Another way to think about it is where learners are in their development. We use formal learning when they’re novices, and don’t know what they need or why they need it. Once they’re on the job, when they’re practitioners, they know what they need and just want access to it. The role of performance support …
The purpose of this article is simply to remove some of the negative connotations around smartphones and to consider new possibilities which we have at our disposal. In order for students to use smartphones in school responsibly, it is important that we set limits and rules beforehand.
"Mobiles are small devices. That is what makes them most suitable to fit your pocket and schedule as and when you like them. However, implementing a mobile-learning strategy involves a careful understanding of how far current LMSs are capable of developing and delivering content on the mobile platform."
As the adoption of mobile devices increase, so does the demand for information to be readily accessible from them. As educators, we face the challenge of getting our courses online and modifying our design to meet that delivery method. However, the “online” delivery method is complex in that it can entail a range of devices ranging from desktop computer, tablets, smartphones, to the next big thing.
Even though you might not be designing your course to be taken solely on a mobile device, there is a high chance that your students will access it in this way. In today’s post, I am going to discuss some best practices to consider when designing yours courses so that they accommodate for mobile access.
1. Use a responsive theme. Moodlerooms recently released the Snap theme for Joule. This is a responsive theme that will provide users with the best experience when accessing Joule from a mobile device. If you are using Express for your site theme, you can use Snap for individual courses or your Site Administrator can set it as the default theme for any users accessing from a mobile device or tablet.
2. Rethink your content structure. First off, you clearly have less real estate with mobile. Because of this, there is more scrolling. Evaluate your course structure and make adjustments as necessary. As you design, you might want to rethink the chunking of your content to work with the mobile experience. Also, try keeping the important content at the top of the screen, so that it is read first, not last.
3. Rethink your graphic selections and layouts. While responsive sites will adjust the size of your media elements automatically to best fit the screen real estate, you might want to reconsider the overall design selections. You will want to avoid wide images that pan across the screen, tables, and the float attribute for image layout. Also, consider removing the height and width attributes for optimal display. Lastly, performance on mobile devices can be slower, so make sure you are optimizing your media appropriately.
4. Provide students with expectations for how materials can be accessed. You can include these expectations in your course syllabus. For example, you may have materials such as interactives or documents that will require access from a desktop or laptop computer.
5. Use a video player that will work across devices. You’ve probably heard the Flash versus HTML5 controversy, and you might be confused on how to best deliver media to your students. You will want to choose a mobile friendly player. You will also want to be consistent with which player you use throughout the course. Provide students with this expectation in the course syllabus. It is ok to tell students how your videos will best be viewed.
6. Use eLearning tools that support mobile content. There are many eLearning tools that output to HTML5 allowing you to integrate mobile friendly content.
7. Design for mobile access from the start. If you are designing a new course, you have the benefit of working in the best practices from the start. Consider an iterative design approach so that you can test the mobile experience after one module is developed.
8. Consider new activities. Your students most likely have a smart phone and love to use it. Why not use this to your advantage and make use of that functionality as part of your course activities? Think about the advantages of instant polling, capturing progress or findings through multimedia, documenting field trip experiences, and recording voice for submission.
9. Try accessing your course from a mobile device. Start with the smallest sized device that you own, and work your way up. By doing this alone, you will reach your a-ha moment more quickly. Take some time to identify any challenges in your design and consider making improvements. Sometimes, small changes can make a huge impact!
10. Ask your students for feedback! Consider polling your students. Find out if they are using their mobile device and how they are using it. Are they simply using it for message, to view grades, or are they going through course materials? The more you learn about your students the better equipped you’ll be to improve your course.
CoSN has just published a "guide provides key information and tips to educate and support administrators interested in implementing mobile learning. It addresses common questions from administrators including...:
"According to the NMC Horizon Report 2014: K-12 Edition, the uptake of BYOD in American schools has increased by over 30% in the past year, with 56% of school districts currently implementing BYOD programs. “This model ultimately gives learners ownership of their learning, as they are entrusted to demonstrate their mastery of required competencies in methods of their choosing, and select the technological tools they need to do this. Education researchers highlight BYOD as the technology practice that will best accommodate this vision of personalized learning.” According to further research, 70% of students report a significant increase in motivation for learning using mobile technology."
As mobile devices with wireless access become more readily available, learning delivered via mobile devices of all types must be designed to ensure successful learning. This paper addresses three questions related to the design of mobile learning: 1)
The UN recently reported that the number of people who own mobile phones outnumber the people who have access to flush toilets.
Mobile learning with Moodle can be used to deliver both static content, and multimedia content. Some examples of multimedia content are podcasts, audio lectures, and video lectures. You can also perform assessments on learners using mobile learning. Pen and paper tests can be daunting, and highly stressful. Mobile assessments can be done from anywhere, making the process more comfortable, and more efficient. Answers are recorded and stored online, for administrators to access and grade easily and quickly. As well, mobile assessments allow the opportunity to provide thorough feedback, not just checkmarks and x’s, allowing more space for users to learn, and grow. Users will be able to see whether their answer was correct, the total marks they received per answer, feedback, and what the correct answers were.
Every learner has different strengths and weaknesses, so mobile learning with Moodle also allows administrators to tailor the learning process to each individual learner, to ensure that they are getting all of their needs met. Communication is also enhanced, as it provides more methods to reach out. You can set up group discussions, forums, private and SMS messaging, real-time chat messaging, virtual classrooms, and video conferences.
"Smartphones have become ubiquitous and it is extremely critical for the eLearning industry to adapt their curriculum to an app based pedagogy. While apps do come with their own set of problems and limitations, it is vital that we utilize them for the advantages that they offer while taking care of the limitations that may hinder the process."
"When smartphones first became popular, the struggle was to shrink Internet Explorer to the size of a playing card. The internet browser was the de facto app installed on every computer—it allowed you to browse the web. For many, the web browser is a computer. (See Google Chromebooks.)
It quickly became clear that squeezing desktop actions on handheld technology was backwards. Mobile-first thinking changed things. Facebook became mobile-first—which meant that it’s designed to not just be accessed on your phone, but work better on your phone. Websites are often now responsive, scaling to the size of your screen."
The theme for the United Nation’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty this year is to ‘think, decide and act together against extreme poverty’ so we’ve compiled a list of five learning apps that are working towards this purpose and making a positive impact on the world.
Mobile apps are increasingly popular because they allow learners to tap into on-demand, bite sized and just in time learning both wherever and whenever they want to.
The apps we want to highlight stick out because they deliver short, relevant pieces of information that either create awareness of the daily struggles faced by those in poverty or else provide users with the information they need to make informed decisions.
"When it comes to successful eLearning design, everybody should agree that there’s no such thing as too much information about how the human brain operates. It’s wired for social learning. Our respective environments actually shape our brains and the rest of our bodies."
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