eLearning is following closely the expansion of the wireless and mobile networks. What does it mean for the future of the industry? How should wireless technologies change to support this way of learning? The phenomenal growth of eLearning continues, but mainly its development affects wired infrastructures. It is believed that the emerging wireless and mobile networks, the rapid increase in the penetration of smartphones in the community, will create a good opportunity for Mobile applications for learning.
Mobile learning, as the practice to learn anywhere any time, is becoming a new stage in the development of eLearning. Nevertheless, before stating the merits of the mobile apps in this industry, let’s recall the advantages of e-courses in general. A full-fledged eLearning program combines at least three forms of training:
1. Classical teaching – the provision of educational material, designed to study by individual listeners at a convenient time for them. It can be a text document, presentation, and webinar record.
2. Group training – simultaneous work of several listeners on-line. It can be joint preparation of the project, brainstorming, discussion of key problems of the organization. An important stimulating part of group work is competition: after all, when several people are doing the same thing, someone inevitably comes forward.
3. Dynamic learning – working within interactive web applications. Tests, games, abstract simulators or real simulators simulating real situations – all this increases the degree of involvement of the participants.
mLearning as a new word in technology
With the widespread use of devices such as smartphones and tablets, a new content delivery tool has emerged. mLearning allows transferring educational process from the desktop to a mobile device using WAP or GPRS technology, Wi-Fi and 3G. As a carrier, any portable device meets system requirements can be used.
Mobile applications in mLearning
A mobile application is a program installed on a particular platform, having a certain functionality that allows performing various actions. The importance of mobile applications for education grows not only because of their accessibility and attractiveness in terms of new technologies, but also because of the opportunities they provide: students work together on assignments, taking the teaching outside the school, everyone has the opportunity to speak out, participate (unlike from the system with a show of hands). The use of mobile applications for mLearning allows to:
– Implement a unified control over the level of knowledge of students;
– Simplify the conduct of tests and tests;
– Speed up the exchange of information between all participants of the educational process, to simplify the process of interaction between teachers and students;
– Intensify and modernize the educational process;
– Organize a distributed educational resource;
– Ensure the joint activities of students without reference to the location of participants in the educational process.
Currently, the specialists from all over the world are developing mobile apps that can complement the basic training program. Suppose a person has been trained in the skills of providing feedback, has received the relevant knowledge, has fulfilled the acquired skills. Next, person is provided with post-training support, “wired up” into the mobile application. It has a hint, an instruction for effective feedback, which can be used at any time. By the way, after passing the full-time training, the participant is sent a short version of the course – in text format or as a video tutorial.
Another area of application of mLearning is acquaintance with new products. In 30-40 minutes a person gets knowledge about new products, understands how to work with them, how to sell, and then immediately in an interactive mode passes the test and gets an estimate. In addition, the mobile application will send a push notification on the timetable.
The third promising area of application is technological training, when it is necessary to teach employees to work with a new computer program.
Generally speaking, mobile apps can perform training programs to transfer a lot of knowledge without using extra resources. With the help of a tablet computer or smartphone, operative access to databases, exchange of various materials, the ability to download the latest information at any time can be performed.
Who is recommended to use Mobile Apps for mLearning
1. Beginners in the period of adaptation. For example, cashiers and operators in the bank will be able to quickly learn the typical working technologies, the teaching of which in full-time education is spent months.
2. Employees whose work is related to the frequent renewal of the range of goods or services: sellers, waiters of network restaurants, mobile service providers, etc.
3. Experienced employees who need to improve their skills for a long time, for example cooks. Short presentations of new products and dishes, instructions, tips, pop-up tips will allow a person to constantly improve their skills.
mLearning as a fast growing trend
Thus, according to IDC (International Data Corporation), in the first half of 2013, the share of smartphones in sales of mobile phones and smartphones grew to 70% compared to 50% in the first half of 2012. Nevertheless, before giving the task to develop an app, you need to answer a number of important questions: “What needs to be achieved? What skills need to be improved? What problems need to be solved? ” There can not be an effective course aimed at” overall development and professional growth “- questions should be posed and tackled point-by-point.