M-Learning: Where Technology Meets Education

We’ve all been there–trapped in a hot and sticky classroom on a warm June day. Hair drenched in sweat, thighs glued to our plastic chairs, and nothing separating us from the great outdoors but a pane of glass. We all thought to ourselves, “there’s got to be a better way.” Well, thankfully, that better way is here and it goes by the name of “M-Learning.”

M-Learning: Where Technology Meets Education

What is M-Learning?

M-Learning, a.k.a. “mobile learning,” is defined as any learning that takes place using personal mobile devices such as tablets, laptops, or mobile phones. M-Learning enables learners to engage in learning outside the confines of the traditional educational setting. Quite simply put, M-Learning and mobile devices are the next step in online learning–enabling students to say, “goodbye, sweltering classroom” and “hello, fresh air.”

What are the benefits of M-Learning?

Experts in the field of education and technology list several benefits associated with introducing M-Learning to both traditional educational institutions and work-related training.

1. Offers Convenience

Mobile learning can take place anywhere, anytime, and for any length of time. This not only allows learners to work around their busy schedules, but it also enables them to make use of time that would be otherwise wasted such as time spent waiting for appointments or riding the subway.

2. Appeals to Different Learning Styles

Learning styles are as diverse as the learners, themselves, and M-Learning appeals to a broad spectrum. Mobile devices enable students and trainees to read text, listen to the spoken word, watch videos, contribute to conversations, and more. It also better allows students to meet curriculum expectations on assignments in ways that are congruent with their individual learning styles. One student may wish to demonstrate their comprehension of Shakespeare by composing an essay; one may choose to shoot a dramatic video; while another may decide to create a collage of photos.

3. Fosters Greater Engagement

Bye-bye passive learning. Instead of simply listening to someone talk about a concept, M-Learning encourages learners to actively participate in the education process. The very design of the mobile device, itself, does much to enhance learner engagement by making them press or swipe the screen. But, the very design of many M-Learning educational activities includes bite-sized chunks of information followed by quizzes and assessments, educational games, a higher degree of visual information, and the opportunity to interact with other learners and teachers.

4. Improves Technological Skills.

M-Learning not only imparts the information related to a specific lesson, but it will also help learners develop greater technological efficacy. Not only does it help to increase confidence and remove a fear of computerized devices, but it will also make learners more flexible and able to adapt to on-the-job changes.

5. Easier to Digest.

M-Learning enables learners to deal with new information one chunk at a time. This allows for better retention of new material and prevents feelings of frustration. They can take the necessary time to master each concept before moving on.

What are some of the concerns about M-Learning?

While the praise seems to outnumber the criticisms, there are a few concerns raised by field experts.

• Expense. Mobile devices are not inexpensive. School boards may find it impossible to come up with the funds required to equip classrooms with the tools necessary for M-Learning. Many parents would also be unable to come to the table to cover these expenses as well.

• Loss. Due to the portable nature of mobile devices, they can easily become lost or stolen. This results not only in increased expenses, but it also means that student data can wind up in the wrong hands.

• Logistics. M-Learning often involves the downloading of educational materials–and depending on the internet service available, these downloads can be quite time-consuming. Furthermore, these devices run on batteries that will need to be re-charged frequently. And there will be the inevitable times when the internet is down or mobile service is unavailable.

There may come a day when sweltering in the classroom is a thing of the past. Thanks to M-Learning there is, finally, a better way.

What is your opinion of M-Learning? Why do you feel that way?

Kimberley Laws
I am a freelance writer, avid blogger, illustrator, and aspiring novelist who thinks the world is a terribly funny place filled with bizarre things to observe--and, of course, comment on.
Kimberley Laws

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