Everything about the way the mobile market is expanding to every corner of the world is fascinating. With the number of mobile devices that connect the entire planet set to breach the 7 billion mark in 2014, every activity we do is being re-defined, whether it is shopping, banking, working, or learning.
Mobile devices have become as universal as human population. It is almost impossible to go anywhere without bumping into sea of people using cell phones. With the advent of new mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and others, mobile computing is finally coming of age globally, quickly outpacing its desktop sibling. In short, mobile market, which constitutes apps, software, hardware, services and infrastructure, is going to be a vital participant in the development of the next generation human facilities and processes, learning being one of them.
The definition of M-learning keeps changing and even as we talk about it, there is always a new addition happening to the existing standard of mobile learning. In its simplest form, M-learning can be called that form of learning where there is no requirement for the learner to be stationary at a predetermined location. The advantages of various mobile technologies come into play here as the learning methodology focuses on the mobility of the learner and his interaction with portable devices such as smartphones, MP3 players, tablets and other smart devices. Online learning when combined with the power of mobile devices give rise to M-learning.
The FRAME Model
The Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) model is used to describe the mobile learning process. The Venn diagram aptly represents the three aspects of mobile learning; Device, Learner and Social. The Device aspect refers to the various capabilities of the mobile device that includes its specifications, physical and functional characteristics. These characteristics have a significant impact on the usage habits of the learner and therefore require a comprehensive investigation before being implemented. Acting as a bridge between human being and technology, devices should be designed for maximum comfort.
The Learner aspect focuses on the cognitive abilities of the learner such as context and transfer, memory, prior knowledge, motivations and discovery learning. Mobile learning helps the learner access content in various formats and these factors have a vital role to play in the encoding, recalling and transfer of information. The Social aspect takes into account the various interactions between two learners with their mobile devices while following the rules of cooperation to communicate. However, what we are really concerned about is the area where all these three aspects intersect each other.
Mobile Learning Process (DLS)
It is the intersection of all the three aspects in the FRAME model that facilitates mobile learning. As the amount of knowledge increases, it is necessary to rapidly evaluate it for worthiness and that’s where mobile learning comes into help. Governed by flexible social, technological and cognitive factors, mobile learning helps users get immediate access to knowledge and experts, who help in determining the relevance and importance of the information found on the internet.
So how mobile capability does enhance learning?
To summarize it all, mobile capability helps in learning by facilitating interaction and collaboration, creation of a learning community and providing access to a variety of online resources in real time.
Mobile learning implementation
Duke University provided all its incoming freshmen with their own 20-gigabytes of iPods. Similarly, Virginia Tech College was the first public institution that required every student to purchase a tablet PC beginning with incoming freshman in 2006 fall.
Apart from schools and colleges, mobile learning is also making its presence felt in workplaces. Instant messaging is going to replace email as the new generation prefers synchronous tools to asynchronous ones. Every person who possesses a smartphone is in the capacity of perpetrating the learning content and applications.