Laura asks in a comment on my last mobile post: “When do you think the tipping point to mobile will occur?” It’s something I’ve been trying to understand, and I think I’ve got a handle on it. My response was long enough that I thought I’d make it a post:
Right now the mLearning space feels like the gaming space did a couple of years ago. I’ve been on the stump for games for 6 years or so at least, and it always felt like they were just ready to break. However, there was a point where games suddenly became mainstream. For instance, a couple of years ago Captivate added the ability to make branching scenarios.
I’ve similarly been on the stump for mobile for 5 or so years, and it feels like the gaming space did a couple of years ago. There are mobile tools, and we’re seeing initial work, but now vendors at the expo were saying they had mobile prototypes underway for more mainstream tools. Probably next year we will have more generic tools, or rather mobile output from existing tools.
How that will play out is an interesting challenge. There isn’t an easy ‘works on all mobile devices’ solution. Phone browsers are pretty limited, but they do a fairly consistent java. Other platforms (Palm, iPhone) do better web, but more idiosyncratic java. FlashLite is coming, but is still on a limited set of phones. And so on. Getting a solution that works on a broad variety of devices, some reasonable percentage, even if it’s two separate forms of output, is probably not far away but still problematic.
I think that we will see sufficient (not great, just sufficient) convergence on a reasonable set of platforms that we can make progress in a year or so, and that will be the tipping point. In two years we’ll have some mainstream examples and typical organizations will be making some mobile moves. Fingers crossed!