Technology has evolved rapidly over the past few years and so has the way we work. The workplace has changed scene from traditional desk spaces to a large and fluid area where people are connected to each other all the time through technology. Employees have moved on from desktop computers to laptops and now, tablets and smart-phones. India too has witnessed immense technological advances over the years – especially in the area of mobile usage. It now ranks 2nd in the world, only behind China, in the number of mobile devices in use across the country. As of February 2015, the number of mobile devices in use in India is 960,579,472 (Source: Wikipedia).
With the rapid increase in the use of mobile devices, mobile learning (mlearning) has also made a powerful contribution in the area of training – making it available as per the needs of the learner, anytime and anywhere. mLearning is suitable for a wide range of learners in different industries. mLearning in India can be very successful on account of the workforce becoming increasingly mobile. mLearning can provide short learning nuggets, audio or video-based learning and even performance support. Here are some ways that the mobile learning platform can be utilized:
- To enhance and support the learning imparted in class or through an e-course, course notes can be shared after an instructor-led session or once the learner completes an e-course. This reinforces the learning and increases its impact drastically. The learners can refer to these notes from time to time and refresh their learning, which then reflects on their performance as well. Similarly, checklists can also be prepared for courses or sessions which highlight the crux of the learning through tabulated pointers. Through the mobile devices, the learners can refer to these anytime and anywhere – especially during the course of actual work.
- Another performance support tool can be sent as practice assignments so that learners can practise newly acquired skills outside of the class as well. The assignments can also be sent after the learner completes the e-course. The added advantage is that the learner can read up an e-course on the mobile learning management system and then the same system provides practice assignments to develop the skills gained.
- Short audio recordings or podcasts can also be developed that provide performance support at the time of need. In-house podcasts can be developed by instructors or the learners themselves to encourage sharing and peer-learning.
- Similarly, videos can also be created to gain the instant appeal of all the learner groups. Videos are a great way of providing performance enhancement tools through mobile learning management system as it delivers just-in-time learning – which can be accessed as per the emerging needs of the learner. Videos can encapsulate concepts or topics in a way that appeals to the learners as it has minimal text and attractive graphics. It helps the learners gain quick knowledge quickly and apply it instantly onto the area of work. Organizations can encourage knowledge sharing by providing learners with simple devices with built-in cameras to record videos themselves and share it with the fellow learners.
- It is important to keep in mind that in mobile platforms the reading space is constricted. Also, the opportunity to read is when the learner is on the move. In this scenario, infographics can be utilized to convey information. Infographics can be easily created and easily disseminated among the learners providing encapsulated and tabulated knowledge in an attractive way. Infographics use graphics and minimal text to create visual representations of concepts, which works very well for the mobile platform. Also, infographics are image files that are compatible with all learner devices and learners do not have to download any other supporting programmes. They also take up very little hard-disk space and thus can be saved or stored in the device for further utilization as per the perceived need of the learners.
To help and support the learners to apply the learning on to their work, it is necessary to provide learning as per their needs – as and when they need it. The time is ripe to utilize the mobile platform for learning, and all countries -- including India -- can benefit from the vast opportunities that mobile learning provides.