The push for mobile learning (mLearning) has been a surprisingly long one. Last year we talked about how mLearning wasn't quite ready, but we threw out some technical tips in case you were ready to dive in. Almost a year later we noted that the Horizon Report slated adoption of mLearning for one year or less. And now a recent T+D magazine features the article: "At Last: M-Learning Going Mainstream."
It looks like the future of mLearning is officially now.
From the T+D article:
"We were surprised at the slower pace of adoption," says Janet Clarey, senior analyst for Bersin & Associates. "However, after nearly 10 years of predicting that m-learning will go mainstream, we're finally seeing enough momentum now that it really is going mainstream, and it's driven by the consumer market."
The article says that a Pew Internet & American Life Project study from July 2010 found that 55% of US mobile web users go online daily, up from 24% the year before. There appears to be little evidence of adoption slowing down anytime soon, so it looks like if you've been itching to get started with mobile learning, the time is now. But be aware that mLearning, even if it is the right time, may not be right for everyone. Before jumping in, consider these points from Jason Bickle's eLearning Devcon 2011 session, Design Approaches for Adapting Content for mLearning.
Do you have...
- an eLearning strategy that includes other forms of content?
- an audience that needs mobile information?
- a standard delivery platform?
- the need to track interactions from mobile platforms?
- content suited for mobile delivery?
- a mobile content manager?
- a mobile web developer?
If you find yourself with a lot of no's, it may not matter if mLearning has officially come into its own... it still may not be quite right for you. mLearning is, after all, just a buzzword unless you have the proper context for it in your learning.
In what may be another boon for mLearning, last week Google released a beta tool called Swiffy, a free Flash to HTML5 converter. My first thought about Swiffy was that it would solve a LOT of the problems I hear with SWF content not playing on Apple devices like the iPad. I tried Swiffy on some of my Captivate-published SWFs and I'm sorry to report that none of them converted using the Swiffy beta. Until Swiffy will convert Captivate SWFs, it appears that Swiffy will have limited use. However, I do think Swiffy will evolve and it won't be long before more elaborate Flash content (such as SWFs created with Captivate) will be easily converted to HTML5. Fingers crossed!
(Note: You must use a WebKit browser like Chrome or Safari for Swiffy to work at all.)
We aren't the only ones buzzing about mLearning. Check out these other recent Coming of Age articles floating around the eLearning community:
- 10 Tips for Designing mLearning Content
- Five Ways to Get Started in Mobile Learning
- M-Learning 101: I'll Take My Rapid E-Learning to Go
More from ELDC 2011: