For almost 10 years, educationalists have been experimenting with cell phones, and other mobile technologies – striving to enhance and enrich traditional forms of learning. During this time new processes and approaches have emerged, often distinct from established e-learning.
With the significant adoption of wireless environments, increasingly ‘smarter’ mobile phones and recently the evolution of phone Apps, this emerging area of specialism has become better grounded, more established and now mainstream. European educational institutions have played a leading role in this “mainstreaming”, providing mobile services to thousands of students, and alumni, whilst analysing what now constitutes a productive mobile learning process and environment.
A core part of success is the concept of “anywhere, anytime, and on any device” being the evolving paradigm. Whilst initially focused at a target audience of students, predominately within an age group of 18-23, this extensible model is configured to satisfy a far greater audience with significantly broader demographics. Be they students extending access to learning beyond the classroom, lecture hall or library. Alumni maintaining interest with their chosen subject, and their relationship with the University or institution. Adults formally or informally returning to education as a matter of need, or pure interest, in expanding their knowledge or professional development. Increasingly this facility and capability is required for delivery not just to the individual desktop, or personal laptop, but increasingly to ‘smart’ technology that fits in ones pocket. Ultimately delivery of ‘the right content, to the right people, at the right time’.
In wish to share a variety of data aimed at informing the debate on the value and impact of mobile learning channels, data relating to the ‘extensible’ opportunity as demonstrated by The Open University in the United Kingdom. Examples include The University of Oxford collaboration on “Molly” the mobile App project, data from University College London Medical School and ‘evaluation’ primarily through the UK MoleNet project, a major government sponsored mobile/vocational education initiative. (Download research findings on ‘The Impact of Mobile Learning: Examining what it means for teaching and learning’ from http://www.molenet.org.uk/pubs/