The drivers for adopting new technologies in learning include not only the suppliers and customers (buyers) but also the consumers (users) – in other words, everyone. Decide, design, develop and deploy is the standard four-step process relating to technology. Increasingly – since about 2006 – consumers want to use mobile devices for learning and for the less formal ‘performance support’. Initially, there can a high cost of ownership (of the latest mobile devices). So the key issue for HR and learning & development (L&D) professionals is how to get the maximum value from, and use of, this technology.
Mobile devices are now readily available – and we all have them. Communications, games and entertainment, business services, L&D, commerce and other business transactions, as well as business opportunities are inter-connected with mobile applications in the sense that they both influence and are influenced by these mobile applications.
These days, it’s not about getting content to people but, rather, using mobile devices to answer specific learning, development and/or performance needs. The learning materials’ content and its treatment are influenced by what people want and need.
Add to that the benefits for learners from personalised and contextualised learning – from mobile-delivered programs that can discover where the learners are; what they already know; what they need to know, and then provide the relevant learning materials – and you can see how mobile learning (m-learning) can become an ideal medium to get the right information to the right person at the right time.
‘M-learning’ is an area of learning technology which is developing rapidly. Today’s key issues include how can:
- Users and their employers get maximum value from, and use of, this technology?
- Learning materials be personalised and contextualised to make them appropriate for the user, whatever her/his need, location and delivery device?
- The increasingly wide range of mobile devices be best used to deliver both (formal) learning and (informal) performance support materials?
This article has been adapted from the contents of chapter 11 of Bob Little’s e-book, ‘Perspectives on Learning Technologies’ (e-book; ASIN: B00A9K1VVS). This e-book is available from The Endless Bookcase and from Amazon. It contains over 200 pages of observations on issues in learning technologies, principally for learning & development professionals.