PLAN YOUR M-LEARNING APPROACH
Step 1: Define the learning objective to be achieved
Technology allows the creation of new tasks that were previously inconceivable but it is important to confirm that mobile learning experience really makes sense and provides advantages over other forms of learning.
- What form of mobile learning meets your needs?
- Will you use tools for cooperation, assessment or improving efficiency?
- What actions of the users would you like to evaluate?
Step 2: Assess the current situation
a. Who are your users?
- What mobile devices do they use?
- What are their main ways of spending time with mobile devices (games, texting, creating and sharing contents, contact with others, browsing the net…)?
- Are their devices connected to the Internet and if yes, in what way?
b. What kind of experience have you and your team got?
- Is there anybody in your school who deals with creating websites or has experience in applications or games?
- Who will deliver the content?
- Who will run the training?
- What competence should these people have?
- Will they need to be trained?
- Will they need additional materials
c. What are your resources?
Budget. Have you got all of the training materials required, the suitable specialists, or maybe you will have to buy some elements? Additionally what elements can you buy? What budget have you got and how can you dispose of it? Have you got the funds for the development of mobile learning?
Time. How much time have you got for designing mobile learning trainings, their implementation and the preparation of the evaluation of the first results? Is it enough time for the participants to reach the goals set for them?
Technology. Have you got all necessary mobile devices? Can everyone access them and do they work with JAVA, HTML5 or similar languages?
Content. Have you already got the training material which can be converted to a mobile format? Are the contents suitable for the mobile mode? Who will deliver the required content? Will it be easy to process them into mobile devices? Who will deal with the updating and changes in the content if necessary? What about the intellectual property – who will have the rights to the content?
What are the security requirements?
Define the security requirements
Step 3: Choose the device which is available for each of your students.
Mobility is a chance, not a barrier. If somebody says, “I haven’t got a tablet or a media player”, it means they will not be able to use the contents shared in these devices.
To make the choice easier, we should focus on the previous analysis of the current situation.
The devices are equipped with lots of options which can be used for learning. Think about which tools and devices (sound and video players, clock, calendar, contacts list, GPS, maps, navigation, Bluetooth, e-mail, browser, text message, phone calls, sound and video recorder, text editor, spreadsheet, social networks, extended reality, detectors) will be most suitable for the training activities that you are planning and make sure that everybody can access them.
We can also choose between:
- Blended learning system: Face-to-face classroom methods are combined with computer-mediated activities;
- 100% mobile learning experience.
Step 4: Build a prototype
Prototyping is an important part of the development life cycle of the m-learning process. This will improve the user experience and if necessary modify the course.
Some basic principles should be adhered to in Mobile Learning content creation:
- Segment information in blocks of less than 5 minutes;
- Simplicity and speed of loading. M-learning access is performed in short times and with a reduced screen, so you should prioritize what’s important;
- Include multimedia, audio, video, games, etc.;
- The content must be continually updated, should not be static but include the latest information;
- The delivery has to be colloquial: style should be adaptive. The student considers his
mobile advice as something “personal”;
- Include elements of collaboration;
- Include applications.
Step 5: Testing the process
Testing mobile learning approaches is a key action, which should not be omitted in any case. It is this stage which decides on the success of the training with the use of mobile devices or mobile learning courses. For now, you have the opportunity to check if it meets yours the users’ expectations.
It is important to watch the test participants carefully and write down the problems they had, as well as to ask them to comment on the mobile learning process on the spot or after the testing session, in order to correct or modify critical aspects.