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Gerry Griffin

Skill-Pill M-Learning

Company Director

Read more from Gerry Griffin

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Learning has evolved – it’s mobile, it’s engaging and it’s just in the nick of time.


We’re in the midst of the most amazing revolution – the digital age and all aboard the information superhighway or whatever cliché it has been given in the past – this technological, connected revolution has barely started yet already it is accelerating like nothing before it.

Whilst we have already adopted online habits for an ever increasing range of commerce and retail – we buy our books, book our holidays, find jobs, connect with our friends, and do our grocery shopping online – I don’t believe we have totally embraced the online world for professional learning.

Internet-accessible content like the TED talks, RSA animate and general You Tube learning programmes like the Khan Academy are giving us an ever increasing array of learning on our computer screens.  However, just because you can access web content like this doesn’t make it an enriching online learning experience. Sure it’s digital and we can access it from PCs; tablets or smart phones but this stuff is akin to a channel we’re all too familiar with – broadcasting.

And broadcast learning (press play and absorb to learn) has been around for a long time too.  I can recall laserdiscs; VHS and audio cassettes, and then – wow – e-learning.  Doing learning through programmes loaded on your computer, what a revelation..!  And then the realisation came when using it – most of this was like clicking through an online brochure.  Read, click, read some more, click, perhaps answer a question here and there, read and click some more.  Now before the e-learning illuminati get on my case, I know a lot of it has moved on since then, but we all know e-learning is scarred and tarnished by the early starts which ignored the way computer game-playing had started to grip technology users and still does

So where are we now in 2013?  Online gaming has gotten more sophisticated and playful - see immersive, 360-degree type, virtual world games with multiple players across the web alongside  simpler graphics but highly energising collaborative play.

Apps though - used on tablets and smartphones – have liberated computing to very fast loading programmes, for on the move activities in your very hands - through 3G and wi-fi.  Whilst e-learning and online/digital development support still appears locked into browsers or enterprise systems like Articulate and Captivate. These huge improvements in e-learning are being made as dedicated developers make programmes short; intuitive; interactive and with graphics and tracked quizzes.  From my standpoint, e-learning has a long way to go but is on the up.  It’s learning to find its place and I think increasingly will fuse with game-engine programming and leap into all our lives.

But it [e-learning] will already be second-place to apps.  Apps have proliferated like nothing ever seen in computing before.  Short, punchy, instant access as you need it, intuitive interface and users can flick between them at pace.

Trendy to talk about apps isn’t it?  They’re very now.  But this is not a blog about trending software for the sake of it.  I believe learning through apps is making the best of mobile devices – particularly highly capable smartphones – the ubiquitous technology device.  Anyway, back to learning through apps.  Using apps this way isn’t about squeezing e-learning content into a mobile screen; no this is about appropriate content, made for smaller touch-screens and with short bursts of attention so we can learn on trains; planes and bus platforms.

It’s about the content of the app being a blend in itself – narrative; animation; playable content; reminders of great practice techniques; models and mnemonics – all contained in a short, highly engaging burst of learning.  And the idea is, this is something you access not idly browsing but right when you need it.

Mobile learning (or m-learning) is a very distinct way of creating and deploying learning content that needs consuming in a very aware manner.

It is not broadcasting; it is not e-learning – it’s a demonstration of how learning has evolved, right in the palm of our hand.

This is the first in a series of blogs aimed at starting a conversation with HR and learning practitioners around the latest developments in mobile learning.  We believe there are innovators out there in the learning world just waiting to get people excited and using mobile learning – that’s why we feel learning has evolved and the mobile revolution is already underway.  

Skill Pill M-Learning is a leading mobile learning company that delivers concise marketing and training videos to mobile and portable devices. Each Skill Pill comprises up to two minutes of video content. Skill Pill produces customised content for clients including Dell,Tesco and Lufthansa, and also developed - in association with Pearson Education – an extensive library of management and business learning content. SPML has also developed a range of mobile tracking and feedback tools. 

Author Profile Picture
Gerry Griffin

Company Director

Read more from Gerry Griffin

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