Mobile learning: Design guidelines

While building m-learning applications, we need to think of a lot of guidelines to design the content and the technology. Summarizing the same here.

1. Do we add value to both students and teachers?. While m-learning can help students, what do we offer for teachers to move to m-learning? Does the system help teachers to build learning material? Does the system store responses given by students to enable teacher to keep track of student’s progress? How could mobile usage enable teachers to understand strengths and weakness of their students? Wi ll instant feedback enable the teacher to refine their teaching skills?
2. Does the existing PC learning content good for mobile? May or may not be. How do we educate and help teachers to build content for mobile learning? What type of learning should be delivered on mobiles? The contents for the mobile phone must be significantly reduced in conformity with the limited capacity of the device. Contents available in PC-based learning mode needs to be evaluated for use on the mobile phone.Excessive scrolling to see the entire item and options should also be avoided.
3. Should we have excess use of multi-media in mobile learning? While multi-media can improve the quality of learning systems,it always does not enhance learning and we need to be aware of the fact that having more media will make the system less responsive and may even distract users from the intended learning goals.
4. Can we use SMS? The learning materials could be sent using SMS to students and the students could interact or respond to questions via SMS. This method is tricky to organize over a long duration of time. Delivery times of SMS messages vary greatly. SMS messages can be duplicated or delivered out of sequence causing errors in scoring.
5. Delivery using mobile browser and GPRS?: Different mobiles come in-build with browsers with varying capability and this can cause confusion among the students and there are interruptions in mobile data transmissions due to network issues. Things might change with wide adoption of HTML5.
6. Deliver using native connected application:: In native application, the application has control over data transmission and can resend the data in case of errors. The application can also help to organize the sequence of display of the learning material. In addition,they can create consistent user experience across various mobiles.
7. Deliver learning on hybrid(native, connect on demand) application. Here we consider the application that connects to internet to download learning contents. Then the mobile application do not need internet connection to learn the downloaded content. The mobile application uses internet on demand and uses when there is need to download and when there is response to send to a central place.

Some facts to be aware of
1.While a teacher can try to migrate a great classroom learning to mobile, it is not a straight forward approach. For example you need to modularize and customize content so that people only take what they need. To perform this, teacher should be ready for a huge shift from traditional linear start to end approach(encourage by LMS).
2. It is dangerous assumption to assume a great LMS tool or authoring tool shall create a great m-learning experience. With good tools, you’re just getting started.
3. Making the course enjoyable is a fine idea, but is the course challenging, interesting, rewarding, authentic, worthwhile, and relevant?.
4. Lot of technologists project that “Getting the technology to work is the hard part”. This is not always true. Creating quality content and programs to run on that technology can also be a challenge. Try to balance the investment in great technology with the investment to create quality content.