Mobile penetration is quite heavy, given the show of hands of the group here. 26.5% people engaged in mLearning, 40% exploring. 51% report a positive ROI! Ambient Insight reports that mobile learning is here and is a ripe technology (across seven categories of learning). eLearning is actually coming down a fair bit. Venture capitalists are investing heavily in this market as well, because mobile technologies have really unlimited reach while desktop technologies have lmited reach. We're moving to the second generation of mobile learning with cloud based, 4G connectivity. Eric Schmidt describes the mobile ecosystem as a confluence of computing power, connectivity and cloud computing and proclaims a new focus for the industry - putting mobile first. EBay and Southwest have gone ahead and changed direction significantly given their mobile strategy. We only use 23% of what's on a web page - the rest is noise. Mobile cuts that flab out in a big way. We're creating heaps of information today - is our curriculum adding to the information flab? Judy's now going through several slides very quickly.
The key is that social, local and mobile are all converging. HTML5 is a key innovation at this time that can potentially help portability of interactive apps across platforms. We have interesting stats in place about mobile penetration (source Tomi Ahonen):
- 5.2 billion subscribers
- >625m access internet only through mobile
- 4.2 billion people use text messaging
- People look at their devices every 6.5 minutes on an average
- There are more people with mobile phones than with toothbrushes
Tips to get started
- Begin with the user: What are they already doing with mobile? Several students own cell phones. Smartphones have grewat penetration. People are using these for media creation - video and stills.
- Start with the end in mind: What do you want to accomplish? Are you trying to help increase sales? Will this be performance support? Will this connect communities? Will this help with reference materials? If you're doing something just for fun, it's not meaningful. The 5 moments of learning needs are when people want to learn for the first time, when wanting to learn more, when trying to remember, when things change, when something goes wrong. Which moment are you catering to? What nuggets will people take away from other learning experiences that people need immediate access to? This could be the driver for mobile. This is not just elearning on the mobile. Judy recommends mobile for stolen moments of productivity. The US Army believes that perishable knowledge should not be taught in the schoolhouse, but instead be made accessible. Judy also recommends that we think outside the course.
- Plan for Success: What will success look like for you? Many companies can't share what they're doing, but Judy has a great case study from Merrill Lynch's mobile program - GoLearn. They've discovered that going mobile makes things 45% faster. 100% of their audience want more of this kind of stuff and 99% of the audience believe that the format supports learning in a big way. The problem was that they didn't plan for this success and were not able to deal with the deluge of demand that followed.
- Remember Capabilities: What is not available to people on the desktop or laptop? It's important to design for the form factor and capabilties of the new devices than just porting an old way of designing to the mobile platform. GPS, multi-touch, voice, cameras, video recording - these are all new capabilties and they need to feed into the design decisions. Think about content creation, basic communications, training delivery, social networking, on-demand information access.
- Think Differently: Judy showed us a commercial course on language. The cool aspect of this course is a nifty little twitter button which the user can press and that brings up a twitter stream that shows the word or phrase you're learning about in the context of people's live tweets! What a cool way of understanding how to construct sentences in a new language? A tweet that Judy is showing us tells a story of how easy it is to deploy to mobile app stores (3 days on Android, 5 days on apple's app store) as against 112 days to go to print! Judy is also showing the app for the Obama campaign that we also participated in. How awesome! There's a hair dressing curriculum on mobile - I personally find that interesting; do I want someone to read a course on mobile and then cut my hair?
- Think small: Bitesized, nuggets, micro-learning, small screens. Remember mLearning is about different platforms!
- Consider spacing effect: It's now affordable. We know that repetition is key to retention. We know that learning that happens over a period of time is naturally aligned to the way we pick up our skills. She is showing how based upon a woman's delivery date, she can send text messages to number and get information over time that makes sense at the time that expecting mothers need this. Information in context, trumps instruction out of context. In Neil Lasher's case it can just be a simple phone call. Will Thalheimer has heaps of research in support of the spacing effect.
- Consider tools: What do you need? An app? Or are you going to deploy just for the browser? Or are you going to invest in cross platform development? There are products that act more like platform connecting to your LMS and act as players for your mobile device. This is an example of develop once, deploy many times. There's a nice mlearning guide at ADL that should work across all devices - this is an example of making a mobile website that just works across several devices. ePub is a great format to publish to mobile devices. Judy is showing a crisis response related project that she built in 3 hours, that works across several devices.
- Test, test, test: Judy puts a lot of stress on testing, though with the caveat that emulators are the same thing as actual devices.
- Plan for distribution and ongoing support: Make it known, market it, make it visible. Does your IT helpdesk know how to support this?
- Looking ahead: Judy recommends that we look ahead at emerging technologies like augmented reality, QR codes, augmented reality and interactive story telling (ARIS). And contrary to popular belief this may not be a huge cost to create.
- Don't try to boil the ocean: Judy also says that we shouldn't bite off more than we can chew. We need to start with doable projects. I would add that we need to start small, think big, release quickly and iterate!
Judy recommends that we think of the following seriously:
- IT partnership
- Union and time issues
- Bandwidth costs
- Industry changes
- User expectations
- mLearncon - coming up in June this year