Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012 - (Page 11)
EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES | GARY WOODILL
A MOBILE DEVICE ALLOWS US TO BE RE-ENGAGED IN THE WORLD
CONTEXT, CONNECTIVITY AND COMMUNITY
hen I grew up, learning was something that was mainly done at school. With the increased use of information technologies for education and training, many different types of learning have been “invented.” Each time a new technology is developed for use in learning, we attach the name of the technology or technique in front of the word “learning,” and congratulate ourselves on discovering something new. In my 40year career in helping people to learn, I have witnessed the birth of computer-assisted learning (CAL), computer-managed learning (CML), technology-enabled learning (TEL), web-based learning (WBL), electronic learning (e-learning), social learning (SL), informal learning (IF) and, now, mobile learning (m-learning). Each of these new forms of learning is actually a new form of teaching or training. The methods and technologies that we used to facilitate learning experiences for others are reflected in the names that we give to various types of learning technologies. What happens in the brain, however, is dependent on the current and previous experiences of the learner, including the kinds of information made available to them. While I think that most of the forms of learning listed above result in roughly the same experience for most users, there seems to be a fundamental shift in user experience when education and training become mobile. Until the use of social media and mobile devices for learning, most computer-mediated learning, also known as e-learning, was based on the classroom metaphor. It is no accident that the first online learning environments contained “virtual classrooms” complete with an instructor in control, class lists, tests and quizzes, and raising your hand to be noticed. The modern classroom was invented as a learning technology in the 1770s in Prussia as a method of immobilizing learners, forcing them to look straight ahead, and pay attention to the teacher as the source of all knowledge. E-learning on a desktop is much the same – staring for hours at a screen where experts present their knowledge in the form of narration, slides, video or graphics. Mobile devices can also be “attention wells” that we look at continuously while ignoring the world around us. A recent Pew Research Center study called Adults and Cell Phone Distractions reported that 17 percent of American adults who own mobile phones “say they have bumped into another person or an object because they were distracted by talking or texting on their mobile
phones.” But, using mobile devices for learning in this way is not exploiting the unique potential of mobile learning. Learning in Context As an alternative to fixating on a small screen, having a mobile device with us allows us to be re-engaged in the world in a new way. While a classroom or e-learning experience can be useful, it usually takes us out of the context of the subject matter we are learning. Mobile learning can be “learning in context” in that we can supplement real world experiences with additional useful information at the exact time we need it. “Learning at the point of need” means that we can ask for information from an expert, from an online information source, or from one of our peers, at the time that information is most relevant to us. The Mobile Connection Learning on the move means we can be engaged in real world situations, but the real power of mobile learning is when we use the connectivity of mobile devices to find information that we need immediately because of what we are doing or experiencing. Learning is changing from being competency based to being task based – just-in-time information is delivered to us for the task at hand, rather than being learned “just in case” we might need it. A Sense of Community In a very short time we can find crowdsourced or expert information based on our unique location, and have that information automatically updated as we move around our world. We can research and give back information as we find it, store it online, vote for our favorite things or share tips with a friend. These, too, can be powerful learning experiences, and create a sense of community among those working on the same projects. Once relationships are built, then keeping contact can happen from any location in the world. Learning in context, connectivity from any location and keeping in touch with your community without being tethered to a desk or a laptop are three ways that mobile learning is an advance from traditional e-learning. Dr. Gary Woodill is CEO of i5 Research and senior analyst, Float Mobile Learning. Email Gary.
Training Industry Quarterly, Winter 2012 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine / www.trainingindustry.com/TIQ
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012
Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012
From Where I Sit: The Age of Personal Learning
Table of Contents
The Discipline of Instructive Coversation
Real' Learning: The Role of Context
Context, Connectivity and Community
Don't Be Afraid of Feelings in the Workplace
Peer-to-Peer: The Future of Learning
It's All About the Social. Or is it?
Informal Learning: The Dawn of a Profitable New Era
Harvesting Creativity through Social Media
Connect, Learn, Share, Innovate: How to Begin Your Social Media Journey
Casebook: Marriott: Accommodating IT Training
How Long Does it Take to Get Fully Productive?
Closing Arguments: The Social Network
Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012