Once the time has come for an idea, no army or any power on heaven and earth can stop it. The time for m-Learning has finally arrived after years of hype, and it is making waves as it spreads the light of knowledge into dark pockets of ignorance and poverty.
Most of us don’t really think about it all that much, but Fabio Sergio of Co.DESIGN has done some serious research and written a fascinating post that lists ten different ways that mobile learning is changing the face of education as we know it. You should read Fabio’s musings in full, but here’s the gist of it.
1. Ongoing Education – There’s really no way to stop learning when you’re connected and plugged in through phones, tablets and computers. If you have the curiosity to find out how something works, then you don’t have to go sit in a classroom for months or years, paying fees for learning stuff which you will never need. All the knowledge you need is just one click away on a smart phone or cheap tablet.
2. Leapfrogging the System – In fact, many people are cutting through the clutter of traditional educational formats to take up specific useful courses online. Anyone anywhere, with no background or prior qualifications, can sign up worth prestigious institutions like Stanford or MIT and take courses like artificial intelligence or computer science online. It’s just a question of needing it or wanting it, and the education will instantly be available with no entry barriers. Needless to say, studying at Stanford will be a pipedream for a poor worker or child in a third-world country – unless you bring together a mobile solution and the ability to download and digest lessons as and when possible throughout the day and night.
3. Lifelong Learning – Easy to use mobile and tablet devices have removed the perceived fear of using a computer among the older generation. They have the time and the motivation to learn and teach. The rise of an army of well educated retirees and seniors willing to contribute to m-Learning is fueling the revolution.
4. Gender Bender – In many parts of the world, young girls and women are denied educational opportunities and not allowed to go to school. m-Learning is the perfect solution that has gate crashed through these barriers and is educating half the population in places where no other access to education is possible.
5. Software Literacy – The availability and spread of computers and their applications in various industries is held back because of the lack of developers who can provide these solutions. Most third-world nations and their corporate worlds don’t really consider it a priority to fly in programmers fromIndiaor outsource such work. If local programmers were available, it would be a whole new story. This is where m-Learning is making one of its biggest contributions.Kenyais a shining example, where mHealth solutions are making a real impact.
6. Use Existing Educational Material – The internet is a vast sea of information, where the only problem is finding exactly what you need and nothing else. It can be a full semester’s collection of educational videos and study material, or something as simple as text messages to help people improve their lives and take preventive health care on their own.
7. Who’s the Student – Today’s plugged in children can easily be educators themselves, spending some time teaching their own parents and others in the community how to use smart phones, tablets and computers for m-Learning.
8. Synergy – You cannot use one mobile solution without it affecting your status in some other area of life. For instance, those without access to the banking system became empowered when they got hold of m-Finance where they could send and receive money through mobile phones. That in turn has allowed them to spend resources on other mobile solutions and get hold of m-Learning, m-Health and a host of other solutions that have improved their lives.
9. Impact on Traditional Learning – The disruptive force of e-Learning and m-Learning has hit the old universities hard and they now have no choice but to get on-board or be left out. Major universities are now offering their full-time courses completely online, with the exact same curriculum, teachers and certification. Students can complete and submit assignments online through LMS systems, and virtual campuses provide the opportunity for group study and classroom style online teaching.
10. Customized Education – While m-Learning is forcing education providers to make changes, it’s still a work in progress. But students don’t need to wait for progress and can pick and choose what they want to study online. Every student can stick to preferred subjects or courses and get certified for just that. It cuts out the boredom and time wasted on studying irrelevant courses just to get a degree.