Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Designing #mlearning Book Review – Chapter 5

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I intend to provide a brief synopsis of each chapter of ‘Designing mlearning‘, but more importantly I intend to answer the questions that Clark poses at the end of each chapter and then pose those same questions back to you ‘Dear Reader‘

Chapter 5 – Getting Contextual

We start this chapter off with the statement “content may be king, but context rules“, which provides a nice stepping stone into a number of examples that Clark provides to show what others have done to take advantage of mobile capabilities, via some concrete examples as opposed to abstract principles and possibilities.

We start off with an example from within the formal K12 education sector in which it was identified that laptops were the wrong form factor for children’s little hands so Elliot Soloway started developing software for the much more ‘form factor friendly’ PDAs to support note-taking, collecting and the sharing of data, whilst elsewhere the portability of mobile devices has supported children in conducting out-of-class experiments.

We then skip forward to Higher Ed and look at how students are accessing course management information such as schedules, syllabi and assignments from their mobile devices as well as accessing online recordings of lectures. The are a few interesting examples of educational establishments providing iPods, iPhones and iPod Touches to students (with varying degrees of success), which has regenerated my thinking around providing low-cost devices (I’m thinking iPod touches) within businesses to facilitate the uptake of mobile device usage.

We naturally progress onto Organisational uses of mobile devices, where Clark promises us some case studies in the next chapter, but for now we are reminded of the use of handheld scanners for stock control, data tracking, healthcare data provision, a drug trial in Canada using Blackberries to remind subjects to take their medication and finally the perhaps most recognised use within businesses, of employees connecting with Enterprise-wide contacts and calendars.

We finish off the chapter with these questions being posed (along with my responses):

What examples of mobile use have you seen that can provide models for what you might try?A few weeks ago I attended an eLearning Network event during which I observed a demonstration of a native app ‘shell’ that allowed content (of pretty much any file type I think) to be contained within it. For me the real ‘wow’ factor of this was the fact that access to each piece of content could be set to activate upon arrival at a physical location as opposed to having everything ‘on show’, this led to me to start thinking about whether it would be possible for the content to be activated as a result of other factors i.e. those that have been mentioned in this mindmap that was produced last year. All I need now is an opportunity to put this into practice!What barriers do you face in your context, and what possible solutions have others found?As a vendor, one of the biggest barriers I face in my role, is the client perception that mobile learning is ‘shrunken down’ desktop learning. I attempt to overcome this perception by demonstrating ‘best use’ examples of mobile devices and even challenge/question the client as to how they use their mobile device to support themselves in both their personal and professional lives. This usually leads to an interesting conversation that highlights that ‘shrunken down’ desktop learning didn’t figure in their response. I won’t say that this approach works all of the time, or even most of the time, however I’m sure it provides food for thought…… So folks,, why not take a look at the questions above and provide your own responses in the comments below?

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