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Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, mp3 players. So many mobile telecommunication tools have become part of our daily lives! Mobile learning or m-learning is the logical consequence of this phenomenon, thus opening up new horizons for distance training.
M-learning: is mobile training the future?
Although e-learning enables training in any place and at any time, m-learning goes further by reaching your learners outside those places where they usually have access to their training. A means of training suited to a young target audience which is familiar with new technologies.
Although m-learning is growing quickly, it cannot deliver the same training content as distance training on traditional PCs. The content and form of m-learning courses must be examined and optimised for remote distribution using tools with different technical characteristics.
5 good reasons to use mobile learning
Make the best use of Web 2.0 within a community logic
- Ideal for carrying out training exercises
- Develop new activities thanks to the features offered by mobile ICTs (photo, film, email, chat, calendar, calculator, social networks, etc.)
- Propose a new kind of distance training using an everyday device
- Dematerialise the boundaries of the training space
The m-learning that has been talked about for the last 2 years has been so far more of a marketing argument than an educational reality. However, with the arrival of tablets which in some cases are taking precedence over PCs, the trend could be quickly reversed.
The project, which began on 1 October 2005, is a STREP (Specific Targeted Research Project), funded for three years by European Community through the 6th Framework Programme, addressing the Strategic Objective of “Strengthening the Integration of the ICT Research Effort in an Enlarged Europe”, a frontier research area of the Priority Thematic Area of IST.
The project idea is based on the fact that mobile devices are currently increasingly widespread, and mobile phones in particular represent what young adults, with different levels of education and culture, have in common. Moreover, several research projects have shown the potential of game-based learning, and the project seeks to further exploit that potential by means of the pervasiveness of mobile technologies, by developing a new paradigm of m-learning usage and interaction with regard to the classic e-learning models.
The project aims to develop a platform that can be used to efficiently design and develop games for m-learning and m-guidance, seeking to support decision-making in critical situations and user choice in transition moments. Moreover, based on that platform, two game prototypes will also be developed during the project, and their contents will be based on e-health, e-commerce and e-guidance.
In particular, mGBL addresses a two-fold need in the EU: the need to support decision-making in critical situations, not only in a cognitive but also in an emotional manner and, as a consequence, the need to build on cutting-edge work in the new field of m-learning.
The project is based on a bottom-up approach, which means that end users of the mobile games and experts have been directly involved from the very beginning through specific interviews and focus groups carried out in the three fields of analysis: e-guidance, e-health and e-commerce.
In terms of future work, beyond technological implementation, particular efforts will be directed towards user trials and evaluation and validation processes in order to keep the focus on user needs. Furthermore, dissemination activities will aim to establish a community of practice to facilitate knowledge transfer within the m-learning community and to enable the use of project results for further research in the field of game-based m-learning.
A full text of this article is available in PDF format at http://www.elearningeuropa.info/files/media/media10911.pdf