Well, I found I posted a lot about games when writing for the eLearning Guild’s research report on Immersive Learning Simulations. Now my thoughts are turning to mlearning as we’re preparing that report for a subsequent 360 report.
It’s been fun, as I’ve had to expand my thinking on how to ‘think different‘ to accommodate mobile learning. And you really do need to think differently, as traditional instructional design won’t likely lead you to the opportunities. Yes, you might get job aids, and even distributed applications (capturing data from the field), but the whole ‘learning adjunct’ thing might well be skipped, for example.
That is, while you probably shouldn’t think of delivering a whole course on a mobile device (what I call eLearning Lite[tm]), you could and should think about how you can make a course more effective by augmenting it with mobile support. Using Allison Rossett‘s useful framework of planner and sidekick, two simple ideas are to wrap the learning experience with some awareness raising beforehand, and to provide job support during the learning experience. Of course, there’s learning follow-on (providing subsequent examples and practice over time), too.
Other ways to think differently include minimalism, “because I can versus because I’m here“, push versus pull, content versus connection, design ‘right’ versus design for reuse, and more. It’s been fun thinking through what are useful ways to break out of the traps our mental architecture provides. How do we break out of functional fixedness and set effects? We need representations, tools, and processes that keep us from prematurely converging.
mLearning has great potential: the devices are becoming ubiquitous, the tools are maturing, and the needs are increasing. The only limits, as my friend Carl used to say, are between our ears. So go forth and mobilize!