Webinar Highlights: Mobile Learning Fundamentals
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Last week, we welcomed UCD’s Educational Technologist, Liam Fogarty, to host an informative webinar on the fundamentals of mobile learning.
In this informative session, Liam defined mobile learning, how UDL principles apply, the development and roll-out process of mobile learning and the future of the design trend.
Here are some highlights from his presentation:
Mobile Learning Defined
“Mobile learning is education (learning) via the Internet or network using personal mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, to obtain learning materials through mobile apps, social interactions and online educational hubs. It is flexible, allowing students/learners to access education anywhere, anytime.”
Mobile Learning in Practice
Liam stated that the main benefit of mobile learning is the accessibility for busy or remote employees. From a learner’s perspective, it is a given that if they have a device with internet connection, the assumption can be made that its suitable for learning. However, this might not always be the case as some courses aren’t suitable for mobile learning. Henceforth, Liam emphasised that there is an expectation for the majority of courses to be flexible and adaptable for mobile learning. By leveraging the capability of devices, it allows for an effective and dynamic learning experience.
He also mentioned that mobile learning is best suited in an environment where information and policies change quickly, the example given of doctors constantly needing to learn about updated policies during pandemic. Thus, it suits learning on the lower levels of bloom’s taxonomy.
UDL Principles & Mobile Learning
Liam outlined that the general goal of the Universal Design for Learning is to remove barriers in learning and to reach all students, regardless of their preferences, background and context.
The Why of Learning- Engagement
Here Liam suggested to use adaptive quizzes and self-assessment to link to students lives/experiences. It’s important to note that the learners screen should never be too text heavy.
The What of Learning- Representation
During the pandemic, both video and podcast format boomed. He noted that this should be kept in mind during the design process, as these formats could be included as part of mobile learning. Furthermore, he mentioned that flip cards can also be a great learning format as the tech is usually quite responsive.
The How of Learning- Action and Expression
Liam also acknowledged that it is important to demonstrate learning in various ways such as a brief quiz after watching video. Short videos with less text are digested easier by learners.
Know your audience and your purpose to ensure relevant and engaging content
Just because design is responsive, doesn’t mean it is suitable for mobile learning
If learning content is complex perhaps design for, and recommend, desktop
Less is more on mobile. Don’t overwhelm the user with lengthy text or videos
A font size of 16-18px tends to work well across any device
Reduce file size. This includes shorter videos and the use of jpg. when possible
Don’t just preview the design, test it across multiple devices
Developing Mobile Learning
Web-based tools that Liam mentioned include Articulate RISE and Elucidat, where he discussed the possibility of rapid development, and the adaptiveness & responsiveness of the platforms. In our university credit rated, industry approved Professional Diploma in Digital Learning Design, learners will gain free access to Elucidat for the duration of the diploma.
How to Roll-out Mobile Learning
He stated that there are 3 main ways to roll out a mobile learning course:
Learning Management System: This is a software that houses the entire learning content. Because it is ‘in house’, it can be easier for the learner to follow. Some well known examples of LMS are Moodle, Brightspace and Blackboard.
App: An example of a worldwide mobile learning app is Duolingo. Liam also recommended the platform EdApp for instructional design.
Future of Mobile Learning
As mobile learning is now an expectation, it’s important to ensure your course is designed specifically for mobile or has the capability & flexibility for it to be an add-on. It is still particularly important to apply the Universal Design Principles.
Micro/nano learning should be used hand in hand with mobile learning. Each lesson should only focus on one concept. Learners will be more likely to engage and recall the key facts, leading to a faster absorption of information. (Click to read more about Microlearning and Nano Learning)
We would like to express our thanks to Liam Fogarty for sharing his knowledge and insights with us.