Introducing: M-Learning

by Sharlyn Lauby on November 18, 2010

A number of years ago, I attended an ASTD International Conference and Exposition.  I listened to a couple of sessions about designing Blackberry apps for learning.  And I had an epiphany.

The future of learning is mobility!

I went back to the office and wrote what I thought was a somewhat eloquent, detailed proposal about creating and implementing learning apps for my employer.  I mobile learning, m-learningwas so proud of myself.  Patted myself on the back for being all strategic and stuff.  The reaction?  My boss looked at me like I had three heads.

Now fast forward to today.  Budgets are tight and training is necessary.  More people have access to mobile phones than running water and toilets.  There are an estimated 4.2 billion people who have a toothbrush and 4.6 billion who have a mobile subscription.  (I know – sad, but very true.)   And you can find a mobile app for just about everything from your banking to recipes to, well . . . farting noises.

So why not m-Learning?  Has the time arrived?  The statistics would suggest so:

The U.S. market for mobile learning products and services reached $632.2 million in 2009. And, demand is growing.  It’s estimated that revenues will reach $14 billion by 2014.

What’s interesting about this data is the U.S. was a late adopter of mobile learning compared with Japan and South Korea. In 2009, the US passed Japan to become the top mobile learning purchaser in the world.

The popularity of mobile makes this an option worth exploring in a company’s training strategy.  On an introductory level, just look at iTunes U – an entire catalog with over 350,000 lectures, films, language lessons, etc.  Most of which are free BTW.  Think of the resources you can share with your employees.

We all know one of the keys to successful training is creating the proper learning environment.  I wonder if mobile learning has the acceptance and the capability to really take off.  What do you think?

Image courtesy of gabofr

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