With an exponential growth and penetration of mobile phones as well as a steep demand from the Indian Training and Education sector, is m-learning the next big thing? – excerpt
What is m-Learning?
In simple terms, m-Learning is the art of using mobile technologies to enhance the learning experience. This service utilizes tools such as digital content from traditional textbooks, and games, amongst others through mobile phones to provide a dynamic learning environment. Mobile phones are transforming into classrooms on the move, offering information on demand via text, info-graphics and video.
In the current scenario where time is critical, training and knowledge updating needs are constant and acute shortage of trained individuals, m-Learning is well suited to be part of a blended learning model. The best thing about m-Learning is that it is real-time, supports learning on the move, is self-paced and literally in the learner’s hand. One of the bigger USP is that it gives the ability to access information wherever you are, whenever you want in a personalized manner.
For businesses in a highly competitive setup, disseminating information accurately, at a faster pace and hence saving time and cost has become a lone tool to stay ahead in the rat race.
How m-Learning works?
M-Learning involves creating learning objects on the mobile phones using textual content for preparation or tests, audio/video content or gaming content which would be highly interactive tutorials which students and employees can access asynchronously at their leisure time on the mobile phones.
For example Deltecs stepped into this domain by deploying multimedia based training material in form of audio/video podcasts which lets the users subscribe for a particular feed, and hence access the same runtime without visiting any websites. Also a lot of training material and scheduled screening of employees on the lines of six-sigma etc. giving higher attempt rates and pass percentage. It already has been used extensively across organizations, institutes and a sea of students.
M-Learning accepted in India?
With over 300 million mobile phone users across India, the figures definitely cannot be ignored. With data transfer costs being high the turn around would be that to design the content which is easily consumed by most basic phones. With the following figures given by Deltecs the upward trend is clearly visible.
Future Scope of m-Learning?
The future scope could well lie in increasing the literacy rate among the rural areas of India, Corporates, government, defense forces, NGOs, and academic institutions may well use it as an important platform to take learning to the masses. With 3G as a reality, convergence will lead to ‘knowledge on the fingertips’.
The m-Learning community is fragmented, and if it is to grow, it will require greater collaboration between academia, the industry, corporates and the government. Some indicative areas of future growth include testing, surveys, job aids and just-in-time learning, location-based and contextual learning, social-networked mobile learning, and mobile educational gaming.
There will come a time when you will use an advanced multimedia handheld device to access some m-Learning application or the other without even realizing that you are involved in m-Learning.