Laura Del Vecchio
Chinnapong @ stock.adobe.com
Nowadays we are used to using mobile phones to communicate with friends and family, to do online shopping or to order food, and so on. It now comes out that mobile phones can also be used to support learning processes. They are cheaper than computers or laptops and thus more readily available for individuals. Mobile learning, also known as M-Learning, is a way to provide content and quizzes via the internet and apps, or text messaging services, such as Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).
Those who cannot access formal institutions traditionally, could have the possibility to learn whenever and wherever they please. Using mobile phones for educational purposes can enable a large population without access to the internet or resources for more expensive devices to get an education. For instance, far-to-reach regions or rural areas often have schools that are poorly equipped or lack well-qualified teachers, therefore, this learning method could empower children in such areas to boost their education, enabling them to learn in addition or independently to their formal school capacities.
Instructors may send questions during a training process, while the audience could answer them via a questionnaire taken on cellphones. Even though most people today that access internet content use mobile devices to do so, they could also combine the use of desktop and laptop computers in the learning process. Depending on the devices' availability, instead of choosing just one device, multiple devices could be used for different activities.
In the corporate training sector, learning material created by one person can be shared with other employees, so they can learn about contents using their mobile devices, in their own time. Learning material can easily be shared through email or by simply sending links by text message, for instance. In addition, it could provide educational opportunities to reach employees that work remotely, enabling them to access their training at any time.
A disadvantage of this learning systems may be users' distraction, because generally people can get constantly interrupted with messages and notification banners. In order to solve that problem, people could disable some apps notifications during a training practice or online class. Lack of internet connection or electricity can also be a barrier for people in remote areas: if students do not have internet access or electricity readily available mobile learning could not be possible.
Utimately, the members of the generation known as Millennial have grown up with digital devices practically glued to their bodies. Mobile learning is adjustable to the way millennials interact, work and think. As cellphones could be a great vehicle for making learning opportunities accessible to lower income class children, underdevelopment countries could catch up with contents the educational systems have been missing for years. By learning what children from other cultures are learning simultaneously, students from these countries could be levered up and thus not being left behind in terms of knowledge and skills.