What is mobile learning?

In today's society we are all very aware that digital technology – in particular mobile phones – has become an integral part of our lives. It makes almost every aspect of our lives easier and more efficient; we 'scan as we shop' for groceries, we travel with e-tickets and we monitor our vitals and fitness; apps help us with communication, organisation, trade, travel, entertainment, lifestyle, creativity and much more.

It is therefore unsurprising that technology and mobile devices are being put to good use in education and training as well, making things more efficient for both trainers and learners.

Technology is used in the education and training sector in loads of different ways. One of these ways is mobile learning (also called m-learning), which involves using mobile devices (ie smartphones or tablets) to access offline learning material via apps – that is to say, all the information is available offline after the initial download.

Mobile learning can be used in a wide range of learning contexts – children learning to read, students studying at college, accountants getting new training qualifications or new staff being inducted into a large organisation.

The difference between m-learning and e-learning

Many people confuse mobile learning with e-learning (electronic learning), but there are crucial differences. E-learning is a common method of training but tethers users to their desks, as it requires access to the internet. M-learning on the other hand doesn't require internet access so can offer truly flexible learning.

The demand for mobility has led some e-learning providers to offer training on tablets and smartphones using responsive websites. However, responsive websites simply display the original e-learning training on smaller screens. Unlike true mobile learning, the content, structure and design has not been made specifically for smaller devices, and access to the internet is still required.

True mobile learning is not a portal to the internet or a way of viewing pdfs on a mobile phone – it makes the most of the smart device and native code to present content in a way that is optimised for smartphone and tablet users.

Benefits of mobile learning

Mobile learning provides educators and learners with a more flexible, scalable, quantifiable and effective approach to training. Below are some of the reasons people are choosing this approach.

Online and offline

Mobile devices are constantly within reach, and offline capability means learners can access the resources at a time and in a place that is convenient to them. This enables independent, self-directed learning, and is also hugely beneficial for people accessing training with low internet connectivity or requiring on-the-job training.

Popular technology

78% of adults in the UK have a smartphone, and mobiles are quickly becoming the device of choice. We use mobiles to make almost every aspect of our lives easier and more efficient - why not training and education as well?

Microlearning

Mobile learning resources typically use microlearning - they break down material into small, digestible chunks. This makes it easier for users to engage with the content as they can gain a sense of achievement from short learning periods.

Engaging media

The interactivity and multimedia available within a mobile learning app can greatly increase learner focus and engagement. For example, users can view videos, graphs and diagrams, listen to audio recordings, and complete quizzes and self-assessments.

Cost-effective and efficient

The inclusive and intuitive nature of smart devices ensures the training platform is easy to understand and allows training providers to save money on hardware. Mobile learning allows vast groups of people to easily and instantly access training with minimal disruption - unlike costly training workshops.

Easy to monitor

Mobile learning apps can quickly and easily measure things like progress, performance and self-evaluation across individuals and groups. This can provide valuable feedback to educational and training providers on the impact of their provision.

Scalable

Deploying courses involves a click of a button and uses very little resources when compared to printing textbooks or organising training workshops. Combined with the ability to learn in areas with low internet connectivity, the potential to reach more learners is huge.

Blended learning

Blended learning involves using mobile learning alongside traditional training methods, allowing technology to complement classroom teaching or face-to-face courses. This allows individuals to learn independently at their own pace but still have the support of a teacher.

Shared learning

​Mobile learning can be collaborative, as users make use of the shared opportunity. Within a group of learners, all users can carry the resources with them at all times, thus enabling easy access during discussions about the learning material.

We create high-quality mobile learning courses so that users can make the best use of this opportunity. Our poweful mobile platform and Learning Management System (LMS) allows us to provide organisations with bespoke training apps for their customers and staff.

Check out our free web course, What is Mobile Learning, for more on how and why organisations use mobile learning:

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