Thursday, December 9, 2010

When will cell phones be part of mainstream learning?

From Treion: Do you remember life before the Learning Explosion? I remember navigating social life on a US University campus without a cell phone, email account, or Facebook profile. Yes,  I managed quite well actually. I went on dates, had lots of friends, and managed to contact those friends via traditional methods when necessary. And this was only twelve years ago.

Today, I carry a full fledged computer in my pocket at all times, I am an active tweeter, Facebooker, Yammerer, Blogger, and self-proclaimed online junkie. I am not sure I would cope well to not having a smart phone? Heck, I even do my banking on the precious little thing. As it turns out, I am not the only technical gadget addict. To read some interesting statistics on cell phone use, check out this fun post--Obsessed With Your Cell Phone?

You could also read this article to see if you really are an addict--Top 10 Signs of Cell Phone Addiction

Whatever your degree of addiction, the fact remains that we have all become very reliant on our smart devices. The question of the day is, how can we, will we, use our smart phones to learn? Will they become mainstream learning tools? How? When?

In their December, 2010 release  T+D magazine, highlights mlearning as one of the "Six trends that will change workplace learning forever." In the article they mention an IBM study, from a previous issue (January 2010) that suggested two main purposes for mobile phone use: "in-field performance support and access to current, just-in-time information that is relevant to a specific project or task." 

The article then makes a statement that I strongly agree with--"But an even more important reason to venture into the world of mobile learning is that newer workers in the workforce, the Millennials, are demanding it. The need to make social media and mobile learning a part of the workplace to attract, engage, and retain the younger generations is forcing learning professionals to explore new and innovative ways to deliver learning on these inexpensive devices, anytime and anywhere"

I think we all know we must venture into this new world of mlearning. However, even with a few pioneers of mlearnig blazing the trail for us, it seems like we are still a long way off from reaching a true blended/mobile learning solution. It feels like everyone is pointing ahead to the finish line, while being content to let others run the race. We all know we have to go mobile, maybe we just are not sure how to, or we are just willing to let those early adopters try it out first.

What do you think? Disagree? Please show me the way:) I am more than willing to learn and jump on the bandwagon.

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