Mobile learning – my doubts and thoughts before experiencing the kindle book

In this post, I will explain my doubts about mobile learning and introduce my kindle book 🙂

On Dec 1st, we had a guest speaker in our Web 2.0 class, Sharon Boller, President, Bottom-Line Performance. I really enjoyed her presentation and some of the information was very helpful for me to understand companies point of views regarding using Web 2.0.

For instance, what is using a social networking site like in a company? Sharon explained Sun Microsystem built their own internal social networking site and worked well. Trust employees (users of the site) and build relationships.

The most important message in the presentation for me, is about MOBILE LEARNING! I agreed her comments completely: Not sure if mobile learning devices are ready. Not sure if people are ready for mobile learning! In fact, I was kind of feel relieved after knowing the fact that someone as a president of an instructional consulting company also has doubts about mobile learning, not only me.

Issue #1 Devices and browsers: If you’re going to use cellphones for mobile learning, you have to have same type of devices at least same brand for your employees because different cellphones use different type of browsers.

Issue #2: A small screen makes the content hard to read.  Sometimes people just want to use their cellphone for having conversations with friends, families, and business. It is like function fixedness in psychology.

Issue #3: Support or learning???  It is helpful when you have support from your mobile devices such as a GPS  system or a translation feature. But can you say you are learning when use these features or they just play a role to support your needs?

Issue #4: The controversial issue about whether people want to learn at anytime and anyplace. I think this is a very important issue. I remember Dr. Bonk presented one research on mobile learning: an international comparison one time. In the study, each Taiwanese owns 2+ cellphones but they have lowest rate of using mobile devices for learning. I think it doesn’t mean that Taiwanese don’t learn or don’t know how to use mobile devices. Maybe we just don’t want to learn anytime anyplace! Cellphones for social networking, talking, and communication are perfect. Why use it for learning?

P.S. My idea  about using cellphones for communicating among a group of people, videoconferencing calls. Now we have the smallest projectors for sell in U.K. already. http://techshoestring.blogspot.com/2008/11/small-pico-lcd-projector-opens-big.html

img_03742Okay. I have talked enough about my doubts of mobile learning – I don’t really think mobile learning can have an impact soon. However, I bought a kindle book recently (because on my way to Orlando AECT 2008, the person sitting next to me, owns a kindle and he demonstrated it to me. He also said he bought about 6 kindles for his families and they all love it! On my way home, he said hi to me again, on the same flight!! So I took it as a sign…. ) I really love this device (except the unfriendly price – I had to sell my wii)! I am not a big fan of doing everything electronically but this is awesome! It doesn’t look like a laptop monitor (doesn’t have a backlight – it just like paper) and you can change font sizes. It has a built-in dictionary. Easy to read! You can highlight things, and edit notes. Plus you don’t have to carry the heavy documents or books everywhere. Just wonderful! So I am definitely looking forward to the time when mobile learning is ready and becomes popular!

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1 Comment »

  1. Mike said

    I’m not too crazy about the idea of mobile learning either. I confess – I don’t even like reading material from a computer screen, let alone a mobile device screen! However, for me the biggest hang-up that I have with mobile learning is that at some point don’t we just need to stop learning and relax; shouldn’t some things be sacred! Why do we need to learn 24/7? I agree, maybe the Taiwanese are on to something – cell phones are for socializing!

    I think the greatest use for mobile devices is as support tools; on demand tutorials for workers, etc.

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