When it comes to mobile learning myths and misconceptions abound. The mlearning domain is still new to many, so this confusion is to be expected. These myths are holding back widespread adoption of mobile learning in the workplace. Here is a list of the more common ones I come across. Also contrast with a list of myths we posted on this blog a couple of years ago.
1. It’s just elearning on the phone
This is the most common misconception about mlearning which leads you to evaluate how to implement elearning on mobile devices. In reality, mlearning is different from elearning in terms of size of courses that can (or should) be delivered on mobiles; the context in which mlearning is accessed. Designers must consider the always on nature of phones which help capture the moment of creative learning and other such factors. I’d suggest staying away from converting existing elearning courses to mlearning unless you have a strong reason to do so.
2. It’s just learning on the move
Mobile learning is much more than just learning on the move. It is quite literally mobile everything. Sure some ‘learning’ can be delivered on mobile phones especially when spacing learning events/interventions or as part of a blended program – one of the three ways in which mobile devices can broadly be used in workplace learning. The best way to think mobile learning is to think ‘augmentation’ of performance or learning itself – as Clark Quinn argues in his book – Designing mLearning: Tapping into the Mobile Revolution for Organizational Performance
3. Small screen size is not suitable for learning
Unless you are planning to deliver large elearning programs or 150 page documents on mobile, screen size should not be an issue. When your staff needs just-in-time information to perform better, screen sizes will not matter much. What will really matter is the ease with which users access information, how it is presented, and how usable it is in for accomplishing job performance. With newer phones the screen size is getting bigger, and the ‘small screen’ myth is being demolished as I write this.
4. Mobile content is expensive to create and distribute
This wasn’t really true a few years ago but and isn’t now either. Several tools are available to help you get started and create mobile learning for less. If you’re looking to create native apps that can be costly; you won’t need native apps for everything. You don’t even need a lot of interaction either- a simple checklist or a well written text & image file work just as well as a more sophisticated solution for performance support needs.
5. It’s not secure
Identified as one of the barriers to adoption of mobile learning in a recent ASTD research, this is probably the most valid myth on this list. If you lose your phone (and phones get lost all the time), your company’s intellectual property could be compromised. These days security solutions like encryption, password protection, and remote wipe/erasing of data can mitigate these risks. Also the BYOD policies in your organization will affect the security measures you need to adopt.
6. Create once and deliver on all devices
“Can you make my elearning run on my iPad as well?” – we’ve been increasingly hearing this request from clients. The desire to make everything available on all devices, even if it’s not going to be effective, is growing. It sometimes comes from a CEO who’s very excited by his/her own new iPad and at other times because of the perception that everyone else is doing it. I have argued previously that tablet learning is unique and should not be confused with elearning (desktops/laptops) or mlearning (mobile phones). Maybe this is just a matter of semantics, but to me mobile learning on tablets is different from mobile learning on phones.
7. SCORM compliance is a must
for mobile learning solutions is little tricky, while not impossible. Different browser behavior and inconsistent or unreliable internet connections (sometimes expectedly when you work in basements or remote locations) contribute the most to problem implementing SCORM. You can achieve tracking without having SCORM compliance, so determine if you really need SCORM tracking.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these or on any other myths that you’ve come across.