Mobile learning (also referred to as mlearning) is a relatively new “sub-niche” to elearning. While the definition can vary depending on who you speak to, in general it focuses on learning across various contexts and on mobile devices.
For the most part, mlearning tools involve handheld computers, MP3 players, notebooks, mobile phones, and tablets – the primary focus being on the mobility of the learner.
Essentially, because of mobile devices, learners can learn anywhere, anytime, about (almost) anything.
Popular and Growing
As mobile device use increases, so does the interest in mobile learning strategies and techniques. I find it quite fascinating that in 2012 (roughly two years after Apple introduced the iPad), one in five U.S. adults owned a tablet.
But adults aren’t the only ones jumping on board with mobile technology.
One study indicated that roughly 38% of all children under the age of eight have used a cell phone, or other mobile device to play games, use apps, watch videos, TV shows an movies. If nothing else, this demonstrates how mobile technology is going to be ingrained into the upcoming generation.
Accompanying the increase in mobile technology is the emergence of mobile apps. Many people think that these only involve games that will be a distraction, however this is not the case. In reality, more than 80% of the best-selling paid apps in the iTunes Store’s education category are targeted towards children.
Mobile device and app popularity is infiltrating the classroom. Schools often have their own set of mobile devices for students to use that supplement the workload. It isn’t uncommon to see assignments utilize a blended learning approach to drive home key points.
While it only seems natural to leverage mobile tools and apps, there are still challenges. For example, consider that many of these mobile learning applications lack some form of clear learning measurement standards (or goals). Without these in place, it is difficult to present objective ways to evaluate the educational value of these apps.
In the end, the growth of mobile learning exponential. Useful educational apps are emerging daily. If you’re interested in more research on educational apps, specifically how they can be used for children, visit www.emeeyou.com.