The Unique Affordances of Mobile Learning

Chad Udell, Managing Director of Float Mobile Learning and author of “Learning Everywhere” is telling ASTD TechKnowledge 14 participants about how awesome mobile really is.

“There is SO much possibility”
???
I’ve heard this message before.

I wondered why I would join this session. I was a non-believer. Finally, thanks to Chad, I get it…

For the last 2 or 3 years, Tony Bingham has been opening ASTD conferences saying that mobile is important. Personally, I didn’t get it. Today I realise this was my fault. There was I thinking that “the Americans were stuck in the past, over-focused on delivering more knowledge content via a screen”. I assumed that what was meant by mobile learning was “pushing mini e-modules and video with mobile screens”; my own investigation into what apps I could make myself showed only glorified websites with a few buttons and a few screens.

I could not have been further for the truth. And it is my own fault. I almost feel guilty for being so short-sighted. I had a limited vision. Mobile is not about screens at all…

Mobiles can do a lot of stuff.

Here are some functions that many of today’s smartphones contain…

  • Camera
  • Motion detector
  • Geolocation
  • Portable memory
  • Microphone
  • Notifications
  • Touch screen
  • …to really get the most out of mobile, you need to think of the different possibilities mobile affords us.

    ..and then ask: What can you do with these affordances?

    During our awesome interactive session with Chad, the audience did a lot of brainstorming on possibilities per those functions. Literally, we came up with 100s of ideas and Chad has promised to release those ideas (capture with pollev.com) via the #astdtk14 Twitter hashtag later this week. (Watch this space, I will add to the comment section) For now, a few ideas of things you could do…

  • Ask questions (eg Jelly)
  • Measure physical human movement data and correlate with performance (eg Nike Fuel)
  • Find an expert (literally, in the building)
  • Collaborative bookmarking
  • Receive advice from your phone about how to improve performance, based on previous performance and current situation
  • Let people know about changes in processes
  • Give safety alerts or facility information based on location
  • Learn anything from guitar to morse code via touchscreen
  • Practice hand-eye coordination for specific tasks
  • It was impossible for me during this session to capture all the different ideas and I wish I had, because without them here it is difficult to share my enthusiasm. So, try for yourself: Look at your smartphone or the list of functions above and just ask what is possible and what (and how) you could learn with these functions.

    Mobile is awesome. And even if the “everyman” amongst us can’t develop very good apps ourselves today, the future is bright…

    I believe in mobile learning!
    Thanks Chad 🙂

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    About Dan Steer

    Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

    Posted on January 23, 2014, in Learning Management and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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