Before diving into what mobile learning (m-learning) is, let’s talk about the latest statistics.
Mobile internet traffic has hugely increased over the past few years. Moreover, representatives of Generation Z (born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) grew up with mobile devices and tablets in hands. And now they can’t imagine their learning experience without using mobile devices to do research or take notes.
In addition, busy bees with tight schedule can’t find time to learn, and they prefer to consume information when they have free time, for example during the commute.
All of that has lead to the emergence of mobile learning.
What is M-learning?
Mobile learning, as known as m-learning, is a learning process that is delivered and consumed through mobile phones and tablets.
This type of learning is a logical result of the technical revolution. In early 2000 computers have begun to be used in classrooms for academic education and at home for personal education.
Over time, mobile devices have become more popular, due to their portability. As a result, nowadays smartphones and tablets are used for presentations, taking quizzes, watching lectures, taking notes, playing educational games. etc.
Mobile learning can be provided through an adaptive website or mobile application. The last open more opportunities in terms of performance and engagement.
Why M-learning Is A Must Have?
We access our smartphones continuously throughout the day so learning on the smartphones is a logical extension.
Here are some compelling stats that reaffirm that mLearning is no more an option but a “must have”:
- According to Lynda, those who learn on a mobile device complete course material 45% faster than those using a computer.
- Gartner foresees that 45% of businesses will work according to BYOD (bring your own device) policy by 2020.
- LearnDash research shows that 70% of students felt more motivated when learning on a mobile device.
- Mobile learners usually study for 40 minutes longer than desktop users, says MNAlearning.
- Statista shows that by 2020 mobile market value is expected to be 83.7 billion U.S. dollars worth.
Mobile Learning Pros
One of the key pros of m-learning is that it can be accessed anywhere from any device. This means that students can learn during their commute, on manufacture warehouses and offices.
Other m-learning advantages:
- Suitable for micro-learning
- Adapted to millennial learners
- Easy access to information when needed
- Learners can collaborate on the go through chats
- Instant feedback and Q&A
But there are no advantages on this planet without disadvantages.
Mobile Learning Disadvantages
M-learning can improve the learning experience as well as bring some issues to it.
Mobile learning has more technical problems than educational:
- Device compatibility, battery life and performance.
- Internet connectivity
- More distractions like messages and notifications
Considering these, mobile learners should have appropriate devices to be able to benefit mobile learning.
Best LMS that support mobile learning
If you want to bring mobile experience to your learners, you need a learning management system (LMS) that supports such a feature. We have gathered some top players on the market that allow you to provide m-learning to your students:
Mobile learning can be implemented in ways of an adaptive website or mobile application. Such learning approach increases the course completion rate and makes it more convenient for learners to pass through course or training as they can do it anywhere and anytime.
If you want to provide your students with mobile learning, make sure you have a strong development team that can help you with technical realization.
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Inspired by the tweets I’ve been reading today, and from Sheila MacNeill’s post of the same title, here is something that education and learning means to me. As with everything these days, we have the hashtag #EducationDay to use.
It must be said, or rather I must say it, that without the Internet then I would be as learned as I am. Before I became connected and before I used the Internet for collaboration I read books for pleasure, I never read a newspaper (sometimes watched news on TV), and I rarely read ‘business’ or non-fiction books (beyond an occasional biography). Becoming a Learning Technologist in 2007 opened my eyes to the power of the Internet for learning. Yes, I’d used and worked with the Internet in so much as being a web designer and working with geographically isolated communities of practice using the Internet to pull together for professional and special interest goals. But I’d not considered the Internet for online learning. Yes, perhaps I was behind the curve in this, but I’ve caught up … !
I have benefited from using the Internet to learn from others, to work with others, to collaborate and share with others. The Internet has enabled me to do things previously unknown to me and take my personal and professional development in areas and directions I know I would not have gone without it. Connections made with both individuals and institutions have taught me more than I can realistically comprehend or voice. Opportunities to find, share, connect, collaborate, curate, communicate, etc. through browsing and following online has brought me to you, and you to me.
For me, in short, my #EducationDay is a reflection on 25+ years of Internet use, where it has taken me and why. The link to the #EducationDay above (and here again) says “education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.” Yes. This. Oh yes, this. If only everyone had this chance. Which is one reason why I am trying to do a little to feed back to the learning community with me tweets, my blog posts or LinkedIn updates, and my interest and involvement a a trustee in Learn Appeal, the learning charity.
These are quite special, I wasn’t aware of this achievement until I started thinking about something else: conversations.
When I started blogging and tweeting, and connecting on LinkedIn, I was all about the network and conversations. I was building an interest and understanding of my role (learning technologist), my work place, and the kind of ‘things’ I needed to understand. Now, ten years down the road, 901 blog posts and 50,000 tweets later, I realise that my use of these systems and the networks I’ve built there, are changing.
Back in March 2017 (“Dear Twitter. It’s not me, it’s you”) I wrote about my disappointment at changes to Twitter; not necessarily about the platform but how it is being used by the user base and my network. What started out, for me and many more like me, it was all about the conversation; the links and collaborative nature of being connected to likeminded individuals on a global scale, the ability to search and question and learn from others in different organisational and societal cultures, to connect and engage with senior or specialists ‘experts’ in the field of EdTech. The conversations and engagement I used to get in the early days of Twitter and LinkedIn have, I’ll admit, help me grow personally and professionally into the senior role I have. I would not have produced, managed, edited and published four books, nor would I have gained the peer-reviewed CMALT qualification, the invitation to be a trustee for the Learn Appeal charity, or the various accolades I’ve collected over the years.
What I get in my timeline feeds now is very different. There are fewer conversations in and around the work or collaboration. What conversations there are seem to be more broadcast approach rather than sharing. Being connected through Twitter or Facebook or other networks has obviously had an affect on us, we are all more informed (?) about world politics, the environment, culture, etc. and this is what most of my timeline is about now. That’s fine, I often add to the noise too, but my primary purpose for Twitter, etc. is work. I want to learn and help others learn about online/distance learning opportunities, be they MOOCs, SPOCs, online degrees, short courses, micro-learning, etc.
I also acknowledge that I have been part of the above problem too, which is why I’m annoyed. Annoyed at myself for setting sucked in and annoyed that I’m getting annoyed at the changes. Change is OK, I don’t have to like it or like what it’s changing to, but I should be able to step back and reassess what it is I want from my networks. That is what i am now doing … reassessing my use of online social tools, Twitter, LinkedIn, this blog, etc. I’ve already dropped a few (and not really noticed), will I drop those too … ?
Conversations are powerful learning opportunities. So why am I annoyed that social networks have changed the conversation?
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There, semi-rant over. Thanks for reading.
Thanks for Sheila MacNeill for inspiring me to blog again. I’ll try and do it more often now; it’s good for the reflective soul searching and a good way to focus and unpick my very full and random thought process. I’ve missed it.
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While it is obvious that Learnability or learning effectiveness of online courses has an impact on ROI, its measurement is rather a tall order. This article outlines how you can use our framework to predict, measure, and validate the learnability or learning effectiveness of your online courses.
What Is Learnability Or Learning Effectiveness Of Online Courses?
Learnability or learning effectiveness of online courses can be defined as the ease and speed with which the learners can acquire the required information/knowledge/skill. There is an associated aspect that you need to be mindful of, that is, the scope of learnability. Once this measured, we can assess the progress from knowledge acquisition to application reflected as performance gain.
The scope of learnability evaluation can be looked at in two ways:
- Initial Learnability: Initial Learnability applies to the performance over a single, short term usage period.
- Extended Learnability: Extended Learnability applies to the performance change over time.
What Is The Significance Of Learnability Or Learning Effectiveness Of Online Courses?
The significance of learnability is evident. Only well crafted courses with the right learnability can help learners perform better and help organizations meet their goals.
Studies have revealed that learners lose up to 40% of their time due to “frustrating experiences”with courses. The common causes being missing, hard to find, unusable, and irrelevant features of the course.
Similarly, a study carried out by Federico Borges found that learners get frustrated due to a variety of reasons including the learning strategy used, lack of prompt feedback, the company culture, the learning material that was designed, and so on.
Does Learnability Impact The Computation Of ROI On Training? Is This Impact Direct Or Indirect?
Most of us are familiar with Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation as shown here:
- Level 1 – Learner Reaction – Was the course relevant, useful, and worth my time?
- Level 2 – Learning – Did the course lead to increase in skill/knowledge? Did the course meet the required cognition level?
- Level 3 – Application of learning – Was there a performance improvement or change in behavior based on the learning?
- Level 4 – Business impact – Was there a tangible and demonstrable value after the training?
This model can be extended to measurement of ROI on training by mapping monetary value to the final gain (business impact).
Impact of Learnability on ROI on training: Learnability or learning effectiveness impacts each level of Kirkpatrick’s model, eventually helping you maximize ROI on training.
- Learnability impacts level 1 and 2 directly and enables application of learning in level 3. Once these three are in place, the business impact is likely to be met. Subsequently, the ROI on training can be calculated (mapping the business impact to a monetary gain).
How does this really work to impact the ROI?
- A better and meaningful user experience increases the stickiness of learning.
- It also increases the learners’ motivation to take the course leading to higher completion rates.
- Once these are in line, you can expect to see an increased application of the learning and this in turn will lead to the desired impact on the learners and business.
- By evaluating your online courses for learnability, you can predict its impact as well as identify measures to increase it. This will go a long way in achieving a positive ROI on your training spend.
NOTE: Validation of the learning experience is important when it comes to determining ROI on training. As suggested by Keri Bennington of UNC Kenan-Flager Business School in a report, “ROI measures should be related to performance after the Learning and Development experience and, according to some, tied to a dollar figure. For example, time saved or increased output (or both) as a result of improved performance following participation in a development program can then be compared to a dollar figure.”
Can Learnability Be Measured?
Yes, learnability or learning effectiveness of online courses can be measured but there are several challenges associated with this exercise:
- There is a maze of parameters that influence it.
- Adding to the volume of parameters that can influence learnability is the second challenge that not all parameters are measurable.
- The significance of each parameter changes with each training type.
- Finally, the feedback can be objective (easy to implement) as well as subjective (often difficult to fix).
How Do We At EI Design Measure Learnability?
In spite of the fact that measurement of learnability is a tall order, at EI Design, we offer a unique framework that you can use to predict, measure, and validate the Learnability of online courses (for new or legacy courses).
Our Approach: We began our exercise by looking at various building blocks of a course and how learners view them or interact with them. Using these cues, we created 6 metrics which map to each of these to help us evaluate the learnability or learning effectiveness as shown here:
- Metrics 1: Interface Design.
- Metrics 2: Course Information and Instructions (navigation).
- Metrics 3: Content Structuring (to meet the required level of cognition).
- Metrics 4: Task Performance (to interact and learn).
- Metrics 5: Usability (overall experience).
- Metrics 6: Feedback on Design Elements.
Measurement: Our framework also allows you to dynamically assign the criticality based on the nature of the course, content, or learners. Then the aggregated Learnability Index is generated.
Take a look at an example of the Learnability Index of an existing course and how we upped it by enhancing it through our Learnability guidelines.
Validation: This can be validated by the learners and the feedback can be used to enhance the learning design further, if required.
Take a look at some reports that show how the course fared with learners (validation of the predictive learnability).
How Can You Use Our Framework To Maximize ROI On Training?
You can use our framework to predict the learnability of the courses you are developing. You can also use it to evaluate the Learnability of your legacy courses and then uplift it. Through our learnability framework, you will be able to:
- Get access to a predictive methodology to build learnability in your new courses.
- Use it to evaluate the learnability of your existing courses: You can diagnose issues that reduce the learning effectiveness and hamper performance and step up the Learnability Index to the required levels.
- Validate your assumptions with learners: You can check if your courses pass the litmus test by validating the impact of the courses from the folks who matter – the learners!
- Gain crucial insights for future learning interventions that can enhance the effectiveness of the training curriculum and performance for the learners.
- Improve learning retention and meet the prescribed cognition level.
With these, you will be able to have greater clarity on demonstrable gains for learners as well as the business and maximize your ROI on training.
How Can Our Learnability Framework Help Learning And Development Teams?
Learning and Development teams can use our learnability framework to:
- Predict, measure, and continuously enhance the learning effectiveness of trainings.
- Have a robust framework in place to constantly improve learning and performance.
- Have a data driven approach to address user experience related issues in learning (actionable learner feedback).
- Demonstrate a positive impact on ROI on training.
You can take a look at this video of our Webinar on How To Predict, Measure, And Validate The Learnability Of Online Courses for more in-depth insights:
I hope this article provides cues on how you can use our framework to measure and enhance the learnability or learning effectiveness of your online courses, how you can validate the predictive Learnability with your learners, and see if you are on target or what further measures will help you hit the bull’s-eye. If you have any queries on this, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Recent themes to my work has been the nature of how, and what, we share. I wanted to reflect a little on my own ‘sharing’ here, and try and split the sharing from social media, if possible.
There are obvious easy ways to write about my sharing (per platform) but also I want to think about the why? So, why? I can’t deny one major factor is to reach a wider audience than just those I immediately work with on a day-to-day basis. By sharing my ideas or thoughts or projects or interests I’m obviously creating and managing my brand (me) but I also hope to be of some influence to others working in the same sphere as me.
Obviously, there’s this blog. Back when I started writing here I used to write about the day-to-day tasks and tools I used. The last few years has seen me change direction, mainly due to possible conflict of interest with where I’ve worked and the need to keep some commercially sensitive things private. I’ve developed it more recently to be about the why I do things and how I develop myself or my work, my attitude to learning and technology and how use them both. I write here to share experiences and ideas, books I’ve read and reviewed, books I’ve written and curated, etc. I write to have a brain-dump, drop ideas or stress, I write to see what you all think … What do you think?
I share my blog posts on Twitter so I can reach more people, and engage the wider field of learning technology. It reaches more people this way and I can engage in conversations beyond my own understanding, therefore helping me widen my appreciation and knowledge for my work. My Twitter activity involved my blog but also other aspects of my work, and sometimes home life too, but mainly my work. I save tweets to my ‘like’ (although I still don’t use it as “ooh, I like this tweet” but rather as a save feature to go back and read or reply to something after the fact) and add people to my lists. Twitter is my go-to place all day and pretty much everyday. My network or followers and those I follow grows and changes all the time, therefore my exposure to new ideas or tools does too.
I’ve been and gone on LinkedIn before and, at the moment, am back and engaging here again. The audience is different to Twitter, less chat and more ‘sharing’. Perhaps it’s because it’s viewed as more of my online CV, or perhaps because there’s different mechanisms for comments, etc. I don’t know, but LinkedIn is an acquired taste. Currently I like it, but I take it each day at a time with all my sharing.
I use both these platforms more for searching and reading different themes, less so for my own sharing, but I appreciate the work others are putting into their sharing activities here. For some these are important channels for sharing their work or ideas, and that’s fine.
This is, after all, about what works for you or me. There is no rule that will work for everyone, we are each individual and have different perspectives and needs and likes, and this is what we each bring to the wider community. THIS is what makes our personal (learning) networks so vibrant and interesting. This is why I love to share .. I take so much from the community on all these platforms, I want to add something back in the hope (need?) that it makes a difference to someone like something I’ve just taken. Isn’t sharing great!
Sharing: why and how. It may be a tweet, a blog post, an idea, a photo. This is sharing. For me.
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I suppose I ought to add this here too although I’m still thinking of dumping my account here. Facebook has only ever been about family and friends. I dabbled in having a work-type account but realised the audience was the same, but smaller, than my twitter audience so decided it wasn’t worth the extra time to manage and curate it.
Above all I try and keep my sharing professional. I have interests that creep into my sharing every now and then, mainly on Twitter. Yes, I have two kittens, I drink tea not coffee, I love Lego. But it’s still shared with a view to what my audience may be interested in. I don’t follow celebrities, for the most part, as I’m just not that interested in what they’re doing. Unless they are the kind of people I think are celebrities like Steve Wheeler, Stephen Heppell, Sue Beckingham, Amy Burvall, Maren Deepwell, et al (see the people I’ve been lucky to work with on my books, these are the celebrities in my world!). Then, of course, I’m a groupie and will follow them anywhere I can.
What about you? What is your strategy (if you have one) for sharing?
When you buy a new car or buy a new TV you go to a showroom who deals in the car or TV, either it’s an official retailer for the item or it has a reputation you trust. Well, we used to at any rate. It seems these days, and I’m equally guilty of this, we go online and find the cheapest version. There, that’ll do. Even if we use a ‘reputable’ website we may find ourselves buying the £5 USB cable made by a company we’ve never heard of instead of the £15 cable from one we have. “It’s OK, it’s from Amazon, it’ll be OK.” (Other online retailers exist, try them out too sometime!)
Is it the same with our learning? When choosing a college or university we look at a lot of things about it, not only the details of the course and individual topics within it but things like accommodation, proximity to the town or shops, on-campus events, clubs, sports facilities, reviews from previous students, etc. I don’t remember even thinking about who would teach me my degree, I looked into everything BUT the teaching staff. Is this wrong?
It seems different when looking at the different MOOCs on offer, I find myself looking at the course team as much as the course syllabus itself. A MOOC on Shakespeare? Why, yes please … but who wrote it and who’s delivering it? Ahh, a ‘renowned Shakespearean academic’ in Professor Bate and it’s been developed by the University of Warwick (ranked consistently in the UKs’ top 10 universities). That kind of makes up my mind .. even though the course page doesn’t say much about the course contents, other than the promo video.
I’ve worked on a number of MOOCs and online courses as well as blended and campus/classroom based courses. There are many differences in what I/we do depending on the audience and delivery method, but the courses that have an element of face-to-face contact doesn’t really need the teacher introduced as part of the designed materials. This is, or should be, done in person. Often the first lecture or contact point with the students will be an introduction made by the teacher on who they are, what their background is and why they are the one who should give the course. Often courses are taught by a team, sometimes led by the senior academic and supported by either junior academics or PhD students. Are they also included in the list of authors or facilitators? They have equal right to be there, especially if the learners have more contact with them (in person or online) than the ‘lead’. This is content given to the students and often not part of the slides they can download for each lecture. There may be some info on the VLE, but is it really enough to showcase the breadth of knowledge behind the course and it’s creation?
Authenticity and credibility in online learning
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For these courses with contact time it seems it doesn’t really matter that this stuff isn’t written in to the course itself. For online courses of any nature or audience it is imperative this information is front and centre. If you can highlight prior to the course (especially for MOOCs) the credibility of the authoring and teaching team it will enhance the authenticity of the course itself.
This is often overlooked in some online courses and is why I insist on having this information front and centre in the courses I work on. This gives the course and the whole course team the credibility to be the ones to deliver and facilitate the course, and it gives the content and materials the authenticity needed to demonstrate to the learners that this team has experience and background to be the best team to lead it.
There are so many options and ways to learn online, sometimes the number of courses on a similar subject exist. So, which one will you choose? The one that looks nice? The cheapest one, or the one that has been developed and delivered by the best team possible, therefore giving you the best possible learning experience?
Yeah, me too.
Irrespective of the assessment criteria or type of assessment used at the end of a course, we champion the achievement and base ‘learning’ on the final grade. For right or wrong, this is the state of schools, colleges, universities and MOOCs .. a pass grade equals success, not necessarily a quality learning experience.
When a course or programme goes through review, either for changes or it’s new, the conversation will always turn to the assessment. Is the assessment indicative of the course and the course aims? is the assessment type appropriate to the delivery method? Is it a straight forward 100% exam or mix of coursework and exam? If coursework is included in the final grade can the documentation be deliberately vague to allow flexibility in how and what the coursework is (project, group, video, report, tests, etc.)?
All well and good. Well, not really good but you know what I mean. But which is more important … the learning and knowledge acquisition or the assessment grade? Most of us would say the former, the learning and being able to retain an apply the knowledge. But education requires a certificate that shows more than just attendance. It requires to show the standard to which the holder has worked and can work. Without a score or grade (80% or 2:1) there is no meaning to the achievement for an employer to gauge the ability of the certificate holder.
Is there an answer? Could the achievement be recreated and reassessed to accommodate more meaningful information pertaining to the individual and how they ‘work’ and ‘learn’, and what kind of person they are? This is usually a reference on an application, but wouldn’t it be good if this had more emphasis on an application than a grade? Making something that can’t be gamed would be the hard part, anyone can find someone to write a glowing report and review, just like you can find online examples of buying the academic paper or script.
What comes first when planning your course? The learning, or the achievement?
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You could argue we’ve already got an achievement for learning that goes beyond the assessment with Open Badges. If so, why haven’t we seen them used more widely? What is holding us, or rather the employers, so tight to the grade result and not the achievement? A few years ago there was lots of talk about the scope and strength of Open Badges. Surely that hasn’t gone away. I hope it hasn’t gone away.