Any sort of learning that happens when the learner is not at a fixed, predetermined location, or learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies creates the scenario of M-Learning.
Learning with portable technologies including handheld computers, MP3 players, notebooks, mobile phones and tablets etc constitutes M-Learning. M-learning focuses on the mobility of the learner, interacting with portable technologies, and learning that reflects a focus on how society and its institutions can accommodate and support an increasingly mobile population.
There is also a new direction in M-Learning that adds mobility of the instructor and includes creation of learning materials “on-the-spot, “in the field” using predominantly smartphone with special software such as AHG Cloud Note. Using mobile tools for creating learning aides and materials becomes an important part of informal learning. M-learning is convenient as it is accessible from virtually anywhere.
M-Learning, like other forms of E-learning, is also collaborative, sharing is almost instantaneous among everyone using the same content, which leads to the reception of instant feedback and tips. This highly active process has proven to increase exam scores from the fiftieth to the seventieth percentile, and cut the dropout rate in technical fields by 22 percent. M-Learning also brings strong portability by replacing books and notes with small RAMs, filled with tailored learning contents.
In addition, it is simple to utilize mobile learning for a more effective and entertaining experience:
• It is important to bring new technology into the classroom
• These would be light weight devices compare to books, PCs, etc
• Mobile learning could be utilized as part of a learning approach which uses different types of activities (or a blended learning approach)
• Mobile learning supports the learning process rather than being integral to it
• Mobile learning needs to be used appropriately, according to the groups of student involved
• Mobile learning can be a useful add-on tool for students with special needs. However, for SMS and MMS this might be dependent on the students’ specific disabilities or difficulties involved
• Good IT support is needed
• Mobile learning can be used as a ‘hook’ to re-engage disaffected youth
• It is necessary to have enough devices for classroom use
The evolution in education and training at a distance can be characterized as a move from d-learning to e-learning to m-learning. Mobile learning seeks to put in place a new virtual learning environment for the future which might be represented thus. Smartphones and tablet computers are radically transforming how we access our shared knowledge sources by keeping us constantly connected to near-infinite volumes of raw data and information. Every day people around the globe are absorbed in exciting new forms of learning, and yet traditional schools and university systems are still struggling to leverage the opportunities for innovation in this area.
Learning models are evolving—and can be improved–via the influence of mobile technologies. The education industry needs new models and fresh frameworks to avoid losing touch with the radically evolving needs of its many current and potential new constituencies. These range from a generation of toddlers just as comfortable with touch screens as they are with books, to college-aged men and women questioning the value of physical campuses, to middle-aged and elderly professionals hoping to learn new skills in their spare time to secure a new job in turbulent economic times. The near-ubiquity of handheld devices and their constantly lowering costs will enable the idea of “education that you can hold in your hand”, so it becomes a widespread reality in so-called developed markets and resource-challenged parts of the globe alike.
New mobile technologies such as augmented reality, Google Goggles and real-time language translation applications are helping smartphones become key tools in the real-time learning toolkit. The consumption of technology by the present generation is much ahead from that of their predecessors. Students coming of age during the Internet revolution seemed to be much more engaged in the making of technology — building the foundation of bits and bytes — while students today are much more inclined to use the technology for other pursuits, including education.
Using mobile technology to learn is as natural a move and non-disruptive for this generation as it was for their parents to bring encyclopedias out of the library and into the home. The most powerful pull of mobile is the seamless connectivity it enables. There has never been a time in history where the earth has been flatter, where it was easier to have a social network that extended beyond a city or country or hemisphere, or that different cultures were as exposed in real time – and it’s all because of the smartphone. This power is global and comes to life through the 250 million mobile Facebook users, photo applications like Instagram and mobile video sharing services like Qik.
MLearning solutions are poised to tap into the vast amount of existing educational materials that could be made accessible via mobile channels. This is especially true with YouTube, Vimeo, and other video-sharing services already providing a critical mass of tips, tutorials, and full-fledged lessons that can be re-aggregated by theme and packaged as educational material. The range of M-Learning materials does not need to be limited to higher education but can easily encompass valuable, practical know-how, from grandmothers showing how to prepare traditional recipes to companies demonstrating how to install solar panels on mud huts. The nature and complexity of educational materials can also vary greatly and necessarily require a video-capable smartphone.
The same handheld-connected tools that enable children and adults to access existing educational solutions also provide the opportunity for them to capture and share knowledge in return.
The applications and products being developed at Ranosys Technologies are aimed at providing well suited and tailored tools for education through mobile devices. The idea at Ranosys Technologies is to successfully channel the M-Learning revolution not simply by digitizing current educational systems but by allowing people to choose their own paths, leverage their talents, and follow their passions and callings. Ranosys Technologies believes that M-Learning has much business potential, but the most exciting and rewarding aspect of these educational it solutions is that students of any age or background might have the chance to pursue knowledge that is meaningful, relevant, and realistic to achieve.