It is exciting to be part of the learning revolution happening all around us, with new learning paradigms and technologies emerging almost on a daily basis. Thanks to the inherent quality of learning designers, we find it easy to adapt to most of these changes. However, some of the shifts may require us to move beyond the traditional definitions of ‘learning’. A few may also necessitate ‘unlearning’ and ‘relearning’ the conventional beliefs that we have been carrying with us all these years.
Mobile learning is one such major revolution that demands a shift in the mere thinking of ‘learning’. It requires us to unlearn and relearn the traditional notions of:
- Learners’ attention span (Short)
- Learning style/preference (Ubiquitous)
- New (additional) dimensions to learning (Context)
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at the top eight essential competencies that a learning designer is required to possess for designing effective mobile learning interventions for today’s workplaces.
Mobile Learning Design Competencies
As we know, mobile learning is not e-learning on mobiles. By the same reason, designing mobile learning demands a different and unique set of qualities from designing normal e-learning. Designers who have been masters at designing e-learning interventions for years are facing a major challenge with transitioning to mobile. So, what are the new competencies required to help detach from the traditional mindset and relearn new strategies for designing mobile learning?
Here are the top eight competencies that we think are the most important for designing mobile learning solutions:
1. Knowledge of the instructional approaches, tools, systems, and processes required for designing and developing effective mobile learning content
2. Knowledge of the best practices related to the development of mobile learning content
3. Knowledge of successful mobile learning implementations around the world
4. Knowledge of today’s trends, research initiatives and experiments happening in the field of mobile learning
5. Ability to analyze a business situation and the learning context, and recommend appropriate mobile learning solutions to address them
6. Skills to design and develop effective mobile learning applications to meet business objectives
7. Passion for learning and improvement in the areas of instructional design and mobile learning, and all related fields
8. Appreciation of the power and effectiveness of mobile learning
It is easy to find numerous resources on Mobile Learning for learning practitioners on the Web. Here are the links to a few interesting links that will guide you towards mastering the competencies discussed above:
- Designing Learning for Mobile – Existing and Emerging Patterns: This is a brilliant article by Jo Colley of Qualcomm that discusses the implications of mobile learning for learning designers and the kinds of content currently available on smart phones. The article also takes a peek into new ways of using mobiles for learning and the future in the backdrop of emerging technologies such as Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT).
- Designing mLearning: In this video, Clark Quinn (of Quinnovation) discusses some of the important aspects and principles of m-learning design. His differentiation between mobile e-learning and true m-learning is brilliant and valuable for anybody aspiring to get started with m-learning design for workplaces.
- 3 Design Guidelines to Consider for Mobile Learning: This article by Steve Lee, Co-Founder of Allen Interactions, discusses some of the important design considerations for the development of mobile learning.
- Implementing Effective Mobile Learning Infographic: This infographic (from Interactive Services) contains some very interesting facts about mobile learning in our world today. It raises some serious questions on how to use mobile learning in workplaces. The brief on the authoring tools available for developing mobile learning content will be of particular interest for learning designers.
- What’s Right? – TEDxLondon: Here is an interesting talk by Geoff Stead, Head of Qualcomm’s Mobile Learning, in which he discusses how mobile learning is reshaping learning and education in schools as well as workplaces around the world. Along with some interesting case studies and inspiring success stories, he offers a few tips for leveraging the power of mobile learning in schools.
- Mobile Learning Guides (3 Parts): These guides, authored by Mark Harrison, one of Kineo’s founders, are aimed at learning practitioners and carry some of the best principles and leading practices for designing mobile learning effectively. The guides also include many valuable tips and interesting examples on designing and using mobile learning in workplaces.
- Top 11 Disruptive E-Learning Technologies for 2013: This is our article in which we presented our predictions on the top eleven disruptive technologies for 2013. Along with other technologies, it includes a brief note on Mobile Learning, along with several useful links.
So, that’s our take on the top eight essential competencies that a learning designer is required to possess, in order to be able to design effective mobile learning solutions.
We all know that this is one of the most exciting and eventful times in the e-learning industry. This also means that it is a highly challenging time for learning designers – to keep up with the trends, constantly upgrade themselves, and develop the ability to design instructions for all sorts of new media – including mobile learning. We hope this article helps you along in that journey.
Finally, before signing off, we have these questions for you:
- What are some of the competencies that you would like to add to this list?
- What are other resources that you would suggest to master these competencies?
Please share your thoughts.
- Santhosh Kumar