What is Mobile learning aka mLearning?

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What is mobile learning?

As humans, we evolve over time. We develop new habits. New mindsets. New ways of thinking. New physical features, including neural pathway design. Technology has been a significant impact on our selective adaptation and is inducing a permanent change in the way perceive, learn, retain, remember and other functions relevant to learning.

For example, the use of technology requires us to use our memory less often than in past times. To-do lists rest on our phones, information (like directions) are accessible by search. Our memory is in our frontal cortex. Since we aren’t using it very much, there’s suddenly more space in this part of the brain that is now available for use by other functions like imagination and problem solving. As the younger generations are outfitted with screens and technology at earlier stages in their development, the brain is adapting to the new, more efficient ways to absorb information.

Let’s take a look at how mobile app is changing the educational system, how it benefits learning and the best ways to implement education through technology.

mLearning primarily includes any type of mobile learning. This means laptops, smartphones, tablets, notebooks, PDAs and other wireless, WiFi-adaptable products. Right now, smartphones and tablets are harnessing a majority of the educational power. Computing offers a rich window in which passengers are using to learn. Kids in the car play educational games, employees of all industries are reading and playing brain-enhancing games on the way to work. When smartphones are as easy to access as educational apps are to download, a recipe of floured learning introduces itself.

Mobile data usage grew by 74 percent in 2015 and expected to continue rising through 2020. Beyond paying for data use, education by smartphone is essentially free. Occasionally we are paying a dollar for our favorite apps, but the range of free apps is immense. We have been waiting a long time for education to be feasible for more than the wealthy and finally, it is. Most of us don’t even notice how much we learn on our phones every day. We scroll through news apps and even news feeds on social platforms. But all the information we see, our brains absorb. Even headlines make an imprint on our minds. We digest it. We know it. We know more, constantly, every day. They call it information overload, but we will deem it a blessing and an opportunity for our brains to better learn to compartmentalize and use more of itself!

Here are five awesome uses of mobile learning in the classroom:

  • Audio Record. Teachers do not always have the luxury of time, and one element of their instruction that gets cut is feedback. With audio recording, teachers can quickly walk a student through all of the feedback on their papers and exams. The student can save the file and refer back to the data during the next assignment. The student can also comment back through audio instead waiting three weeks until the next proctored exam.
  • Live Polling. Live polling is setting the tone for what information needs to be covered in class. If students are already up to speed on a subject, it is not necessary to devote a quarter to the matter. Instead, the teacher gets to evaluate where knowledge lacks and surpasses par in the classroom, and design lesson plans from there. This generally happens at the beginning of a course, but it can be used throughout class too. At the beginning of a lecture, a quick poll can be taken to determine where the most time should be spent. At the end of the lecture, it can be used to evaluate how effective the lecture was or where more time should be allotted in the next class.
  • Video Creation. We are not all writers. But we are all thinkers and creators, each of us with our own preferred medium for expression. Video creation apps allow students to record their thoughts and present in five minutes their explanation of and opinion on a topic. It allows for an additional use of creative presentation and encourages participation by those you dread the word count concept.
  • Online Forums. Online discussion forums take the class outside of the rooms. Opinions are shared, and relevant information is passed amongst peers. Commenting can be required or not. Some teachers like to engage students through online platforms to get the students thinking as a group and solving queries together. Teaching is an exceptional way to learn, so allow students this possibility is largely helpful to their own retaining and understanding of information. Since not all students are primed for public speaking, hand raising, and voice sharing, online forums provide an additional outlet for contribution. For many, the discussion board is a safe place to share thoughts and opinions.
  • QR Codes. Quick response codes offer quick links to students for further information- usually diagrams and images or complex solutions to problems. QR are readily available and quick for students to refer to for more information. Not everyone needs to see additional visuals and explanations, but for those students who benefit from more clarification, quick response codes are a perfect solution.

These classroom uses are clearly convenient and shed some light on just how teachers are using the technology to boost education.

Benefits of mLearning

  • Flexibility to learners. The anytime-anywhere learning capability is now more a possibility than ever. Learners can choose their device, their method of education, their subject matter and their physical location. Whether crammed into the back seat of the bus or sprawled out in a hammock, learning via video, podcast and app are all available.
  • Better completion rates and more retention. Mobile learning encourages learning in fragments. Learning feels more achievable when only fifteen minutes are needed to dedicate and only one small lesson at a time is on the table.
  • Collaborative learning. Sharing learning experiences is not just to create a social atmosphere. It creates an undeniably useful method of information retention. The more learners engage with content; the more likely they are to remember it. The more critical they think about it in commentary or in response to the commentary, the deeper they will dive into the ins and outs of the concept.
  • Higher engagement. Mobile learning is, generally, more engaging than the standard eLearning experience. Statistics show that learners complete more of the courses that have higher engagement, too.
  • Multi-device support. There’s no need to bookmark a page and return to it in a day. Compatibility across devices makes jumping back into a lesson easier than ever. A learner can now easily begin a lesson on the library computer, continue on their smartphone on the way home, and finish up on the tablet before bed. The option to use any device makes learner more likely to engage in the first place, knowing they can resume progress from multiples alternatives.
  • Performance support. Since mobile devices are essentially an extension of the human body, using the platform to provide supplementary education to groups working through online pieces of training is now preferable.
  • Learning path. Mobility facilitates continuity. Wherever learners are at in their educational path, the mobile pairing can be used to sync progress, send updates, and be available for whenever the user is ready to continue learning. Mobility makes it easy to get back on the learning path, no matter how many breaks are needed in between.
  • Learn whenever. No need to alter your schedule, learn whenever you want. This runs hand and hand with learning wherever is convenient for the user. Needing only to occupy some free time or carve out fifteen minutes at some point during the day makes it easy to commit to learning every day.
  • Learning a language has been a remarkable development with mLearning. Apps like Duolingo make learning a foreign easy, convenient and fun. Lessons are segmented so that they are achievable in only ten or fifteen minutes. Progress is shown for the user as they learn, so there is a constant state of momentum and encouragement to keep practicing.
  • Screen time. You’re already on the screen, take a ten-minute learning break. It sounds horribly lazy, but our brains can only handle and process so much of one subject matter at a time. If you are researching a story and cannot get away from your desk, but desperately need to shake things up for a minute, try a learning app or lesson. Your brain will be so grateful for the break and it will actually help you better digest information when you go back to the previous activity.
  • mLearning is responsive. This ensures that no student is left behind. Readers can travel at any pace, and quiz takers can retake quizzes until all answers are correct and totally understood. Instant feedback is available. A student can contact a teacher with a question just as easily as the teacher can reach out or monitor the student’s progress.

This mobile learning is all pretty amazing, yeah? But of course, the implementation should be strategic. Let’s look at do’s and don’ts for tech edu:

  • Develop context. Without context, it might feel like you are using mLearning only for the sake of using modern technology in your lesson plans. It is critical that the student understands why the technology is being embedded, how it helps them learn and how it facilitates your lesson overall. Are the students required to engage on the discussion forum for reasons greater than earning points? Make every engagement worthwhile!
  • Keep navigation as simple as possible. If the user interface is too difficult to navigate, the user is going to abandon the mission. Working with a strong UI and UX team is key. Remember that something can look phenomenal on the desktop, but when a user opens it up on their smartphone, a different experience can surface. When it comes to learning, the layout and ability to read and interact are important. If a user is squinting and looking for buttons or content, the brain’s focus shifts. It’s now working to solve technology instead of working to absorb and retain information.
  • Keep scrolling minimal. It is too daunting to scroll infinitely down a page. It is better to break up lessons by saying “next” or “continue”. Consider stating when the end will be. For example, part 3/10. This gives the user a tangible goal and end in sight.
  • Choose your content strategically! The last thing you want is too much information or too large of files that the user cannot load the video or graphic you want to supplement the lesson. Make sure content is easy to download, relevant and concise. If you have more supplementary information to share, consider using QR codes that students can opt to open.
  • User multimedia. Consider first who is absorbing the content. Then determine which media they prefer to interact with. Be sure to use multimedia that continue to stress the points you are already making. Including videos or podcasts for the sake of including other forms of media is only distracting to students. Be clever and wise with additional elements you bring in.
  • Do not enter push mode. Push mode, in theory, acts like a coach reminding the user to stay in tip-top learning shape and on top of their studies. However, mLearning runs more efficiently when it is probed at the learner’s request. Pushing notifications to remind the reader to get back to the app will more likely deter them from continuing. It sets too much pressure on the student and eventually becomes a source of stress, instead of a nice challenge to opt in for every day. mLearning should be all about convenience and being there for the user whenever the time is right. Let the user come to you!

There is no arguing against it- mLearning is and will continue to make us flourish. For the best mobile programs and mobile scheduling software (including appointment scheduling software and online scheduling software), check out Appointment-Plus’s wide selection of digital resources.