Organisations are under pressure to make their information available in mobile friendly formats. For educators and trainers this poses a particular problem. They must ask themselves how the learner would prefer learning resources to be made available.
Having instant access to rich resources independent of an Internet connection is becoming an expectation. For a learner, having a mobile friendly website may not be enough. I think we can blame Apps for this.
Native Apps sit on users’ devices and offer a range of functions and information regardless of an Internet connection. When ‘connected’ they update and add a further suite of connection-based tools and resources. They can be a reflection of a web-based LMS, but with a life of their own. For institutions with money or those who have tenured to a system such as Blackboard this has been a successful mobilization strategy.
There are, of course, other solutions that solve the learning offline need. For an organisation wishing to provide training to its staff there is the eBook: a rich media publication, which can be set out as a study guide. For training organisations eStudy Guides can be provided to learners through a LMS, and while they may provide much of the course content they may also need to direct learners to web-based elements (such as assessments) in order to complete the learning package.
eLearning Resources as downloadable media objects may not provide the seamless experience of an App but they have advantages. They are not expensive to produce, they can be sold online as stand-alone packages, they can be updated remotely and return basic analytics, and they provide a similar course structure to traditional web/print models, reducing barriers, real or imagined, which technology presents for some learners.
For an organisation wishing to provide a rich media, pedagogically sound experience for its learners or workers, but not wanting to commit to an expensive LMS that locks them into technology that may be dysfunctional in three years, eLearning Resources will allow development of course content and mobile pedagogies to continue.
Mobile learning has some fantastic tech solutions. The difficulty lies in keeping learning and learners’ needs in focus as mobilization strategies are rolled out. A seamless web-mobile solution looks great to educators, managers, and the shareholders, but will it improve the teaching and learning, and is it something that fits with your learners’ lifestyle?