When it comes to mobile learning, one of the biggest mistakes human resources professionals can make is to build their strategy repositioning educational materials, originally developed for learning, on a computer.
In the beginning, modifying learning materials seemed like a cost-efficient approach, but ultimately, it ended up being a false economy.
That is because what is effective as a learning program in one instance is not effective for the other. In fact, all the two processes of e-learning (on computers) and m-learning (on cell phones and personal digital assistants) have in common is that both allow employees to take charge of what they will learn and where.
In a research project entitled E-learning and M-learning: A Comparative Study published in the International Journal on New Trends in Education and Their Implications, Dr.Santosh Kumar Behera noted that the tools used to learn have significant differences.
For example, e-learning is focused on websites and CD-ROMS and web-based courses, discussion boards, email and even simulations and games. For e-learning, the employee generally sees acquiring knowledge as something different from his/her regular work. He/She removes themselves from their factory or business at hand, sits at a desk, designates a period of time when he/she will not be interrupted, and begins to study.
M-Learning, on the other hand, is by its nature geared to the learner on the move. Accessing material from the employee’s smart phone, for example, the m-learning material must be highly flexible, include videos and quick answers to specific questions, and must be available 24/7.
The employee using m-learning does not view acquiring new knowledge as a process that requires leaving his workplace. Rather, it is part of the web of their day, and they weave in and out of it when they want to know something. They use m-learning simultaneously with work, not separate from it.
Because of these significant differences, you as a human resources professional devising a mobile learning strategy based on modifying e-learning materials, will simply not deliver the results that you need.
Successful m-learning strategies require getting our heads around an entirely different philosophy about learning. Learning is not something that an employee does separately from work when it is mobile. It is a blend of learning and doing, seamlessly delivered to a hand-held device on demand.
A second aspect of m-learning is that it is a highly social experience, allowing the employee to quickly share what he has learned with others, and to implement the knowledge gained instantly.
M-Learning, unlike e-learning, needs to be short, direct, and very social.
So if your m-learning strategy started off with a simple adaptation of existing material, it may be time to examine the foundation of your program and see if it could be more effective if you rebuilt it with a different philosophy.
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