Evolution of the Mobile LMS: mLearning for the new-age learner

Posted on : May 30th, 2013
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Over the last decade or so, Mobile devices have penetrated our lives and the monumentally changed way we communicate or access information. With increasing affordability and evolving technologies to suit modern life, mobile devices now present a huge potential for training and learning – especially in the corporate scenario.

The effectiveness of Mobile Learning or mLearning stems out of the fact that mobile devices provide an easy access to a variety of learning content – media files, audio or video snippets, images, documents or Web pages – anytime and anywhere, as per the convenience and need of the learner. This, combined with the ability to communicate with anyone through a choice of multiple channels – voice, text message, chat or social media platform, provides a rounded platform of learning for the new-age learner.

Capitalizing on the evolving mobile technologies and the huge potential it presents for learning, the need of the hour is to align our Learning Management Systems (LMS) to mobile devices as well. This entails not just extending the web-based enterprise LMS onto the mobile platform, but changing and customizing it suitably for the mobile delivery platform.

Choosing the right development tool

Mobile Development on HTML5

Big Question – Web or Native App?

Through the ubiquitous mobile platform, the mobile LMS should be accessible to the learners at all times. It is best then, to employ a development tool that supports multiple devices and platforms. The increasing adoption of HTML 5 to create mobile learning solutions is due to the fact that it is platform independent. A mobile LMS developed with HTML5 can be uniformly accessed on a laptop, smart phone or tablet even if these devices run on different OS or have different web-browsers. This makes learning easier to access for the learners. For organizations too it is the easier and cheaper option to enable cross-platform delivery of media-rich mobile content. Alternatively mobile apps can also be developed to make learning content more accessible and deliver a better user-experience that is expected out of native apps. The choice between web-based LMS or native apps should be made keeping in mind a variety of factors like development budgets, devices that are to targeted, the type of content to be delivered and if that is to made accessible offline.

Ease of use and intuitively designed UI

With a smaller screen-size, it is of paramount importance that the learner should not feel restricted in experiencing the learning platform. With intuitive design strategies like floating panels and tiled structure, it is possible to create a compact yet visually attractive UI that enhances the learner’s experience with the platform. For instance, when developing mobile and tablet compatible LMS for our customer Logical Operations, the learner interface was designed on the concept of Windows 8 Tile interface. The tile interface kept the UI clutter-free, making way for learner-ease with the system while not compromising on the available variety of content. The option of switch on or off tiles was also available in order to customize UI as per users needs.

WiZDOM Motion Interface

WiZDOM Motion Interface, as designed for Logical Operations

A Variety of Learning Content

Contrary to initial belief, it is possible to deliver a wide variety of content on the mobile platform. In addition to traditional text-based e-learning courses, images, graphics, animations, audio and video can be utilized to create content which is engaging and caters to varying learner needs. The learner can choose to read through an e-learning module on the long commute to work or quickly gain insights from a learning video just before an important presentation. Assessments that include a variety of questions can also be built in. The mobile advantage is that the assessments can be taken on the go – whenever the learner finds the time or experiences the need. Instructors too can utilize the mobile LMS to disseminate reference material, class notes and exercises to supplement the learner’s experience beyond the confines of the classroom. The variety in content creates a learner-centric approach to training, where the learner has the freedom to choose what he learns and when.

Social and collaborative learning

Learning is not an isolated activity and the benefits of social learning are especially well experienced through the mobile platform. Even the most basic mobile phones today now have accessibility to social networks like facebook and twitter. Mobile LMSs can allow learners to connect to fellow learners, their peers as well as instructors on these social networks to gain insights from the experiences of each other, collaborate and learn. Virtual Classrooms within the LMS can provide a safe and collaborative environment of learning. Special tools like Whiteboards can also be built in to enhance the collaborative efforts of the learners. All this together creates a social platform that can be accessed at all times – to learn more, learn from each other and attain deeper understanding of the subject.

The Bottom Line

The mobile market is still dynamic and the technologies are also evolving every day. In the face of constant change, what remains unchanged is the fact that the mobile platform is packed with immense possibilities for the learning industry. From delivering e-content, to providing sustained learning support, creating an avenue for performance support and social learning – the mobile LMS is poised to do it all. To learn more about G-Cube’s mobile-enabled learning solutions, write to info@gc-solutions.net

Arunima Majumdar

Arunima is an e-learning blogger and likes discussing innovations in training & learning for the new-age corporate sector.

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