The terms e-learning and m-learning (m for mobile) are often used interchangeably, but they remain quite distinct in their scope. Whereas e-learning transformed conventional methods of instruction by enabling students to learn from their home or office, m-learning, generally regarded as a branch of e-learning, is further revolutionizing how we learn by making education available on our handheld, portable devices.
This trend is unsurprising as the smartphone and tablet obsession grows around the world. At the beginning of 2016, over 70% of adults in the U.S. owned a smartphone and almost half had a tablet, and as a result of these technological developments, we are increasingly fulfilling our academic goals on the go. So as our lives become more mobile, will m-learning eclipse e-learning or will the two methods simply continue to complement each other?
For m-learning, advantages are both practical and pedagogic. To begin with, the portability of learning is hugely convenient. Students now choose exactly when and where to study, which improves their time management. For anyone who travels, commutes, or has pockets of free time during the day, good quality educational content is now readily accessible at all times. Furthermore, this content is much more engaging and immersive due to the nature of mobile devices. Using touchscreens, students aren’t just reading or listening to lectures – their learning is physical as they interact with the content; touching, swiping, and selecting. For many, this experiential, hands-on approach to learning is fruitful, especially if a quality LSP (Language Service Provider) has created and localized your user interface.
For m-learning, advantages are both practical and pedagogic.
There are some obstacles in the transition to m-learning, however. One major disadvantage is the questionable efficacy of learning when the actual words and images on the device screens are smaller than on desktops. In addition to this, problems while interacting with the user interface can be caused by small screens, or indeed by the technological inadequacies of smartphones when compared to PCs. While some educational content may be available offline, connectivity no doubt also plays a role in some students’ grievances when it comes to m-learning. Unreliable connections may result in learners not being able to play videos or access pages that are integral to their learning. As such, m-learning is not a flawless method of instruction, and it is still in its infancy, improving as technology develops.
That said, the shortcomings of m-learning are few, and its advantages manifold. It supplements e-learning by facilitating the accessibility and portability of education, which only serves to make learning more universal. By using a professional LSP service that will create a quality e-learning and m-learning platform for your company, student satisfaction and success is guaranteed.