What Is Mobile Learning?
Mobile learning or m-learning is a learning methodology that uses mobile devices to facilitate interactions, training and qualifications of different types.
Translated as mobile learning, the term mobile learning refers both to training carried out entirely through smartphones and tablets, as well as those that use these devices as a complement to specific activities.
In other words, when using an application to learn languages, consume a video lesson via cell phone or even deliver an activity via a virtual learning environment (VLE) of an educational institution , you are using m-learning.
When Did Mobile Learning Come About?
Mobile learning emerged in the context of the expansion of Distance Education mediated by Mobile and Wireless Information and Communication Technologies (TIMS), around the 2000s.
At the time, the development of solutions capable of supporting browsers and other internet resources on mobile devices already signaled the potential of these devices to improve teaching.
Palmtops, laptops and wireless internet options such as wireless have made possible the concept of learning from anywhere, anytime , using just a small handheld device.
Although it only came to fruition in the early 21st century, this idea is much older.
In the 1970s, computer expert Alan Kay had described a device that would serve as a portable book to facilitate children’s learning.
Named Dynabook , the project did not materialize at the time, however, it served to disseminate the premise of learning with greater convenience and agility, which could be conducted during moments of waiting, optimizing time .
The Mobile Learning Trend In Education
According to the text “M-learning or Learning with Mobility:
“Mobility Learning or m-learning refers to teaching and learning processes that occur, necessarily, supported by the use of TIMS, involving the mobility of human actors who may be physically/geographically distant from other actors and also from formal physical spaces. of education , such as classrooms, training/training/qualification rooms or workplace.”
The hectic routine that has become common nowadays, together with the need for constant learning so that professionals and companies remain competitive, has given rise to the demand for mobility in teaching processes.
Simultaneously – and not by chance – there was growth in the production and sales of smart cell phones, called smartphones, enriched with increasingly efficient tools for use in education.
Therefore, if the objective is to democratize access to education , it makes more sense to invest in trainings optimized for smartphones than to prioritize computers.
How Does The Mobile Learning Methodology Work?
Mobile learning can be adapted to a range of contexts, employing technological tools to connect teachers and instructors and/or reinforce the teaching-learning dynamics.
Generally, this methodology works from an interaction point, which can be both online and offline, although most of them need internet to, for example, download an app that will enable remote access .
One of the biggest advantages of offline version resources is that they do not consume user data, nor do they require fast connections (broadband) to be viewed with quality.
Once installed, they enable anytime, anywhere learning , even if there is no mobile data or other connection available.
Whichever m-learning tool is used, it is usually quite simple and customizable, in order to simplify the learning routine.
Check out some of the most popular resources in this field below.
Gamification corresponds to the use of common game elements in non -game situations , including education.
It does not mean, then, that games will be created for mobile learning – although it can be done – but that one or more components of them will be used to make learning more pleasurable , playful and fun.
Taking advantage of the fact that most smartphone users are in the habit of playing games, items such as narrative, great challenges to close a chapter (boss) and scores are used to facilitate the acquisition of useful skills.
Maps can also be used for the student to follow his performance and know where he is in the training, which allows him to optimize his routine to complete one or more stages within certain deadlines.
Instead of following the standards of face-to-face lectures, video classes are usually adapted to the mobile context , that is, they are more dynamic, simple and address one subject at a time.
Therefore, it is common for the content of a traditional class to be broken down into a series of video classes, given in short periods so that the student can follow them without having to take breaks.
After all, it’s complicated to keep your attention on a screen video for a long time, especially on a cell phone, where notifications from several other installed programs arrive.
The video classes can also have time stamps so that the student can plan the best moment when they can be watched, and suggest complements with other materials, whether produced by the educational institution or by third parties.
From the simplest e-books to the ones full of multimedia resources , digital books are cheap and interesting options, mainly to introduce or gather the basic concepts on a certain subject.
They also serve to expand the content explored during classes, with complementary readings that add the advantage of automatic search within the book, markings and sharing with a few clicks.
Images, links, videos, audios, infographics and other interactive mechanisms make reading more attractive and dynamic, helping to build and solidify knowledge .
Sometimes, e-books also have readers or audiobook versions, facilitating the consumption of their content during other daily activities, such as physical exercises or organizing the house.
Apps are perhaps the most representative mobile learning tools, as they are designed for use on mobile devices .
Designed for smaller screens and phased tracking, many apps support students to broaden their horizons in a simple and playful way, encompassing gamification features.
A well-known example is the language teaching application Duolingo, formatted as a game in which the student receives points for each completed step.
But there are countless other apps dedicated to the learning process in a number of areas of knowledge, including mobile versions for systems created for educational institutions (AVA and other LMS – Learning Management System).
The platforms are commonly accessed via a smartphone browser, using a login and password.
One of its advantages is that, unlike apps, the system does not require downloads or updates, functioning as a SaaS (software as a service) suitable for access via cell phones and tablets.
Therefore, its pages are responsive , that is, they automatically adapt to different screen sizes, and the contents are lightweight to facilitate opening on mobile.
Buttons and dialog boxes appear highlighted and large, in order to allow unhindered touch-mode clicks.
What Is The Relationship Between Mobile Learning And Distance Learning (EaD)?
Mobile learning is often seen as a type of Distance Learning, and this makes sense, as these methods often go hand in hand.
This is the case of the development of apps to provide training in the distance education modality, which allows studies to be carried out without the need for a computer.
Both approaches also lend themselves to questioning the traditional teaching-learning model , characterized by lectures and little student participation.
However, m-learning comprises a wider field than Distance Education, and vice versa.
EaD does not necessarily use mobile learning tools, and may be restricted to access via a personal computer or from a single terminal equipped with course documents.
The same reasoning applies to mobile learning, which goes beyond distance learning when it is used in the classroom , for example, to make face-to-face meetings more dynamic through competition.
What Is The Difference Between M-Learning And E-Learning?
In the topics above, we mentioned that m-learning emerged in the context of e-learning – hence the strong connection between these two concepts.
But they are different, especially because e-learning corresponds to structured teaching , that is, formal, based on lesson plans, sequences and well-defined limits.
Therefore, it mainly describes the courses and training developed and offered by educational institutions, with tutors, teachers and other qualified professionals to guide the student’s journey and apply periodic assessments.
Mobile learning can develop in similar environments, however, it does not require a formal structure to exist.
This means that m-learning can be completely voluntary, self- taught , without the student resorting to a specialist or institutionalized process.
He himself can access a platform or application, understand its proposal, study on the most convenient days and times and self-assess, even though there is no tool of his own to do so.
Let’s say that the student’s purpose is to improve their knowledge of team management .
He can choose an e-book, handout, video series, games or other mobile learning format, study the techniques, put them into practice in his own work environment and analyze which of them were successful.
You can also ask for feedback from the team you are managing or your superiors to discover points of improvement and improvement.
What Are The Benefits Of Mobile Learning Methodology?
Follow, below, the 5 main benefits of investing in m-learning.
1-Ease Of Access
These days, it’s rare to be without a cell phone for a few hours.
The small device concentrates options to inform ourselves, communicate with the world and request a series of products and services .
Therefore, having mobile learning formats greatly facilitates access to these contents, providing convenience to the entire process and stimulating the construction of knowledge with agility.
2-Stimulates Student Engagement
The current culture of immediacy and the stimuli we receive at all times have left us accelerated, making it difficult to concentrate on any type of class or topic.
As interesting as the subject may be, it needs to gain the attention of increasingly dispersed individuals in order to be assimilated, which calls for greater student participation .
Used to interacting on different mobile platforms, they are compelled to engage (or engage) through m-learning.
3-Diversification Of Learning
Another relevant advantage is that mobile learning makes it possible to integrate with other systems installed on the cell phone, such as the video platforms Youtube and Spotify, or social networks .
In this way, they end up including diversified content, both in terms of format as well as language and authorship, which enriches the learning process.
They can also include tools such as games, quizzes, virtual and augmented reality , with gains in immersion and concentration on the part of students.
4-Improvement In Teaching Efficiency
Once they are attentive and participative during the teaching trajectory, students learn more , which makes the process effective.
However, m-learning has the power to go further and enhance investments and results, providing rich experiences with the use of fewer resources.
Users can also assimilate content spending less money and time, organizing their routine to make the most of classes and activities.
5-It Favors Continuous Learning
One of the best career and life advice is: never stop learning .
Hence the success of methodologies that provide continuous learning, contributing to the training and recycling of high-performance professionals, who maintain employability , even in times of crisis.
Mobile learning only requires a smartphone , curiosity and willingness to continue acquiring knowledge, sometimes even for free.
Can Mobile Learning Also Be Used In Corporate Education?
The methodology succeeds in adding flexibility and convenience to training and other people development tactics .
Therefore, it is a good option to modernize corporate education , adopting an inclusive stance towards new technologies.
Instead of restricting the use of smartphones during the workday , companies can promote their employment for the professional and personal growth of employees.
Furthermore, m-learning facilitates the completion of long courses, which can be broken down into serialized content and followed for a few minutes a day, until they are finished.
The Importance Of Mobile Learning In The Digital Age
The digital age has led to the popularization of devices that have increased convenience in everyday life, especially smartphones.
Small, light and personalized, these devices are already part of the routine of most of the world’s population, transforming different habits and reaching education.
We know that knowledge comes from something we know, so we can build a bridge towards the unknown, until it also becomes known.
And modern cell phones are well-known equipment, which already eliminates barriers and favors adherence to courses , training, classes and other types of training.
Therefore, mobile devices – and mobile learning – can and should be seen as facilitators and allies in the democratization of access to education, as they gain space among people of all ages, nationalities, origins and cultures.