I spent a day at the Learning Technologies show exhibition in London this week. There is a lot of talk of mobile, social, and informal learning at the vendor stalls this year. Good sign I’d say. Unfortunately everyone has their own definition of each of these terms. The most confused, if not misused, term seems to be mobile learning.
One large learning systems provider says mobile learning is what’s done on your laptop. The mobile part is that the solution lets you complete your courses even when you are not connected to the Internet. It then communicates the data to the LMS when you do connect again to the Internet. To be fair it does help your mobile workforce learn through your LMS. But instead of calling it mobile learning, I’d rather call that an offline-LMS.
Another medium sized learning systems provider provides a similar solution like the above one but on a USB drive. But that’s again an offline-LMS may be just a little more portable that the laptop one but certainly cannot be classified as mobile learning. We tried to define mobile learning in a whitepaper we published some time ago, it can be downloaded here.
Both of the above solutions are useful and relevant and we ourselves deliver such solutions with our own LMS. However, when defining mobile learning, I think the use of a mobile phone (or some sort of a tablet) will be essential. Agree?