Monday, October 08, 2012

M-Learning or just Learning?

Photo of HP Tablet PC running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. - Author Janto DreijerCall me a contrarian (people in my family do), but I think a statement like the following as the lead in to ASTD's Mobile Learning Certificate program does a great disservice.

The growing presence of mobile devices worldwide has resulted in a dramatic change in the way people learn.

The problem I have with this statement is that it's hyperbole at its best. Are they suggesting that people are:

  • Turning more often to tablets and smartphones rather than other sources for learning?
  • Deciding to learn just at the moment they need to know something?
  • Opting not to follow the more traditional routes of gaining knowledge?

People have not changed the way they learn over night. What they may be doing with their tablets and smartphones they did in the past by asking people for information or picking up tablets. By making this dramatic statement, ASTD - like others in the industry - are doing the devices and the learning that can be obtained by review content on them.

There are new rules that have to be understood for developing content and interactions for these devices, but I think these rules can and have been applied to other learning environments. The plethora of short You Tube videos demonstrating how people can perform tasks ranging from how to bake a souffle to how to change a tire demonstrate that learning can be quick once you strip away the window dressing.

Similarly, the oldest form of m-learning - should we consider m-learning as something obtained at the time needed in a succint fashion - would be the first caveman to ask another caveman to explain how to make a tool. 

Bottom line: I think knowing how to use mobile devices to transact learning (both deliver content and provide a link with others to discuss the topic and ask questions) is important, but lets not oversell it like we did with e-learning.

1 comment:

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