It is no secret that mobile devices are infiltrating every field right now. From mobile apps that unlock your car, to bluetooth speakers that connect to your phone, many of your everyday activities are probably already linked up to your mobile. And education is no different: mobile learning is on the rise, providing all sorts of brand new apps and even gadgets to use with your phone and enhance your learning experience.
The advantages of mobile learning may not seem obvious at first. To many, a mobile app is just a fancy gimmick that companies use to get more money out of consumers, or to promote their service better. And, in many fields, that is true: an app about chicken farming isn’t really enhancing your experience of fried chicken. It’s just making you think about chicken more often.
And yet in the case of education, the increasing number of apps and devices for mobile learning is far from a fad or a gimmick. For starters, a major benefit of mobile learning is that it is always with us. Whereas it can be cumbersome and annoying to carry books, a laptop, or even an e-reader around, our mobiles are compact, always with us, and easy to turn on and practise our exercises, or revise a chapter, in our spare time.
What is more, we tend to remember things by connecting them to other things. Millenials spends a lot of time looking at their phone: checking the weather, downloading music, texting friends, calling their boss, or anything else. So when they take out their phone it will be a reminder of the studies they are pursuing, through that app conveniently located on their home screen.
However, the benefits of mobile learning are not limited to the convenience of having a phone in your pocket! Mobile learning takes advantage of the technology at the very forefront of modern research, the sort of technology that younger generations are finding increasingly useful. Textbooks and comics were great for pre-computer generations, who would read every day for fun or work. But this is the era of the smartphone. Someone who spends much of their time on apps and social media is more equipped to perform memory tasks on a similar program than from a textbook.
Modern mobile training apps and sites also make use of the same concepts that get learners hooked on Angry Birds, or castle siege style games. This principle is called “gamification” and it means that the pattern of small, intermittent, but regular rewards, spaced out by larger rewards and a levelling system, makes a person more invested in their learning activity. This could go a long way towards keeping learners hooked on learning, making it as much an enjoyable experience as a chore.
All things considered, mobile training is here to stay. Modern learners are a completely new, very different breed. They need the fast pace, steady rewards, and familiar settings of a mobile learning app. The only question is: which is the right one for you?