Mobile learning in action: Informal performance support

A small group of us were crammed onto a table in a subterranean London restaurant: conversation was varied but one thing was constant. We snapped away with our phones, emailed notes and articles to each other and supplemented our conversations with previously recorded memories held in our pockets. We supplemented our conversation through technology, even though the event was entirely informal.

We take for granted now the ease with which technology supports our performance: whilst sat there i was able to pull out photos from my Norwegian adventures in March, to email notes to people, to record a couple of actions for myself and to identify the music playing in the background.

As well as mailing or texting notes to each other as we spoke, we also reached outside of the group to share information with others, more distant, and also to make recommendations. The devices were passed around too, like holiday snaps.

Mobile technology is pervasive, integrated into our behaviours, our routines, our mindset. In ‘a mindset for mobile learning‘, i explore the idea that mobile learning is not really about the technology: it’s about how we behave, about how we think and the ways that this is changing over time. My restaurant conversation was not unusual: the behaviours, the ways in which we supplement and enhance our performance are common in my work and social encounters.

Indeed, what was unusual about this group was that we were meeting in person and not, as is more usual, interacting online. We are a social learning group who just happened to all be in London at the same time, we are not a physical group who occasionally meet online. The birthplace of these relationships is virtual and this is not uncommon these days.

Performance support is about having the right support to hand at the right time: as well as being diverse in nature, our enhanced conversations were rapid. I need to be able to find what i want immediately, in seconds, not go through corporate gateways and refined and reviewed pages of text. We have to keep this closely in mind when designing for mobile: it’s an immediate technology, little suited to reflection and a poor companion to delays.

Think about the many ways that you use mobile technology, about the ways you use it at home and for work and consider how that fits with how we design mobile learning solutions and performance support. Informally, we often focus on speed, efficiency and relevance to me. Formally we still tend to slip into behaviours learnt from e-learning: lengthy introductions and larger, coherent modules that may miss the native behaviours of the digital denizen.

We can learn from what we do: it’s better to fit our solutions into the behaviours that are exhibited already than to try and modify those behaviours to fit our design.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in 'Just in time' learning, Community, Community of Practice, Connections, Conversation, Effectiveness, Global, Informal Spaces, iPad, iPhone, Learning, Mobile Learning, Performance, Social Learning and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Mobile learning in action: Informal performance support

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