MLearning – A Paradigm Shift for E Learning


learning continues to scale new heights with rapid strides made on the
technology front. With the ever-changing pace of technology, the face of
education is changing slowly, but surely.   In the recent times,
students participating in online education programs have been reportedly faring
better than those who receive classroom instructions. Hybrid and online courses
are fast becoming a norm at colleges and universities. The new ways of teaching
and learning are bringing with them innovative learning concepts and platforms.


the differences between the traditional learning and e learning are well
understood, it is important to acknowledge that m learning is not just an
extension of e learning.  Mobile learning is un-tethered. It is also more
informal and opportunistic. It is private, situational and unstructured. These
characteristics highlight the fundamental distinction between e-learning and
mobile learning. In fact, mobile learning has a far greater potential
than e learning ever had.


traditional learning method is about the teacher who delivers the content and
the student who receives it. E learning afforded a new focus, that the learning
could be delivered just-in-time.” M learning takes learning a few steps ahead
– wherein learning is not just provided just-in-time,” but it is also
just-enough” and just-for me”.  M learning puts the student – instead of
the teacher – at the center.


Why M Learning:

Mobile learning is an important
learning platform in today’s world due to availability and reach of mobile
technology, innovative and cost effective mobile devices and mobile network
penetration which has played a crucial role in making m learning effective and


Why M Learning is Gaining Ground:

-Convenience: Accessible from anywhere, anytime.
-Collaboration: Best learning takes place when we share and get immediate tips and feedback.
-Portability: Stacks of books are replaced by RAM with learning experiences customized and connected (Reviews and summaries chunked for on-the-go accesses).
-Engaging: Combination of gaming and learning for a more entertaining and effective experience. 

Emerging Trends of m Learning:

Robert Gadd has written an
insightful post on emerging trends in enterprise mobile learning for 2011.

Some of his predictions are:

– M Learning projects will get bigger,
– Device diversity will be the “new normal”,
– Apps will trump browser-delivered content,

– Authoring tools will evolve to deal with mobility,

– Tablets scene will explode,

– Private social networks will support business centric social interactions,

– Mobile device/os vendors will consolidate,

– New experts will provide consulting on m learning, and

– New features will exploit technology capabilities inherent in devices.

Benefits of M Learning:


It’s truly a medium for
self paced, 24X7 learning. Every learner absorbs information at his or her own
speed and in her own unique way. Educational pedagogies currently resort to
advanced tracks and special classes to manage these needs. Mobile learning is
ideally geared to enable students to learn at their own speed, by uniquely
catering to their requirements in a personalized way.


M learning offers
innovative interaction and engagement opportunities.  Due to built-in
features for interaction and engagement available in the current mobile
devices, like touch screen, m learning reaches a wider audience. M learning
provides great opportunity for innovative interaction and engagement.


Mobile technology has
tremendous potential to benefit those with special needs or learning
disabilities. With several unique applications catering to overcoming learning
and physical impairments, learning through mobile devices enables challenged
students to compete with their peers on an equal footing.


Mobile learning enables
educators to reach out to learners who cannot or do not have exposure to
continuous and regular education. With access to learning materials, these
students can be brought within standardized curriculum, and their learning
and monitored.


Challenges of M Learning:


Mobile learning is technology
intensive and platform dependent. It’s a new mode of interaction between
learner and devices.


There are of course challenges in
design of mobile learning courses compared to conventional learning
courses.  There are operational level challenges in m learning .  For
example, certain mobile gadgets are not compatible with Adobe Flash (.swf).
Although HTML 5 has emerged as a platform independent content medium for m
learning; it still needs to evolve as a full blown alternative to Flash.
 Some of the HTML5 limitations are as follows:

– HTML5 supports limited video formats (only Ogg format is supported).

– HTML5 supports limited audio formats (Ogg, MP3, WAV).

– HTML5 support in browsers is inconsistent.

Best Practices while Developing M


Mobile learning emphasizes short,
modular learning experiences that can be delivered on demand, at the point of
performance. Reliance on internet bandwidth should be minimal once the content
item is downloaded. Mobile learning content should be engaging, light on text
and graphically rich. All this fits very well with the interactivity metaphor,
rather than traditional navigation and page-turning.


Importance of Rapid interactivity in
m learning:

interactivity makes users interact with the content instantly. Interactivity
can take on a number of different levels of complexity, depending on the needs
of the learning course and the tools used to create the interactive features.
Rapid programming is about creating interactions within minutes through

rapid interactivity:


and Easier: The templates make creating interactive m learning fast and simple.
A domain expert can build the content without programming.


to Maintain: It is easy to update and maintain content as one is dealing with
customization of the template and not full-fledged code


the Instructional Patterns: One can easily find an interaction that works
effectively for a particular subject and use the same pattern multiple times.
Using this approach it is easy to build effective courses in an inexpensive


In Conclusion

M Learning portends a fundamental
change in the way learning is delivered and received. Given its location,
orientation and context awareness,  it’s new interaction models and its
reach – mobile is much more than just a more portable e learning
platform.  M Learning puts the student at center and allows them to
experience a truly personalized learning experience at their own pace. The rapid interactivity tools that let subject matter experts build content
without getting lost in coding are all the more crucial for wide proliferation
of m learning. There are of course some technology challenges
which need to be addressed for m learning to realize its full potential.


By Vikas Joshi, managing director,
Harbinger Group
[email protected]