Thursday, November 29, 2007

Session 2: Investigating and Proposing Mobile Learning

So for the second session Investigating and Proposing Mobile Learning was ok, I guess you always have a little let down after the first session. The presenters – Andy Petroski and Sandy Hack from Highmark – were handicapped early on by audio problems. There presentation focused on their efforts to introduce m-learning capabilities into their company.

They seemed to be approaching m-learning from a traditional training view in which you have to make the learning interactive. As I noted in my posting after the first session, my observation is that if learning content is less than 10 minutes (and granted that is an arbitrary number not based on any research that I know of) it can be a passive presentation.

That said they provided a great laundry list of areas ripe for m-learning:
  • Current company or product announcements (video, audio, or email)
  • Product and inventory updates
  • Just-in-time training or practice
  • Any location-based and contextual learning
  • Text-based (or simple animation) simulations and games
  • Social learning
  • Spaced practice
  • Coaching or mentoring
  • Case studies
  • Job aids
  • Audio or video
  • Decision Support
  • Tests and quizzes
  • Charts and graphs
They used the phrase mobile learning library as a name for the repository for their m-learning content. It's a catchy name, that could catch on, although I think most content will end up residing in a LCMS so that it is accessible by both portable devices and computers.

They did note that challenges of initiating an m-learning initiative, starting with security. How do you deliver proprietary information to mobile devices in the field? If devices are distributed to employees preloaded with content how do you ensure they are not lost or stolen? While this is a problem with laptop computers as well as mobile devices, mobile devices being smaller can be more easily forgotten.

The other key issue is usability. Not everyone has great vision and the tiny screens on some multimedia cell phones could be a problem for people to view streaming video or text content. The duo did not have all the answers, but what they offered us was rough map of the terrain that the rest of us can use to explore m-learning in our environment.

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