for service calls. Mobile devices like IPADs and other tabs have become so popular for their interactive interfaces that make even the most boring e-book look interesting. It is found that K-12s are adopting tablets and e-readers more effectively than universities. The biggest advantage of going mobile is saving money for these large learning institutions for a number of reasons. However, since mobile learning is a new research area and is just getting over its beta stage, it is important to first analyse why it is to be used and how should it be used. The recently concluded APAC Mobile Learning Conference just reiterated that fact. The conference attendees included educators, mobile operators, CEOs’, HR and IT Heads of companies, as well as corporate and senior government officials from over 10 countries. According to them – “The purpose of the conference was to share and exchange information about promising future opportunities of leveraging on mobile technology and devices in delivering learning and training”.

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