Education opens doors and has the ability to change a person’s life. Quite often, though, life can get in the way of education. As an educator, you understand this. You are constantly looking for ways to meet your students where they are, in a way that reaches them the most effectively. A mobile learning management system, or mobile LMS, allows you to do just that. It allows educators and learners to come together to create a powerful educational experience.
You can manage your class functions, gauge student performance, and deliver learning support from your smartphone or other mobile device. This incredible technology makes your course accessible to students who are seeking college credits, professionals looking to update their skills, and adults who are entering a college classroom for the first time in years. There are many reasons to use mobile LMS for online learning.
#1 Meet Learners Wherever They Are
Nearly two-thirds of people in the United States own a smartphone. Most are using it to go online, including around 10 percent who have no internet at home. Their phone is their only way to access the internet. Research indicated that most people are spending more time on their phones then they are on their computers. Your students or prospective students are on their mobile devices; you should be on there too.
Want more reasons? Smartphones, iPads, tablets and the like are all here to stay. The technology is becoming more and more advanced as people are able to do more on their devices. They have the power of a full-sized computer that they can hold in the palm of their hand – and take anywhere. Wouldn’t it be great if they were carrying your course around with them?
#2 The M-learning Market is Exploding
The compound annual growth rate of the self-paced m-learning market, on a global scale, is 4.4 percent. It is expected to reach $53 billion by the year 2018. It is estimated that by 2019, as much as 50 percent of all classes will be accessed online. Students are drawn to this type of educational platform because of the ease of use and convenience – they are not required to be physically present in an actual classroom at a certain time on a certain day. They can choose when they want to learn, where they want to be when they learn, and how they want to learn.
There’s more though. Online or m-learning classes tend to be much more likely to provide a learning environment that is stimulating and creative, providing a wider array of interesting and varied media. They are also far more likely to encourage collaboration such as knowledge sharing and create repositories for knowledge. Today’s student is on the go and they don’t have time to sit in a class. They need a learning program that flexes with them and makes it easy to get that education they need.
#3 Deliver Personalized Learning
Research shows that approximately 74 percent of people are using their mobile devices to engage in activities associated with m-learning. Many are attending class, completing coursework, and participating in discussions. This is because mobile learning provides a very personal learning experience. Not only is it something they can access easily on their phone, it is something that they carry around with them all the time, texting friends, accessing social media; their mobile device is a part of their lives.
A personalized learning experience means that the student can adapt their education to their schedule and even their learning style. This allows them to work, raise a family, attend other courses, or pursue favorite activities while still gaining the value of a good education. Many nontraditional students claim that they don’t have time to go to school. Mobile learning destroys that argument in one fell swoop.
#4 Learning On the Go
Today’s learners, whether they are twenty-something college goers or adults engaged in professional development in an effort to advance their career, are on the go. Mobile learning allows their lessons to go with them – any time, anywhere. Business professionals can study while on their lunch break or on their commute home. College goers can study between classes or in the library (without having to wait for a computer to come available). If they need to break it up into smaller bites throughout the day, that is completely doable as well. For students on the go, m-learning goes with them.
#5 Just-in-time Learning
Just-in-time learning, also known as JIT, means that students have access to m-learning when they actually need it, not when it is given. In other words, the student has access control, so when they need the information it is there for them. Typically, it is web-based and sometimes automated. Mobile technology is a great platform for this type of m-learning.
There are two very significant advantages to JIT:
1. It allows learners to get the instruction and training that they need when they need it, as opposed to days, weeks, or even months down the road.
2. It significantly decreases the need for refresher training, which often occurs when an individual has newly acquired knowledge or skills that they do not put to use immediately, such as they return to work and do not have an opportunity to use it until later, and the knowledge is lost. This is also sometimes called “decay.”
#6 More Accessibility
M-learning is more accessible in more than one way. First, students who may have trouble in the classroom, or even getting to a classroom due to a disability, can easily access a virtual classroom. Additionally, because the class material will be viewed on the learner’s personal device, it is already equipped to accommodate their particular needs.
A mobile learning app is also more accessible to students as a whole because it is viewed and utilized on the mobile devices they are already using for daily life. They don’t have to go to the library to work on a computer or take a flash drive to a printing shop to print out a paper, everything is contained on that one device that they can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Flexibility is one of the most commonly cited reasons for taking m-learning courses. These courses are often taken by people who have many other things going on in their lives. They may be working a full-time job, raising children, or taking care of an elderly, or ill loved one. In such situations the flexibility of m-learning is very appealing. The very nature of this learning format promotes flexibility as students are encouraged to work at their own pace on their own time, when and where they want. Studies show that the less flexible a course is (increased activity and course structure) in this type of learning environment, the less effective the class is in promoting learning.
If the learner is required to communicate with other learners or is part of a learning team, then there may be some limits to the flexibility; however, often the team will set times to “meet” and work to accommodate all schedules. If the learner is required to participate in class discussions they are still typically given a timeframe in which they must respond, still allowing them to do so at the time they choose. Even with a somewhat limited flexibility this is still far more flexible than being in a classroom.
#8. Better Course Completion Rates
As m-learning is implemented on a wider scope, reports are coming in showing that course completion rates are better with m-learning than even online courses. One case study found that mobile learners had a completion rate that was 12 percent higher than courses that were taken on a laptop. What’s more, the m-learning courses were completed 30 percent faster.
There were two very interesting findings that came from this study:
1. Learners who were taking mobile learning courses studied 40 minutes more each week simply because they studied everywhere they went.
2. Students who are using their mobile devices as learning devices are two times as likely to study in the morning, between the hours of 6 and 8 a.m.
This is reminiscent of a study that found more people read newspapers now because they are able to access them on their smartphones and mobile devices. Their device is always with them so they can study while they are waiting for a table at a restaurant, in line at the supermarket, commuting on the subway, train, or bus, and even while traveling. When you think of all the places people use their mobile devices, the possibilities are endless.
Conclusion: Once upon a time, people said we would be doing everything on computers, including “going to school.” When mobile devices came along, the predictions started flying regarding how long before our entire lives would be held in the palm of a hand. Still, it was thought to be something akin to a SciFi event, something that would happen “in the future.” Well, the future is here. M-learning is here and it is here to stay. Its popularity is growing by leaps and bounds every single day. The time to act is now. Don’t get left behind while technology marches forward with your competition in tow. Step to the front of the pack and find out what this m-learning thing is all about. You’ll be so glad that you did.