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On the go with mobile

In this article, Dr Chie Adachi discusses any time, any where mobile learning.
woman ride a skateboard while looking at mobile phone
© Deakin University
With access to the internet, more people are learning on the go – in places and at times that suit them.
Think back to Susanna from South Africa who we met earlier in this course.
To advance her career as an entrepreneur, Susanna has been learning in her own time while busy building her business and looking after two young children.
She appreciates the ways in which digital learning provides her with the flexibility to learn at her own pace (often after her children have gone to bed), at any time, any where (such as on her commute to work), using her own mobile devices (in her case, a smart phone and tablet).
Let’s now consider the affordances of mobile learning.

Features of mobile learning

Mobile learning allows busy people like Susanna to learn:
  • on-demand at their own pace in their own time
  • from various and changing locations
  • with responsive, accessible and digitised content
  • on personal and portable devices, eg bring your own device (BYOD)
  • through connected social and collaborative learning platforms and networks.

Directions in mobile learning

While mobile learning or m-learning has been available for almost a decade, its adoption is set to increase even more.
For example, a 2018 report notes that mobile learning is no longer ‘a nice to have’ but rather a ‘must have’ for digital learning.
On the other hand, others have feared that bringing mobile devices into the classroom (BYOD) could be a distraction detrimental to learning in schools.

Case study: podcasts

The popularity of podcasts has increased exponentially over recent years.
On iTunes alone, there are more than 450,000 podcasts and 15 million episodes (and counting).
Podcasts offer people ready access to a variety of educational topics, varying in form and length. Like the videos in this FutureLearn course, they can be streamed or downloaded for learning on the go.

Your task

From your perspective as either a digital leaner and/or professional practitioner, reflect on your own experience with mobile learning.
Do you learn on the go? If so, what do you learn, when, why and how?
Alternatively, if you have a good example of mobile learning you’ve designed/seen and can share, post a link in the comments and explain what you like about it.
When you’re done, take a look at what others have posted and join the conversation to discuss the examples or ideas that most interest you.

Behind the scenes: Chie’s story

I’m a huge fan of podcasts. In fact, listening to podcasts (like those offered on SoundClouds, iTunes and TED) via my smart phone is my favourite thing to do while commuting (using public transport in Melbourne can take up a lot of time), which is why – when relevant – I’ve been including links to podcasts as additional (mobile) learning materials. Some other podcasts about digital learning that I listen to and you might also be interested in are HybridPod, Meet the education researcher and eLearning coach.
© Deakin University
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