Smartphone-centric classrooms are a technology trend spreading globally due to the advantages of mobile learning. It’s not surprising why this happens. After all, smartphones are growing in number. This article looks at the key aspects of the mLearning concept.
What is mLearning?
mLearning stands for mobile learning, a concept that involves knowledge acquisition via the use of smartphones. Everyone has a smartphone, so it’s rational to use them for studies. Mobile learning in the classroom assists with spreading books or giving more access to video materials. mLearning is accessible since smartphones are cheap. One can promote educational content with it both in developed and developing states.
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When M-Learning Is Used, and When Is Not
Mobile education technology has many uses. It’s perfect for classrooms that teach something theoretical. The only reasons for not using educational technology and mobile learning include the lack of devices or a bad environment. Using a smartphone in some craftsman laboratories is dangerous: one can damage them too easily. However, a typical classroom only gains benefits from mLearning. Attempts to ban smartphone use are usually fruitless.
Mobile Learning Advantages and Disadvantages
Here are some mobile learning advantages and disadvantages:
The Advantages of Mobile Learning
Ease of getting the devices and software
The first reason to use mobile learning is the ease of finding the devices and software. Students can purchase these phones at minor prices. Many governments even invest in smartphones for learners. This means most individuals should be able to use the benefits of mobile learning. Moreover, the apps are often free (there are great open-source solutions like Anki) or have minor subscription prices. This makes smartphones the best devices for impoverished regions.
Flexibility in use
Smartphone devices are flexible as they feature countless apps. Users can access word processors and mnemonic card software or distance and social learning. We’re sure readers can discover almost any imaginable solution for their mLearning project.
It makes short and consistent learning sessions possible
One of the main ways to learn is by being consistent. A person has to study something every day, and mLearning makes this approach possible. Many smartphone apps enable it by promoting small sessions of 5 to 10 minutes. Since some children (and even adults) are hyperactive, this option is perfect: they learn, but the process isn’t too burdensome due to the benefits of mobile learning.
Engaging for students
What is mLearning? It’s a chance to teach students through their favorite devices and methods. Software for this type of learning uses gamification. You can give learners exactly what they want by using gamified apps. RPGs or even action games for learning are out there. For example, an app named Habitica allows taking up some learning habits via a role-playing game, where the user upgrades their character.
Space for collaboration
Smartphones enhance learning by interconnecting the content. Apps like Duolingo or Anki allow users to exchange data using Bluetooth or the Internet. Teachers may ask multiple students to collaborate on mnemonic cards or drawing projects stored in the cloud.
Many mLearning apps adapt to the users. For example, students can choose the color scheme of their software. It’s also possible to configure the difficulty of learning. This approach engages students and saves time. Teachers don’t have to create tasks for learners with different levels of knowledge because they get their own custom mobile experience.
Good cost/effort ratio
Smartphones (along with Chromebooks, if you need something bigger) are some of the cheapest computing devices. They may be slow: that’s one of the disadvantages of mobile learning. However, even a low-cost smartphone and open-source software can quickly boost your classroom by introducing simple programs. The impact is great, and the price isn’t that large (teachers and parents/learners pay for 100-dollar smartphones and some apps at best).
Supporting several devices
Most apps on the market support several device types. Firstly, despite different OSs, the apps are cross-platform. Oftentimes, you can find them on Android and iOS. If the readers want to learn more about the topic, please read our article: https://keenethics.com/blog/ios-vs-android-vs-cross-platform different operating system choices are possible. You can find similar M-learning content on iOS and Android. Secondly, different types of devices are also compatible: tablets and smartphones usually feature the same software. In this way, teachers don’t have to care about the choices of the children’s parents. They can discover cross-platform apps and continue with them. Many of them are also adaptable between the tablet and mobile, making almost any device usable for learning.
Connection of good learning practices and tech
The mLearning allows you to improve educational habits. For example, let’s review the best way to memorize new words, mnemonic cards. Apps like Anki make this process convenient. You have a comfortable interface, and the software splits all the cards into groups. All that remains to do is add content. The mathematical complexity of the card method is in the app: there’s no need to interact with it. Tech makes your favorite learning practices easier to use, raising access to education.
Improved learning results
All these factors lead to big improvements in learning results. Greater engagement and the simplicity of complex methods eventually push people to be more serious. They complete courses and do their homework with greater discipline. The framework also enables microlearning, a unique mobile learning strategy centered on small sessions. This means even the laziest students can find a way to study something.
The Disadvantages of mLearning
Short attention span
Mobile learning advantages and disadvantages lists should never omit the problems of smartphones. What do we mean by that? They encourage a culture of distraction because short video platforms and social media can destroy your attention span. If you use smartphones in the classroom, there’s always a chance students may start concentrating on them too much. It’s tempting to go on TikTok instead of studying in corporate training.
Depending on the Internet Connection
Some learning platforms depend on online tools, so teachers can’t use them adequately without the Internet. And, here’s a big problem for everyone: Internet connection isn’t always good. Some regions have the notoriously abysmal quality of this service. You have to consider this factor in your learning environment. If you don’t, then your entire learning plan can fail (especially if one relies on video platforms such as Zoom). However, we believe this problem will be less acute in the future. Starlink shows that it’s possible to have Internet even in the most remote rural locations.
Many companies are concentrating on mLearning today. Let’s review some of the best use cases for this technology. mLearning has many use cases:
Short session learning
mLearning trends give a chance to use small learning sessions, where educators can teach students something fast. The main advantage here includes 5-to-10 minutes opportunities for learning material. Hyperactive individuals won’t find them boring.
We live in a world where video games are popular: gamification in mLearning is a strong trend. For example, teachers can have an RPG-like system (like the one used in Duolingo, where users get XP and compete in a ladder for some prizes) for rewarding progress in a mobile learning app. It’s an engaging method for students as some people like playing video games at school or work.
Learning with role-playing scenarios
Sometimes, the best way to learn is to practice. Imagine giving students a chance to act as business professionals. mLearning delivers tools for creating such scenarios for social interactions. You can make people “CEOs” and “union workers” to test various problems. In this way, they study through real practice.
Multiple Options for Learning
Flexibility is also the key to the success of mLearning. Teachers can make a system that offers many options to the users of learning applications. The modular approach of apps is a part of the mobile learning definition.
These apps also enable learning in groups because one may register via social media and promote collaboration. Platforms such as Google Classroom make this choice easy. Some of them are free, so you can start using them even now. For example, Google Meet enables free classrooms for users.
Many mLearning apps also support personal profiles. This means a student makes the software suit their needs. They provide their photograph and description, choose the app’s look, and even select some learning courses.
Apps for every learning circumstance
Users find m-Learning apps of almost every kind. One can push any task with modern software as some options are already on the market. More importantly, countless companies are developing new solutions, with their services being relatively cheap today.
Audio and video
mLearning also makes it easy to use audio and video. As a result, you may show movies or lectures for your classes easily. YouTube, for example, changes the learning landscape by allowing users to access the lectures of teachers from different countries via video format.
Some video and audio materials are also interactive. Teachers can answer questions within them or even choose the further plot of some story. Modern smartphones enable educators to use these tools without barriers. Training content or lectures are perfect in this format. One can find interesting examples of this approach on Khan Academy, edX, Coursera, or Udemy.
You can create your mLearning examples by targeting custom software. It’s possible to ask development companies to present unique solutions. Clients may choose from a wide set of firms providing such services. We, for example, offer help with developing mLearning apps. Why should you try this option? Well, because it gives flexibility: your app means your rules.
Mobile Learning Opportunities
Mobile learning offers many opportunities for users. What are those? Let’s take a look at them:
Using the mLearning tools, you can give learning opportunities to almost everyone. Many people have cheap smartphones, and this enables one to promote eLearning apps everywhere. Moreover, low-cost government or non-profit programs for smartphones can cover whatever devices a class lacks.
mLearning gives a chance to use more methods and learn from more spaces. Firstly, you may gamify your learning or make it collaborative. Secondly, it’s possible to study both at home and school; teachers have more chances to promote good completion rates this way.
No language barrier
mLearning improves the situation with the language barrier in two ways. The first way is its ability to speed up language learning through microlearning methods. As for the second one, it delivers auto-translation tools (for instance, Skype Translator has an automatic tool for audio translation). One can have at least basic communication with modern smartphone apps.
Smartphones open students to other cultures. They give them insights into different nations through training materials (videos and audio) and communication. Learning English is especially enlightening because people from many places can join. The aforementioned auto-translation is also a potent tool.
Challenging the brain
Smartphones offer apps with complex logical problems. This means you can trick your brain with some hardcore issues. Some interesting tasks in math or physics, for example, are abundant. Less formal and smartphone-specific challenges are out there too.
Mobile Learning Pitfalls
Mobile learning is a great tool: it solves many education challenges. However, some problems with mobile learning exist too.
No universal solution
Many apps use two main operating systems, Android and iOS. The pros of the former platform are the big user base and comfort. But, it has a lot of piracy and security issues. iOS has a lower user base; however, it’s safer. While using mLearning, you have to always consider that two pathways are present. Some software doesn’t exist on other devices. We recommend focusing on cross-platform solutions as much as possible. They offer a better experience and tend to be much more inclusive for the average user.
The advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning are not only in operating systems. On the one hand, students have great learning tools. On the other hand, they have many technical problems. No software is without a bug. You’ll eventually encounter challenges with connection or particular functions. For example, Duolingo sometimes fails to save your progress due to Internet connection failures. Note-taking apps can fail to create a proper backup..
mLearning is in constant flux. Here are some popular mLearning trends
AI-Chatbots for an essay outlining
Modern AI chatbots can produce human-like output. During the test of Lambda, Google’s AI technology, one of the specialists even claimed that it’s alive. We’re not as optimistic about AI technology as some Google engineers. It still makes a lot of errors that prove the algorithm-based behavior. This tech should not be discounted, too, however. It’s not human, but it can compile lots of information. This means the users can promote this technology to create outlines for their essays or ask the tech to give some answers in general.
Better alignment with learning theory
More and more tools consider legitimate learning approaches. This means modern apps now follow scientific methods. Anki is one of the most powerful solutions in this regard. It uses mathematics to enable a potent mnemonic card framework.
Collaborative content creation
A large problem for many content platforms is the absence of content. They may have one or two interesting courses, distancing the users. Collaborative content creation solves this problem by allowing the users to deliver content. User decks in Anki are one of the best examples. A user can create a deck of language-learning cards. Others can then import this deck to learn via the pre-created material. This approach saves time and engages the users by giving them the incentive to create personal learning projects.
Our Experience in mLearning Development
Our company also has a lot of experience in developing mLearning apps. We work with many clients to create solutions for this sphere. What are some of them? Our company is proud of SelfLeaders, a self-improvement app for personal development. We also have physical code kits, “Let’s start coding,” which allow children to learn the basics of the process. Here’s the list of some projects we developed.
To summarize, mLearning is a perfect solution for modern classrooms. We recommend it to everyone who wants to improve their students’ learning experience. Software for almost every goal exists on the market. More importantly, many companies deliver custom solutions. You can hire some specialists to make the apps of your dreams.
What is mLearning?
mLearning stands for mobile learning. It means you learn something new through apps on smartphones.
Who is the creator of this concept?
The market, in our opinion. It’s a collective term.
Why should I use mLearning?
It’s engaging, easy to use, and cheap. You can also set up distance learning easily with this method.
Why must schools use mobile learning?
We think the main reason to use mobile platforms is to enhance learning. mLearning makes many aspects of the traditional studying process easier.
How can it help students?
Firstly, it turns learning into something more interesting because game-like elements, for example, are enticing. Secondly, it’s possible to engage in microlearning: this means that students with attention problems can still progress. Sessions of 5 to 10 minutes make learning easy for everyone.
What is the goal of mLearning?
To use smartphones to facilitate better learning processes. Microlearning, collaboration, distance frameworks, intercultural communication, and gamification are among the key things mLearning brings about.
Our company has experience with many education apps and can help develop your own!