Mobile Learning; Some thoughts and conversation

I seem to be having a lot of conversations with people about mobile learning recently. 

Everyone seems to be saying it is the next big thing, it will change the way in which we learn and organisations need to embrace it.  Seems a lot like the same language people are using about MOOC’s and that e-learning evangelists have been banging on with for what seems for ever now.  Sorry but I do get a little bit tired of people banging on endlessly about how this new great thing is going to change the way in which we train people, that traditional face to face learning is dead and we need to embrace whatever this new thing is.

Now don’t get me wrong I love technology, probably more than I should, I have a house full of apple, android and windows devices, desktops, laptops, tablets and phones all of which I use continually for various purposes, including online and mobile learning, both synchronous and asynchronous.   I love the idea of I-tunes U and the like which gives me the ability to download and listen or watch a course or lecture when I want.  But, that is my personal learning and I going to sit on the train or the bus into work and watch some organisational training on my iPad or my android phone, ummmmm probably not, because I would rather sit at my desk with my headphone and substantially larger than 10 inch monitor and comfortable chair.  Am I going to access it at home, again probably not, for the same reasons and more, namely I am at home with my family and relaxing.  If I didn’t have a desktop or laptop would that change things, to some extent, but I would still primarily only access the training at work.

Another issue raised time and time again in organisations (non-technology based ones at least) is that of why should I use my data to access organisational training.  Now if we were somewhere where there was less limited/costly mobile data or more widespread easily accessible and free wifi, this may not be the case, but we aren’t.  Even if we were however the questions still to me has some validity, why should I utilise a data connection that I pay for to access training provided by the organisation I work for.  Should it not be the case that the organisation has a responsibility to provide me with the tools necessary to access the training within work time from work equipment.

And finally, despite what the evangelists will try and tell us, there are some things you simply can’t deliver in an online environment.  It just doesn’t work for everything and further does watching a quick simulation of how to do a task on my smartphone, just before I actually have to undertake the task actually teach me anything, or am I just going to have to watch it again the next time I want to do the same task.

Anyway Just some thoughts.

About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

One Response to Mobile Learning; Some thoughts and conversation

  1. Maree Walker says:

    Paul, I agree. Having worked in the world of computer based training in the past, some 20 years ago, you can see that though the technology has changed ie. the delivery devices, there are still some learning experiences that can and should only be delivered face to face. Mobile and elearning have their place, but not necessarily as a suite of full-blown course delivery. Just my opinion also.

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