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What’s the future for ‘m-learning’?


USA online magazine Line Zine has been reporting over the last few months on the growing possibilities for learning to be delivered 'any time, any place'.

Writing for the publication Clark Quinn, Director of Cognitive Systems Software provider predicts that 'm-learning', accessing learning materials through mobile 'phones or personal computers such as Palm Pilots will develop so that learner can learn wherever they are; the salesperson on the move will be able to download sales training software to access as and when they please.

All well and good, but Quinn points out that tracking learners progress and making sure software works on all systems are problems that need to be looked at. The software issue is something that's affecting the existing e-learning market too - often software that's compatible with one platform doesn't work with another.

Carol Weiss, Vice President of Communications for Experient Technologies agrees that there are problems, not least with ensuring mobile learners have the time to learn, but also with design issues and the probable need for personalised content and presentation. Because of this, Weiss says that the mobile worker is likely to be at the forefront of mobile learning, helping to test and establish the best ways of delivering and handling learning for those on the move. Laptops and mobile 'phones are already accepted forms of communication on the move for many workers, but work needs to be done to ensure that 'm-learning' means a two way interaction, not just communicating with a machine. Learners need to be able to receive quick responses to their queries, and their progress needs to be able to be tracked by those 'back at base'.

TrainingZONE says: It seems that most of the issues affecting 'm-learning' are those already being grappled with in the e-learning world. One more method of training delivery joins the fray, but it remains to be seen whether 'm-learning' receives the kind of hype which has surrounded e-learning so far.

Endnote: One of the companies in the UK currently working at developing m-learning technologies is Epic Plc. Read TrainingZONE's interview with CEO Donald Clark to read his predictions for the future of mobile technologies for learning.


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