If you grew up in the 90s, you may remember those petite, pocket-sized dictionaries that were popular despite the fact that they contained a very limited number of words and meanings. The fact that you could carry them around and learn on the go compensated somewhat for their lack of comprehensiveness.
Today, technology has ensured that we don't have to make this trade-off - thanks to smart-phones; we have encyclopaedic knowledge at our fingertips – anytime, anywhere! The last few years have heralded the age of mobile learning (or M-learning), which is defined as" learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices."
This shift from classroom to mobile learning is a key trend in higher education today. More and more people are consuming video content, podcasts, study apps, online quizzes, and e-books. Here are some reasons driving this trend -
Flexibility of Time
One of the biggest benefits you will encounter with mobile learning is that it allows for flexible scheduling. Since you will be able to access your study material on your smart phone, you can prepare anytime. Mobile learning is great for students who prefer study methods that do not disturb their daily routine. If you have a busy schedule and can only study in short bursts, you can use your free time in between other tasks to study. You would benefit from using study apps that teach you bite-sized chunks using creative methods such as flashcards, quizzes, or puzzles. Thus, mobile learning enables an always-on, round-the-clock learning method.
Your mobile phone is your personal piece of technology that you carry around with you everywhere you go. More and more students are switching to mobile learning as it is accessible from virtually anywhere. You do not have to be in a classroom to listen to a lecture and you do not have to be at a library to access study material. This advantage is enabled by the portability of the medium—large and bulky textbooks, notes, lectures, and tests are all conveniently and compactly fit into one small device.
Widespread Engagement and Interaction
If you think that a traditional classroom course is better suited for you because an online course will not allow you interaction with instructors and peers, you could be wrong. Research and statistics have revealed that student engagement rate is significantly increasing in courses taken through the mobile format. This kind of student engagement through mobile learning has led to the establishment of online learning communities and forums. If online course content could be considered the digital avatar of a traditional teacher, an online forum would be the digital avatar of your classroom. In a forum, you can interact with course instructors as well as other people taking the course. You can discuss your subjects of study, and the queries and doubts you post on these platforms will be answered by experts.
Variety of Learning Styles
When learning from your smart phone, a variety of learning methods and styles are addressed. So, you can learn by listening to podcasts, watching lectures and animations, reading, solving puzzles, etc. These apps have something for everyone – whether you are a visual learner or an auditory learner, whether you prefer conventional text learning or learn largely through solving problems and puzzles, you are likely to find options that suit your style. Apart from course material, a smart phone will also allow you to conduct research from other sources as you can access information on the go.
The popularity of the platform
If you look at the past 30-40 years, you can see that learning migrates from one platform to another depending on what students of each generation are apt to spend time on. In the 80s or 90s, books were the main source of learning and knowledge. In the 2000s, students spent copious amounts time in front of the computer, so a lot of courses came on CDs to be installed on your PC. In 2015, students (and in fact, most people) spend a lot of time engaging with the phone that they hold in their hands. Hence, it makes sense that learning has made its way to the smart phone screen as well.
No two learners are exactly the same. Each learner has his own methods and pace of understanding the concepts presented to him. With mobile learning, learners can employ the methods and pace that are suitable to their learning style. There are online learning platforms that tailor their study content to suit individual needs. There are also several study apps that track your progress as you study. With a smart phone, you can make use of the several apps that help you make mind maps, to-do lists, notes, and study time-tables to keep you on the straight and narrow path. Engaging with the different kinds of materials available at your own time and making use of the platforms to interact with experts makes this kind of learning experience a very personalized one.
For all these reasons and many more, mobile learning is evolving by the day and rapidly picking up popularity as a favoured learning method. So, have you tried to learn on your phone yet?
Arun heads the academics and the marketing team at CrackVerbal. Having taught and mentored over 5000 students, Arun is considered among one of the leading GMAT tutors in the world. He has created the CrackVerbal GMAT and GRE curriculum from ground-up and oversees the quality of service delivery across products.