Extended Learning Environments to the Forefront
Friday, May 14th, 2010
We know that students are accessing instructional content online more than ever before, but most recently; the mobile learning trend is also becoming common. For many instructors it is still a challenge to provide online content that is also readily accessible through mobile devices. For Moodle users, for example, the challenge is lessened by installing the MLE-Moodle plug-in component which allows instructors to make lessons, self-assessments/quizzes, surveys, forums, wikis and other mobile learning objects available to students with very little effort. To most of us, who depend on a specific course management system to deliver content to students, contrary to common belief, our options are not limited and the “connected anywhere” trend should not surprise or scare us. We should be glad to have many options to deliver our instructional content, and that these options allow us to deliver content and expect dynamic interaction from our students. The “Semantic Web” has certainly opened the doors to facilitate “user-led” media consumption and the students’ need to produce and create content that enhances their learning. This is a very exciting opportunity for instructors as we have now in our hands the mechanisms that will assist students in the enrichment of their own learning as they practice retrieval methods of important learning material. All we have to do is find the right tools that will do the job well and introduce those tools to our students.
The flexibility, portability and relative ease of use of some of the tools available for producing online mobile learning content are important to note; however, the design of the content for mobile consumption is much more important to talk about. I have been recently looking at Mobl21, a product from Emantras, a company that specializes in e-learning content development for fortune 500 companies and leading higher education textbook companies, such as Cengage, Mc Graw Hill and Pearson Education. The most interesting aspect of the usage of this mobile delivery technology is not the technology itself, but the model used for delivery. The idea is that instructors will only deliver context accompaniment and “smaller nuggets of learning consumption” to support the user-led environment so inherent in mobile learning consumption. After reviewing their product, I decided not to mention the technology itself because I did not see it as important as the idea of content presentation model for students in mobile environments; which is really what mobl21 is doing well: simple learning asset delivery to mobile with just-in-time, user-led access anywhere.