What is Mobile Learning? What are its benefits in today's world?

Written by Shalini Saxena on 02 June 2021

In the past two decades, mobile phones have become an inseparable part of our daily lives. Mobiles are like a 24*7 buddy, which absolutely fulfill the ‘I’ll be there for you’ criteria. Yes! You rely on your smart gadgets for anything and everything. Whether it’s connecting with friends, sending work emails, finding routes or modes to commute, ordering food/grocery, banking, surfing, or even LEARNING new things – your phone does it all for you! Mobile Learning or mLearning is the term used to describe a subdomain of eLearning scenario in which content is delivered on handheld devices, such as smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, etc.

The Fine Line Between eLearning And mLearning (#Difference)

Though eLearning has been around for quite some time, the advent of mLearning can be marked around five years back. With phone screens getting larger, phablets becoming common, and preferred laptop sizes smaller - the difference between the two modes is blurring. Here’s a quick look at what still keeps them diverse:

  • One major difference between eLearning and mLearning is that the latter includes portable platforms, which can be used on the go or at places where access to regular computers is difficult.
  • In terms of structure, mLearning is much more flexible and informal compared to eLearning.
  • The educational content provided for mLearning is concise and broken into micro-lessons while that for eLearning is comprehensive with detailed topics/modules.
  • With so much digital content in our lives, our attention spans have reduced and mLearning needs to understand this. While the time duration for a typical eLearning module is 1 hour, the content is broken into smaller packets for mLearning.
  • mLearning offers a personalized learning experience at the expense of wireless internet connectivity.

Increased Digital Literacy (#Stats)

With the tech-savvy generation taking charge, personal pocket devices have been deeply ingrained in our routine practices. View it as the latest development in the eLearning industry or just another trending term - you can’t deny that mLearning has brought brilliant progress in eLearning. Constantly lowering the prices of portable devices has made it affordable for a larger chunk of the population. Thus there’s a sudden increase in the digitally literate audience making use of mLearning tools and apps.


Three Cheers To Anywhere, Anytime Learning (#TheGood)

The greatest advantage which mobile technology brings in is ubiquity – it gifts users the ability to virtually learn from anywhere at any given time. For instance, school kids can travel with their parents without compromising on their learning, and college students can earn a degree learning remotely. The student can be anyone from an 8-year old kid to a senior citizen and the course can be anything from a simple ‘Counting Exercise’ to a seasoned ‘Entrepreneurial Advice’. TMobilelearning apps are the future of education because they have touched all the spheres of knowledge, and the ‘'mobile-first strategy has become an implicit approach for many. 

Besides this, mLearning serves many other advantages on the platter. Here’s why mobile learning is important:

  1. Learn on the go - You can carry powerful learning tools in your hand wherever you go and learn whenever you want. Education is crossing all the physical and economical boundaries, reaching out to the less-privileged ones with massive open online courses (MOOCs).
  2. JIT (Just in Time) Learning - Students have access to information when they actually need it with the advantage of looking it up online. So the ones who really want to learn, won’t be deprived of the rightful knowledge.
  3. Absolute Control - Not all the students grasp at the same pace, with customized knowledge applications people of different age groups and backgrounds can discover their real potential.
  4. No Slacks - It goes much beyond digitizing the educational channel, mLearning literally brings knowledge to your pocket and all the answers are practically a click away. With portability and immediacy, students can resume a course from where they left.
  5. And all the good things - Flexibility, accessibility, and personalized learning experience have added a feather on the cap. Notifications act like a gentle reminder about the availability of a new course, quiz, or result which keeps the user aware and updated. Attributing to its quick approach with concise content, mLearning has registered better completion rates and higher retention.

With high creativity quotient and excellent instructional design, mLearning has fixed its seat in the eLearning market and there is no doubt that it is here to stay. Despite uncountable advantages, some limitations like screen size, limited functionalities, and distractions linked with phones continue to hinder the growth and absolute accomplishments of mLearning goals.

Challenges Of mLearning (#TheTechnical)

Now that you know what a mobile learning application is and what its benefits are, you also need to be aware of a few of its challenges. While mLearning is constantly evolving and the mLearning market on a global scale is expected to reach $53 billion by the year 2018 (Source: Ambient Insight), it has some limitations too:

  • Meeting the required bandwidth for non-stop or fast streaming is difficult
  • Catering to multiple standards, different screen sizes, and various operating systems hinder development
  • Content security or copyright issues from the authoring group are a primary concern.
  • Smaller screen size, need for constant connectivity and reduced battery life are the issues that overshadow the benefits
  • The number of file/asset formats supported by specific devices varies, which is a huge obstruction
  • The user interface design has always been important, but with mobile as the delivery platform, the bar is set much higher

Offline mLearning (#Specifics)

Offline learning refers to having access to content without internet connectivity:

  • Offline Content - Content can be downloaded or synced with the device when the learners have connectivity. And from the next time, learners can access the content without connectivity. That’s the icing on the cake!
  • Uninterrupted Learning - The offline feature makes the process truly ‘uninterrupted’ in every sense, by overcoming the biggest drawback of a network interruption.
  • Good For Assessment - Offline mode of mLearning is the best fit for pre or post-training assessment, most vital to course completion.
  • Additional Value - With no dependence on a data connection, it practically cuts down all the cords attached. Buffering or waiting for the page to load results in the user losing interest, which can be prevented by taking content offline.

But offline access has few constraints too:

  • Content Update - Once disconnected the content updates won’t be synchronized, thus update continues to be a major challenge faced.
  • Security - As the data is downloaded or cached for later use on portable devices, there’s a risk of content theft.

SeekLMS’s e-learning platform is responsive and optimized to work on mobile devices. The SeekLMS mobile app can cache course content and assessments for offline reading. Once the app reconnects to the network it syncs the data, allowing learners to finish the assessment process at their convenience and get the scores when it connects again.

Here are a few reasons why the SeekLMS’ mobile learning platform is a preferred choice for numerous corporations and educational institutes. 

  1. Intuitive user interface: No one wants to take a training program to learn how to use the LMS mobile app. So, whether your learners use the mobile app or not depends on how intuitive the platform is. SeekLMS mobile learning platform provides trainees simple visuals, for a clutter-free display that will not distract learners. 
  2. Gamified system: Learning and gamification are closely associated. So, a mobile learning management system that does not offer gamification features is really not future-proof. Gamified reward elements add a sense of fun and motivation to the learning experience and help keep learners engaged.
  3. Multimedia content support: If you stick to only offering training modules via one type of media, learners will likely get tired of it soon. That’s why SeekLMS lets you upload content in the form of presentations, videos, audio clips, and more. Further, SeekLMS also supports blended learning, which means your learners’ performance on any on-the-job training you implement will also be recorded. 
  4. Assessment creation and sharing: Now that you know what is mobile learning, you likely also know how important it is to test how much of the learning material your learners have retained. Fortunately, with SeekLMS, you can directly create assessments and share them with learners through the mobile learning platform. You can also certify them through the platform. 

With SeekLMS, mobile 'uninterrupted learning' is ensured. 


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