Before any good discussion begins, everyone needs to be on the same page, using the same meanings for the same terms, or at least understand the differences. In the lead-up to the start of mobi.mooc and #potcert (Program for Online Teaching Certificate), spreading thoughts on differences between elearning and mlearning.
Clark Quinn’s Learnlets showed up in my RSS feed this morning with a pointer to RJ Jaquez and discussion of this topic. Quinn talks briefly about learning augmentation, and gets to the crux of the matter,
If your mobile solution isn’t doing something unique because of where (or when) you are, if it’s not doing something unique to the context, it’s not mlearning.
Which is all well and good. He goes on to say that most people don’t use tablets when running to catch a plane (I do), and even though interface is a bit tangential
it’s mostly about performance support, or contextualized learning augmentation, it’s not about just info access in convenience.
So there IS the form factor, but it is not central to this issue of mlearning. Mlearning is in what the software does, not what the hardware looks like.
Jaquez writes a list of requirements for mlearning, and he is specific about touch screens, screen orientation, content as navigation, sensors, and of course, location.
All this is interesting, but shouldn’t a good elearning program these days be able to add in features of mlearning when needed or when the learner is capable of using them? OK, there are pragmatic concerns, and just adding mobile features to an elearning program is not making it mlearning, but can’t there be a way to segue from one to another seamlessly? And does it matter?