Mobile learning is heralded as the next big step in e-learning and developers across the industry are working on better solutions for the ‘on-the-go’ learners. G-Cube recently released Wizdom LMS client for Android platform that promises to deliver structured learning through mobile devices. Built on the Android 2.2 (Froyo), Wizdom’s mobile client is ready to support courses rich in multimedia and graphics as well as give the learner the complete learning experience on the mobile medium.
Overview of Wizdom Mobile Client
Wizdom Mobile client is a native Android application. Upon launching the application learner can see courses available to her, take the courses online, or download and save them for offline viewing.
Learner’s progress through the course is tracked and stored offline, and is synchronized with the main server whenever learner chooses to go online and sync the progress. All details, such as time spent on course, test scores, and quiz responses are synced so that a consolidated progress report is always available to learners, no matter what is the medium of accessing the course-ware.
Challenges and Learnings
- While viewing course online, special care must be taken for streaming the video if it is in MP4 video format. This dependency is important for Android because the learner would not be able to view the videos, if they are not properly hinted i.e. “safe for streaming”.
- Downloading as much as 20Mb of content onto the hard-drive of the phone proved to be problem as all the device configurations had to be kept in mind while designing the mobile client. While keeping this option open was not debatable, it had to be ensured that it had to be done while not compromising the phone memory. Changing the download methodology was the solution to this problem. Instead of cramming the hard-drive full, the content was downloaded to the SD card of the phone. This freed the memory (RAM) for other functions and increased the overall performance of the phone as well.
- Wizdom Mobile Client had to comply with SCORM standards. SQLite DMS (database management system) was chosen, as this is the default supported RDBMS on Android. This also ensured that the mobile client was lightweight, in order for it to run successfully on smart-phones.
- Security was another concern because for any client, the sanctity of their data needs to be maintained. Every learner was given specific Login ID and password which had the same credentials as on the main server. They were transformed in encrypted XML format for authentication. In addition, pre-generated tokens were issued by the main server and then given to each login request as well consecutive requests. Keeping a track of the logins over a secure channel was thus made possible.
- Graphics form a large part of any e-learning course. When creating courses for mobile learning, developers need to keep in mind the limitations of the medium. Compatibility of formats is a foremost concern. For instance, the Android platform supports 3GP, MP3 (AAC audio) and MP4 (MPEG-4) video files but not raw AAC format.
- When working on the mobile phone platform, there are always be space and memory constraints. Keen focus on pOptimization of the software code thus becomes essential as it ensures that the system works with available memory and yet, does not compromise on efficiency.
- Developers also need to take care of back-compatibility as all phones used may not work with the latest version of the OS. With each update of the OS, there are more features and better applications. This will always be a concern of the client – who will ideally invest in providing hardware only once, but would want to benefit from the advancement in the OS.
With advances in technology and available resources, it is only a matter of time that mobile learning will be the preferred mode of learning by many. Wizdom LMS Mobile Client is among many such developments in the field of mobile learning being undertaken at G-Cube. Reaffirming our belief that it is indeed where the future of learning lies, we look forward to sharing with you our experiences and endeavors in the field.