Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important, even when replacing the use of home devices such as desktop computers or even laptops. Some experts indicate that more than 60% of internet browsing time is done from a smartphone.
Mobile learning brings great benefits, which is why more and more teachers are starting to use this trend in their classes. There are many tools that can be used to reinforce learning through mobile devices, which teachers can use to introduce this trend in the classroom.
This, together with remote working and the relocation of many work teams, has forced e-learning platforms to evolve, adapting their technology and resources to offer a 100% responsive learning experience. This means that any professional can access training or educational content from any place or device, whether it is a tablet, a mobile phone or a PC.
Differences between e-learning and m-learning
E-learning is the use of electronic devices to access a digital educational curriculum outside the classroom. M-learning content tends to encourage non-formal learning, focusing on cultivating skills such as emotional intelligence or problem solving, whereas e-learning is structured around more formal content such as courses.
Usually, m-learning content is shorter and simpler, while the time invested in creating an e-learning product is longer. E-learning materials are designed to be displayed on computers, while m-learning materials are best displayed on tablets or smartphones.
m-learning can be a powerful tool to reach learners at any time and help them learn with more flexibility than in an e-learning programme.
What are the advantages of mobile learning?
Mobile learning enables ubiquitous learning. In other words, learners can access educational material and resources from anywhere and access information and knowledge instantly. It also enables both formal and informal learning. This is done by enhancing the active role of the student, as the teacher acts as a guide.
Mobile learning also makes communication between different members of the educational community and institutions easier. It enables instant interaction between student and teacher, as well as being more frequent and interactive with other people, resources and applications.
No teaching strategy is perfect, and neither is mobile learning. Even so, m-learning has many positive aspects that enrich learners’ experience and make their education more flexible, both inside and outside the classroom.
Social networking in education
Social media is often seen as something quite negative in the classroom, usually considered a distraction. However, we can turn social media into a powerful ally for education in and out of the classroom.
For example, learners will be able to upload their contributions in the form of an online video. In order to make effective use of m-learning, it is not only necessary to introduce these tools in the classroom, but also to carry out deeper changes that take into account the use of methodologies that encourage the active participation of students and that use new learning strategies, resources and adapt teacher training in order to make the most of the advantages of these technologies.
Should I use mobile learning in my classes?
All of the above makes m-learning a strategy that is flexible enough for different styles and with great potential to maintain high levels of student engagement, due to the wide range of content that can be included in these programmes, from text, images and videos, to less common elements such as podcasts, quizzes, games and more.
M-learning can be highly motivating for students, due to the diversity of content and the flexibility it offers. However, the distraction factor can be a major disadvantage that we need to take into account and represents one of the biggest obstacles to m-learning. Mobile learning is not the perfect educational resource, but it is a good auxiliary and entry point to incorporate new technologies in the classroom that could exponentially improve the education of the student of the future.