The good news is, it’s all change: mobile learning is evolving, through both technology and mindset. It’s significant in itself that mLearnCon is co-located with the Performance Support Symposium, because ‘learning‘ is simply the facilitator of performance. Most encouragingly, whilst the technology is still a focus, there’s been more experimentation and evolution in thinking: more diversity and rehearsal. So this map captures some of the themes that have leapt out at me:
The key themes? A wider range of creativity, many smaller and lightweight solutions, an interest in geolocation, and multi modal, using different styles of interaction and different media. So nothing new, but the innovation over the last year has been primarily in methods of application and a willingness to try.
When i wrote ‘Mindset for Mobile Learning‘, three years ago now, i was primarily interested in how to move the conversation away from just chipsets and form factor, through to design methodology and learning. Today, the mindset piece is forefront.
There are some lovely innovations and solutions. Engaging, great UX, design led. This is important: in our social lives, we are used to the choreography and quality of entertainment and social. We need to match that in learning.
There’s a great interest in localisation: it’s key to provide knowledge that is both timely and relevant. If something is relevant, but not timely, it’s less useful. But localised and contextualised learning has to be rapid, very timely, very immediate. And that’s both a design and technical challenge. The best mobile solutions are lightweight, not trying to solve all my problems in one hit, but solving one immediate problem well, just like Shazam does.
There’s another benefit of small and lightweight solutions: they can be emergent, easily adapted and easily disposed of. They are, by nature, agile.
Of course, it’s not all good: there are still a large number of technologies on show and a great range of learning solutions that are just page turners. Just books on a very small screen. But less than there used to be. The linear nature of learning is still persistent, which is at odds with a truly co-created and social approach.
The most exciting innovations on show are around indexed videos, lightweight and easy to search, tied into ‘experts’, facilitating them to share their story. For me, it’s all about storytelling.
For me, learning is holistic: it’s not just about one channel, it’s about the overall story. It’s about how technology facilitates our communities to be ‘sense making’, to be more effective.
I’m encouraged by the diversity of solutions on show, although wary of how some old mindsets of length, interactions style and linearity are persistent.