I asked the question “Will tablets change the way learners engage with coursework and make Learning Management Systems obsolete?” Academics on the semi-social media site ResearchGate thought tablets and mobilization would be a player but not a game changer. Learners, discussing the same question on facebook, thought differently. And I agree with the learners – not the academics.
Learners replied that being stuck in one place, connected to a desk or laptop, was now unacceptable. Learners said that they did not want bulky books and paper and did not want to be online constantly. Learners want mobile books and resources that will connect with ‘the system’ when required in order to keep them on track and in contact with their tutors and fellow learners.
Learners don’t want to learn online.
With tablet learning resources the learner has the coursework and connectivity they need built into the learning resource. The learner intuitively engages with rich interactive media and when needed by pedagogy, or desired by the learner, the resource supports connections to discussion forums, or web apps for social media or news. The resource can also report on the learner’s progress, deliver the next section of coursework, and conduct tests.
There is no online learning environment in this model. Learning happens where the learners are. Institutions need learner management systems to keep everything running smoothly, but the learning material and the instruction is centered around the downloadable resource. It is focussed on the learner and the coursework, not the institution and its baggage.