MLearning

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Description

mLearning, short for mobile learning, represents the intersection of elearning and hand-held devices with web access. Devices like smartphones, personal digital assistants, tablets, and netbooks all allow users to access web resources when on the move. Additionally, hand-held devices are tools by which to create online content.

These devices access the web through two primary networking technologies: wifi access via a wireless router, or broadband access via a cellular ("mobile) phone network. Many hand-helds integrate both technologies.

Note: this page's activities require access to a hand-held device, including (potentially) the installation of applications.

Design Questions/Issues

One of the tensions presented by the advent of these devices is providing rich online content while creating resources accessible (and functional) from handhelds. In the context of developing online course sites (via a learning management system), to what extent does a learning management system create content that is hand-held consumable? What sorts of web technologies aren't hand-held compatible? To what extent should mLearning be taken into account when creating an LMS course site?

Educause poses the following questions about mLearning:

  • What is the rationale for implementing mobile learning technologies?
  • How does ubiquitous access to a wireless network change the dynamics of learning both in and out of the classroom?
  • What are best practices for using mobile learning?
  • What end-user support is important for mobile learning? How can it best be provided?

Activity

In the context of ETEC 565, explore two different aspects of mLearning: the end user (student) experience and as a course designer.

End user experience

  • Try accessing both the ETEC 565 WebCT Vista course site and your own Moodle course site via a hand-held device via its browser
  • Try: accessing a learning module and replying to a discussion forum
  • Analyze performance, including load times, page rendering, tool access
  • Is there an app for it? Could you find any apps for either LMS? If so, did having an app affect the end user experience? How?
  • Reflect on your experience as an end user: to what extent are these sites accessible via your hand-held?

Course designer experience

  • Using your hand-held device, capture some photos, audio or video
  • Try adding some of this content to your Moodle site via the device
  • Analyze performance, including load times, page rendering, tool access
  • Is there an app for it? Could you find any apps for either LMS? If so, how easy was it to create/modify a course site (in this instance, Moodle)?
  • Reflect on your experience as a course designer: how successful were you in creating LMS content via your hand-held?

Reflection

Write an entry for your course weblog about mLearning as both an end user and course designer (on your "Home" page and posting a new entry). Feel free to use the questions from the activity as a starting point if you wish.

Resources