Please Wait a Sec, Just Need to Check Training Info on My Mobile Phone?

1082346485_c8c75d8bfc_m.jpgMost of your training is in the workplace but all your work mates are busy, no-one has time to remind you what to do, and you have asked the same question too many times before. WHAT you going to do? Phone HOME or better still access the answers on your mobile phone! [Image by outlan2000]

In Australia the shift in vocational training and education is away from campus based to delivery within the workplace, i.e. on-the-job training. These learners are going to need training material to support their learning. M-learning (mobile learning) used effectively will assist in their training needs and my first post in this week mlearning series will examine how.

What We Know

Most mlearning work with learners, regardless of the training area, have highlighted the power of videos for instructions. Learners can watch videos, at their own pace, as often as required, while actually preforming the task e.g. practicing how to tie knots, cutting hair, setting up or using equipment.

Opinions differ on text based material on mobile devices from those who believe the zoom feature of the iPhone means that material developed for the web will need little or no change for use to people that believe the exact opposite (e.g. limited amount of text per screen, essential text only).

How It is Being Done

Mobile technologies are undergoing rapid change, and organisations embracing mlearning will need to factor this into their equation. A solution for today, may not be the best in a years time so the key will be to ensure training materials are adaptable to a range of devices (e.g. mobile phones, PDAs, iPods).

Examples of m-learning in workplace training include:

  • Trainee hairdressers in the UK are learning how to cut hair (Watch the video to see how) – by mobile phone. Read Stuart Smith, who is involved with this work, thoughts on mobile learning and choosing the mobile device.
  • Workplace trainees from Pilbara Iron are learning how to use machinery – by PDA. Watch this video interview of Bob Hunter, from Pilbara TAFE, where he explains and demonstrates why he uses PDAs with students.

Want to read more on mobile technology and m-learning?

Check out last week’s posts on:

  1. Are UMPCs Going to Convert Courses from Paper Based to Digital?
  2. Mobile Web Usage is Increasing – How Will You Use It With Students?
  3. You Need Spyglasses – Are you Serious?
  4. Barcodes, RFID and NFC technology – use in education and training explained in Sue language!
  5. What can we do about policies that are stifling innovation in educational uses of technology?

Mobile Web Usage is Increasing – How Will You Use It With Students?

This week I will be doing a series of posts on the use of mobile technology in education. Yesterday I asked the question are UMPCs Going to Convert Courses from Paper Based to Digital?

So today – I want to know how do you plan to use the Mobile Web with students?… and I will show examples of how educators are currently using it with studmtwitterents.

What is the Mobile Web?

The Mobile Web refers to accessing the Internet from mobile devices such as mobile phones, smartphones (full featured mobile phone with personal computer functionality – no touch screen), Blackberry and PDAs (handheld computer – many have phone functionality – has touch screen e.g. Pocket PC, Palm Pilot).

Companies are now creating mobile specific web sites (i.e. mobile version of their web sites that works better on mobile devices) so that their site loads quickly and are usable for small screen with limited navigation.

The Mobile Web usage will increase in importance because:

“Mobility right now is like the Internet was in 1996; then everyone discounted the Internet, or worried that it would just encourage employees to play games”. Smartphone and PC Magazine

How Educators are Using the Mobile Web

Monash University

Monash University gives their students in Australia, Malaysia and South Africa who are studying Web Systems the option to access their course material on PCs or PDAs (running Windows Mobile 5 or Windows CE).

This is what it looks like on PC


This is the same page on a PDA


If you have a PDA check it out for yourself at Walkabout u-Learning

How I use the Mobile Web with Students

  • Currently I access the Mobile Web in classes on my PDA – if I can not answer a question – I can instantly google the topic
  • The college is currently setting a wireless network – eventually I hope that students will be able to access the Internet on the class set of PDAs 89238359_e959ece3c7_m

Challenges of the Mobile Web

If accessed on a mobile phone there are only 12 button keypad – with no mouse for navigation

  • If you access the mobile web through your phone it is not cheap – good news costs decreasing. So in the short term I would not expect my students to pay to use it on their phones. Also good to know Australia is ahead of America with the Mobile Web!
  • We also need to realise people use the Mobile Web differently from the Internet on a computer. So if we plan to take advantage of it we need to take this into account!
  • Screen size on typical mobile is 160 and 240 wide and 200 to 360 pixels

Check out this great SlideShare by Nick Cowie where he shows how much you would see on a mobile device if the web site does not have a mobile version on their site. Also check out my podcast of Nick Cowie talking about the Mobile Web.

[slideshare id=72591&doc=problems-with-the-mobile-web-barcamp-perth-20072055&w=425]

What are your thoughts on the using the Mobile Web with students?

  • Are you currently using the Mobile Web with your students? If so, how?
  • If you are not using it with students – how do you think you could?
  • What impact do you think Mobile Web will have in education?