Nowadays, most people own at least one mobile device. As a result, mobile learning is fast gaining popularity not only because it is cheap and convenient but also because it is one of the preferred methods among most people. Many companies, organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions have already embraced MLearning.
While there are both advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning, the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges. The main benefit of mLearning is that it allows people to turn otherwise downtime into more productive time. For instance, people can take mobile courses while driving or cooking dinner.
As instructional designers develop mobile learning solutions, they should realize that not all types of courses are suitable for mobile delivery. Learning aids using mobile devices have been found to be most effective for:
- Just-in-time (JIT) learning
- Review and Refresher training
- Access to Flash Cards and Reminders
- Evaluation and Quiz-based learning
- Game and Simulation-based learning
- Quick coaching and Feedback sessions
- Learners-learning-from-learners type of sessions
Delivering content in “small bites” as opposed to “entire meals” is one of the most important rules when designing mobile learning solutions. Mobile courses need to be created from scratch. Instructional designers cannot simply convert their already existing eLearning materials into mobile ones because, at the very least, the course will not be displayed correctly on mobile devices. Instead, it is suggested to create two separate versions of the same course using the mobile first approach.
The tools, technology and content all play an important role in mLearning development. Some of the popular eLearning authoring tools that allow instructional designers to develop mobile solutions include Captivate, Lectora, Articulate Studio and Storyline. Each tool has its advantages and disadvantages, but all of them will work to deliver basic mLearning courses.