Archives For mobile learning

devices_used by age group


If Millennials and Generation X can’t live without their phones then shouldn’t we be using this as one of the primary tools for learning. I have two Millennial sons and it only takes a few minutes to see how useful their mobile phones are. There are very few aspects of their lives where they don’t rely on their phones. My boys are athletes and log their riding, nutrition and mosts aspects of their training. They both use Google forms to input their riding logs and depending on who is driving back from a training session one of the boys is using their mobile phones to update their riding logs. They do realize that it is more efficient to use their laptops or even their tablets for touch typing but he advantage of using the phone is that you don’t have to wait and can get the log out of way immediately.

Immediacy plays a very important role in their lives so relying on their mobile device helps them to deal with most issues as they come up. The notion of waiting to get back to their laptops isn’t something they are willing to do so when they are considering recording or writing anything their first thought is to use the phone. If they don’t have a good app to help then they search one out.

Even though I fit into the Baby Boomer category my device preferences are more in line with Millennials and Generation X so I can appreciate Millennials and Generation X reliance on their devices. However, when I design learning environments I have to admit that I am assuming that my students will be using a laptop or tablet to access the digital aspects of the course.

But is this a safe assumption? The more time I spend with people who truly appreciate the power of mobile devices the more I realize just how much can be done with a tablet or even a mobile phone. I used to think that other than writing a novel you can do most forms of digital creation on your mobile device. However, when I see just how much my son types into his riding log I am starting to realize that a mobile phone can also be used as writing device.

This forces me to ask… Are we really being reasonable when we ban the use of mobile devices in our classrooms? The knee jerk reaction is to point to the fact that students will use the device to text each other and engage in all forms of communication. Once again if you watch a group of Millennials you will see that while they are constantly texting each other they are also finding youtube videos, images and even articles that will add to the conversation. In addition to texting each other, it is not uncommon for these collaborators to pass their phone onto their neighbours so that they can share in the information. They aren’t isolating themselves, they using their mobile devices to enhance their collaboration and their learning.

Isn’t this what we want 21st Century or Digital Learners to do… to use technology to enhance their learning. Let’s think long and hard the next time we are inclined to ask our students to turn off their devices. In doing so we may be asking them to turn off their learning.


Goodbye eLearning?

August 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

Elliot Masie the prolific author on learning and technology; the head of the MASIE Center, a Saratoga Springs, NY think tank focused on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce; and the leader of the Learning CONSORTIUM, a coalition of 230 global organizations cooperating on the evolution of learning strategies has noticed that:

two phrases that are decreasing in presence:

“Instructional Designer”

Masie is not surprised by the shift away from “e-Learning” to the all encompassing term “learning” or to greater level of specificity offered by terms like: Virtual Classrooms, Webinars, eBooks, MOOCs or Online Courses. Despite being credited with introducing the term “e-learning” in the mid 90’s Masie too has moved to using the term “learning” for all his programs.

Having spent the past 18 years working on the cutting edge of e-learning/online learning/web-based instruction or whatever we are calling it today I agree with Masie that the general term “learning” is much more appropriate. Most recently I have been adding the prefix “digitally enhanced” to the term “learning” differentiate it from its more traditional meaning. Perhaps this move back to the use of learning to refer to what we do all the time and everywhere is most appropriate considering that we have really only limited learning to the classroom for the past 100-150 years.

I am also glad to see that terms like e-learning are going out of vogue and am now waiting in anticipation for the term “mobile-learning” or “mlearning” to fade away as well. It is unfortunate that our society tends to limit or constrain so many things through naming conventions and/or definitions. Learning is the making of meaningful connections and it happens all the time and everywhere with or without technology.

Mobile Learning That Works Infographic 2013 Web

View a high resolution PDF file of the infographic…

Source: Interactive Services Global Learning Solutions

While I believe a good infographic will speak for itself and should NOT require an introduction or a contextual perspective I am including this caution: This infographic represents parents thoughts about mobile device use in K-12 and does not reflect actual use, research understanding or any other perspective.

mobile learning infographic

Source: Grumwald Associates

mobile learning visual

Source: WiredAcademic