Mobile Learning Makes Great Strides in 2011

For the last 2 decades E-Learning has been emerging as an efficient means to gain new knowledge and skills. This form of education is used in the corporate world of training, higher education, and even young learners in kindergarten. The cost of development has continued to drop as new rapid development tools have come on the market. In 2011, the pace increased with a race to transition from “E-Learning” to “M-Learning” or Mobile Learning.

Mobile Learning promises to be even more efficient than other online learning options. Small chunks of information that are easy to access anytime and anywhere will be important. Learners want to get the information they need quickly and move on to other interests.

Throughout 2011 the big question everyone was asking centered on the main platform for developing learning programs for mobile devices. At the crux of the dilemma was the heavy use of swf files, produced by Adobe Flash and other applications that output in swf format. Most existing E-Learning programs rely heavily on Flash technology.

Late in the year Adobe announced that it will no longer support Flash for mobile devices. This rocked the world of training developers and instructional designers, striving to move their E-Learning programs to the Mobile environment.

While the state of M-Learning is still in flux new developments are advancing. Moving to the forefront for E-Learning and M-Learning professionals is html 5. New Rapid Development tools are emerging that will output to html 5 and provide ease of use for non-technical instructional designers and developers. Progress is rapid and the new tools are popping up almost as fast as new mobile devices.

While the direction for new projects seems clear, what to do with the old programs remains an issue. Educators will have to weigh the cost of updating programs against the value of deploying on mobile devices. Perhaps the natural cycle of updating learning programs will resolve these issues. There is still a gap in a solid tool to transition old programs to new formats.

It’s an exciting time for this growing field of education. It’s also a challenging time. As communication habits change and people transition habits, the way we learn will change too.

Source: This article is based on my experience as an E-Learning professional for 13 years.

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